For many companies, the primary goal at trade shows is connecting with customers, whether they be potential leads or existing clients. That’s fine when those people actually come to your booth, but what about those who can’t make it to a trade show? A live video feed streaming from your booth can help bring the show to all those who couldn’t attend. And if your live video is well-publicized before-hand, it could win you new customers from among at-home or at-office watchers.
Live Streaming Can Improve Your Booth
When you exhibit at a trade show, many of your most important existing clients—as well as many new prospects—will be in attendance too; however, budget constraints, attendance caps, and other issues often mean that just as many, or more, people who would like to attend the show aren’t able to do so. That means there’s a large potential audience of people who’d love to see live news from the show floor—if only there was some way they could do so.
That’s where you step in, with a live video feed that brings your at-home audience to the trade show. You can make them a part of all the action they’re missing, including your new product launch or demo and any other exclusive content you’re offering.
Will people watch a live feed? Yes!
The leading customer relations management platform Salesforce proved it in 2015 with their stunning Dreamforce 2015 success. More than 160,000 registered attendees showed up to the 4-day event, and an estimated 10 million people watched the live stream online. While a single booth’s live stream will have a more proportional viewership, Salesforce showed that people are eager to watch a live stream if they can’t get to an event.
It’s hard to predict what kind of audience you’ll get, and you may find that your first live stream is pretty uneventful, with little viewer interaction. As you get the word out that you’re live streaming at the shows you attend, you should find that your audience grows over time.
What Kinds of Content Can You Live Stream?
Idea #1: Set up a stationary camera at your booth. This is simple to do but allows you to transmit footage of what’s happening at your booth at all times. It’s a good way to let your audience know what’s happening and learn how to use the tech.
Idea #2: Have a semi-portable set-up that allows you to move the camera freely around your booth. This means you’ll be more flexible for product demos, interviews, and any other content you want to include.
Idea #3: It’s a little more advanced but pays big dividends: Assign a member of booth staff to act as a roving reporter. Besides touring and speaking about your exhibit and product or service, they can visit other booths to provide a broader overview of the event. You can be choosy about the booths you visit, if you want to avoid showcasing direct competitors. Or take a different approach and have your roving reporter visit booths to check out the who has the best swag!
What Live Streaming Equipment Do You Need?
To stream live video from your booth, you need three main components:
- An in-booth A/V team: Someone at your booth to set up and monitor the video equipment
- A streaming provider: A provider to stream your video feed over the Internet. In other words, an internet connection.
- A viewing platform: The website where your audience views your video content; this could also be social media.
It’s a lot simpler than it sounds! You don’t need to invest thousands of dollars in high-tech video production equipment anymore. To run a live feed video from your booth, you need only a camera that can capture 1080p high-definition video, a microphone, and a laptop computer. With those items, plus a good Internet connection, you’re ready to go!
You’ll also need to decide where you want people to be able to view the video. For instance, if you’re happy to stream on a third-party site, Facebook Live and YouTube are two simple and popular viewing platforms for live-stream video production. Both platforms offer simple and easy-to-follow instructions for setting up a live stream, and both have chat features that allow viewers to comment in real time—and for you to respond to them. You then have an easy way to interact with your audience and answer their questions.
Tips for Live Streaming
1. Publicize Your Live Stream in Advance
Before the show, let your customer base know you’ll be live streaming from your booth, and where they can watch it. Tweet it, post on Facebook, and send out an email blast to your subscriber base. And, include a reference to your live stream to any other posts or emails you create that relate to the show.
2. Plan Out Your Video Content
For your booth video live feed to be successful, it does need to provide informative or entertaining content that encourages people to tune in. It’s helpful to work up a program of content to show your viewers, including highlights of whatever is happening at your booth, as well as extra content. For instance, you could:
- Showcase product demos
- Run interviews with company execs
- Introduce your booth staff
- Host a Q&A with your audience
You don’t need to maintain to a strict schedule, but it’s a good idea to prepare some content ideas to keep people watching. If you have something special you want your audience to see, give them a rough idea of when it will happen. For instance, your email blast might say, “Tune in between 3 and 4 PM for the product launch” or, “Look out for a special announcement around 11 AM!”
3. Create a Connection with Your Audience
Be sure to look at the camera when talking to your audience! It may feel a little unnatural, depending on what kind of equipment set-up you have, but looking at the camera is what allows you to make “eye contact” with your audience.
4. Bring Back-Up Equipment
Don’t let a minor equipment failure interrupt your live stream! Bring spare USB cables and other peripheral equipment, just in case. Also bring cables of varying lengths, if possible, so you can set up your equipment in different ways according to your needs.
5. Use Your Video Content After the Show
Since you’ve created the live stream yourself, you own the rights to it and can use the footage after the event too. And you absolutely should because it makes great marketing collateral.
Idea #1: Edit the footage to create a highlights video clip to post on your website and social media profiles, or post clips of interviews and product demos.
Idea #2: If there’s enough footage, you could even create a gag reel of mistakes, accidents, or other goofs. These make great social media fodder and usually have more viral potential than the “serious” content.
Be Ready for Anything
Live video streaming is exciting for everyone because you never know what will happen. And that makes it attractive for viewers too. Even if you’re well prepared, there’s the chance of an unexpected equipment malfunction, a tongue-tied interview subject, or some breaking industry news announced at the show. The most important thing during a live stream at your trade show booth is to be ready for anything!