This is a guest blog post from Brook McCarthy Business Coach and Digital Marketer of Heart and Hustle.

One of the most exciting developments in digital marketing recently is also one of the most accessible for small business owners, live video.

Live video for small business marketing is a no-brainer, increasing your visibility and reach, while giving a window into your business. Plus, it has a very low barrier to entry, as unlike professional videos on your website, live video doesn’t need to be picture perfect and its ‘rough around the edges’ feel is part of its’ appeal.

Here’s why live video works, and how to start using video in your small business marketing mix:

Your audience isn’t on your website – they’re on Facebook and Instagram.

A major advantage of live social video is that your audience is already there.

Live video on social media tends to get a far greater reach than video on your website, because social media is massively popular. In fact, Facebook is Australia’s most popular website, after Google.

Facebook and Instagram want to keep their users on their platform for as long as possible, and they know that video is popular among users. The Facebook and Instagram algorithms preface video that has been directly uploaded to the platform as well as live video, over videos that are linked to (from YouTube, Vimeo or your website).

So rather than attempting to jump the gun by inviting (linking) people back to your website too early, instead focus on improving your social media engagement – using more video – and trust that they’ll make their way to your website when they’re good and ready. That is, after you’ve created rapport and built trust through your videos.

Smartphone and tablet usage continue to rise

Smartphone ownership in Australia increased from 11.1 million in 2013 to 15.3 million in mid-2015, while tablet ownership increased from 6.3 million to 11.2 million in the same period according to IAB Australia. Concurrently, we’re using laptops and desktops less and less.

When referring to “digital marketing”, we’re not talking about people sitting at computers on desks anymore – we’re reaching people using smartphones and tablets on buses, in restaurants, in bed, on the lounge, when queuing, and while sitting on the toilet!

How to do live video well

Live video is part of social media marketing so the same principles apply: to be effective, we must be accessible, authentic, empathetic, human, imperfect, engaging and tell stories.

One mantra applies above all else: be engaging.

Without engagement – likes, comments, video views and shares – the social media algorithms will make your pages and profiles less and less visible to your fans and followers. Until, in the end? You’re marketing to yourself.

Unlike traditional marketing, businesses that do well on social media are informal, though not unprofessional. Especially on live video, it’s okay if your ‘lives’ are a little rough around the edges so long as you’re sharing information that’s personally relevant, useful and valuable to the people you’re reaching.

Live video breaks down the barriers between ‘us’ and ‘them’, making businesses far more personal and increasing the “know, like and trust” factor while simultaneously accelerating your reach online.

If you’re feeling nervous about going ‘live’ on social media (and who doesn’t?), then do so within a Facebook group, ideally your own. I use my two Facebook groups (one part of a paid group business program, one free) to provide intimate access to insights and advice, solicit conversations, and grow familiarity and rapport.

But I didn’t start out confident.

To help me get over my fear of video and inhibitions towards Facebook Live, I started using it on my personal Facebook page during the school holidays, making silly short videos of myself doing school holidays activities with my kids. (Much like the school holidays, my enthusiasm was far stronger in the beginning before limping towards the end.)

Live video ideas for your business

Some ideas for using live video on your business’s social media channels include:

  • Talking about your most recent blog post or podcast, in order to extend the conversation, drive more people to visit your blog, and explore the nuances of your topic;

  • Announcing a big event in your business, including a launch, new staff, new packages or programs;

  • Giving people a behind-the-scenes looks at your business, including your staff and customers, your services, process or products, and your charitable endeavours;

  • Giving a live insight at an event you’re running or attending;

  • Interview an expert in a complementary field to your business;

  • Hold informal webinar-style presentations on a particular topic of expertise;

  • Hold live Q&As in the lead up to your event or launch;

  • Launch a new promotional campaign.

The final word on live video

Live video takes the basic tenets of social media and social business and amplifies them, making it hugely effective for marketing small businesses.

Like most digital marketing endeavours, the biggest barrier for business owners is not your marketing budget but doing battle with your ego. Raising your visibility in business can be fraught with fear and inhibitions.

But there’s hope! Like all things in life, it gets easier with practice.

If the idea of live video scares you, can I hazard a guess that it’s because you’ve got something important to say and a strong desire to share it? Having an opinion and a passion to share this is half the game – so if live video scares you, chances are, you should probably do it.

If you’re ready to start using live video, are serious about video marketing in your small business and also want a done-for-you, professionally-shot and edited video, then Brook and Amy run video training courses together.

About the author, Brook McCarthy

Brook McCarthy is a digital marketing trainer and business coach, with 15 years’ experience in digital communications, who works closely with small business owners and sole traders. Brook enables organisations to magnify their impact online, build their brand, and grow their reputation.

You can sniff around and see what Brook is up to at


Want more?

Interested to learn more about video marketing?  Check out some free resources to help you on your way.

And if standing in front of a camera fills you with fear, take a breath and head to Conquering your fear of getting in front of the camera.