Live Streaming is a great way to interact with your audience. Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen more and more brands and influencers use platforms such as Periscope and Facebook Live to host demos, presentations, press conferences and interviews. HBO recently announced the air date of the smash hit Game of Thrones season 7 via Facebook Live. The stream attracted around 3.5 million viewers. There’s no doubt others will be hot on this trend’s heels after those kinds of figures!
Live streaming shows no signs of slowing down. A recent study by Livestream and New York Magazine stated that 81% of internet and mobile audiences watched more live video in 2016 than in 2015. This partnered with the fact that Marketing Week included video streaming in its top 5 predictions for 2017 article indicates huge potential using these platforms.
Additionally, live streaming is one of the highest-rated forms of content on Facebook’s algorithm. Many other platforms such as Instagram and Twitter have invested heavily in live streaming capabilities.
“There are so many opportunities for organisations large and small to use live video and live audio from marketing to employee engagement, from customer service to crisis management. If it is not a method of communication you use at the moment, I would definitely recommend investing some time learning about the opportunities it provides for your marketing and communications plans in the year ahead,” says Krishna De, Live Video Marketing Expert
Why Should We Care About Live Streaming?
Because our audience cares. A lot. Live streaming already plays a big part in social strategy, and this post discusses how brands can use Facebook Live, so our Facebook marketing strategy is prepared for when it gets even bigger.
Content Marketing Strategy Gold!
With Facebook Live, viewers can throw themselves into a personal, engaging, and interactive experience. They have the chance to watch content as it happens. Brands will be able to use Live to show behind the scenes clips. For example, fun office antics can be great to air for recruitment. Adidas used Twitter’s live streaming platform, Periscope, to show football legend James Rodriguez signing his contract extension for the company—way more interesting to fans than reading a press release, right?
Announce New Product Releases
Facebook Live can also be used to reveal new product releases, and once rolled out, will be a great way to boost conversion. The fact that our audience can comment and interact in real-time means that brands can see the step in to straighten out any question marks and turn them into much more appealing exclamation marks.
Improve Customer Service
Facebook Live Q&A sessions can help us show that our brand is authentic, transparent, and therefore, trustworthy; all of which are vital ingredients of a successful marketing strategy. Q&A sessions pave the way for great customer service through problems solving, especially as Facebook’s on-demand feature allows viewers to go back to the video later for reference. Live Q&A sessions can also help cut costs by freeing up manpower and allowing us to address FAQ to a crowd of viewers rather than individuals.
Share Breaking News
The real-time nature of Live will allow Facebook to mimic some of the characteristics of Twitter; brands should, therefore, adapt their marketing strategy accordingly. Traditionally a platform for evergreen content and storytelling, Facebook will become a place for real-time news sharing rather than a place for our audience to solely discuss their reactions to the news.
Improve Message Clarity
If a picture says a thousand words, a video must say a million. Written messages can easily become lost in translation, causing damage to our brand. Video messaging offers brands the chance to better articulate their messages and build context through emotion, so our audience can connect with us more directly.
So there you have it, a few options for brands to incorporate Facebook Live into our marketing strategy. If you have any new, interesting, or cool examples of brands using live streaming drop a comment in the box below!
So now you know why you should be getting involved in live streaming, how do you get started?
Choose a topic for the live stream
Whilst this might seem obvious, we need to ensure that we’re talking about something that will resonate with our audience. There are a few ways to do this:
Look at what content has resonated in the past.
Google Analytics can help to uncover what content is resonating on your website. If you have a blog or resources page, have a look at what posts receive the most traffic. Also, look at what posts received lots of shares on social media. To do this use Meltwater’s free tool: Meltwater Impact.
These topics are likely to generate interest as they have done in the past!
Also, check out what content of your competitors is resonating for some inspiration.
Look at trending topics in your industry
Find out the kinds of topics that are generating interest in your industry by using data-driven insights found through a social media monitoring tool. Social media monitoring tools allow users to track both qualitative and quantitative data points such as audience engagement, demographics, topic trends and whether something is receiving positive or negative responses.
Collaborating with others who are in a similar industry is a great way to expand brand awareness and reach. One way to do this would be through a Q&A or panel discussion with industry experts and influencers.
Finding influencers can be tricky, particularly if we work in a niche business area. One way to start the hunt is by using Twitter to search for our industry and locate Twitter profiles with the topic area in their bios and/or username. We can also take a look at who our competitors follow as this can indicate active people in our industry.
Meltwater social influencers tool can also be used to discover relevant thought leaders and influencers. Users are able to search through over 500 million profiles in 60,000 different categories, no matter the niche! The tool analyses and locates influences on various platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, Youtube in one go.
(Just get in touch if you’re interested in finding out more about our social influencers tool by filling out the form below at the end of this blog.)
Choose an appropriate time
Many of us are obsessed with posting our Instagram photos at the optimum time, but have you considered the best time to host your live stream? A couple of things to consider:
- Are you targetting people in multiple time zones? For example, if when researching topic choices, it has been indicated that the UK and America have engaged the most in our topic, it would be a good idea to choose a time that will accommodate both time zones.
Heat map from Meltwater’s media monitoring platform indicating where a keyword is being discussed the most on social media.
- When is your audience online? For example, do your audience engage most with your content during business hours or when they are at home?
Promote your live event
Promotion is going to influence whether our event is a success or not.
- Create banners and images to use on social media, as people respond best to visual content (Rather than just text posts).
- Promote across all the social media platforms you’re active on. Remember, Twitter has a fast turnover of content, so you may need to post about it more than once!
- Consider using advertising on LinkedIn or Facebook to increase the reach of your promotional efforts
- Send out an email inviting people
- Encourage your colleagues to promote the event on social media
Leading up to the event we should track whether people are engaging in the promotion and analyse responses. Based on this data we can then adapt our promotional methods to further attract viewers by doing more of what’s working and less of what doesn’t seem to resonating!
Having a plan of in place to help structure how we wish to run the live stream is great. However, we should be ready to ditch the plan to meet the needs of our audience. If we planned to discuss a particular topic but our audience is asking questions outside the topic, we should respond and adapt to this. If the viewers can see that we’re responding to them, they’ll feel more involved and engagement is likely to climb. Another bonus of this is that we’ll appear more authentic than if we stick to a rigid script.
If you’re collaborating with another person, consider creating an agenda with a few questions/talking points as a way to keep the conversation flowing.
Don’t ignore the audience
As mentioned, responding to the audience’s questions and feedback creates a more engaging experience. Sharing original or exclusive content rather than directly selling to our audience is also a great way to create engagement through the feeling of trust.
You could even ask viewers to send in some questions ahead of the live stream, to encourage them to tune in on the day, as well as ensure your content is relevant.
Don’t forget to check your equipment and internet connectivity
It’ll be alright on the night, they said! Having technical difficulties won’t look professional and can lead to negative publicity. The time spent promoting and choosing a topic is wasted if our audience can’t watch us. We know that it can’t always be helped, but try and minimise background noise and ensure you we have a clear image beforehand to avoid disappointing our community. If possible, do a test live stream prior to the event.
Remember you don’t have to have high tech equipment to run a stream. An iPhone has a good enough camera and microphone to produce a good quality live stream.
Like any marketing activity, we should take the time to analyse the data from our event. At the very least, look at view count and comments. Next, analyse the level of engagement beyond the live stream itself. Were people discussing it on Twitter? Using a social media monitoring tool can help us to discover hard to find conversations. Such data can provide insights around what went well, what people were saying and how many engaged with our event. Use this data in future to host an even more successful stream!
**This blog was updated 11/05/2018 with more relevant up-to-date information.