Bing! Another Facebook notification. As I check to see which friend has liked my new profile picture, I realize that the social media network is just notifying me that yet another person or brand I follow has gone “live.”
What at first felt like a fad has become a hugely engaging platform that smart businesses are benefiting from. (Twitter recently found that live streaming an event increases brand favorability by 63 percent.) It works because the ability to communicate with your consumer in real time takes your interaction beyond just the purchase of a product or service and instead positions your company as a real part of their lives.
It’s no secret that successful marketing means staying in touch with these social media trends. But it’s also about finding the right fit and tapping into the platforms that will resonate with your audience. How and where does live streaming fit in for your company? Here are our thoughts (no pennies necessary).
Why It Works: Making Videos Social
Live streaming is unique in that you can communicate with the viewer during your video. For example, if a brand decides to stream an interactive lesson or a Q&A, they can read viewers’ comments and respond to them in real time.
We had success with this when we broadcasted a live Facebook video with our clients at HVAC Learning Solutions last fall. We knew the audience was highly active on Facebook and typically interested in how-to videos, so a live step-by-step instructional video felt like a good fit. And it was: More than 4,000 viewers watched the motor tutorial, making it one of their highest watched videos to date.
Think of live streaming as a window into your workplace. The key is to show your viewer something they otherwise wouldn’t have access to.
For example, General Electric rolled out “Drone Week” (think Shark Week for science and engineering gurus) on the live video-streaming app Periscope in 2015. Viewers got a “drone’s-eye view” of some of the company’s less-accessible facilities where jet engines, locomotives, wind turbines and industrial machinery are made and tested. The event’s success was enough for the company to turn it into an annual event.
By streaming a behind-the-scenes view of your company and enabling consumers to watch something happen in real time, you’re being transparent and building trust.
Live streaming is extremely cost-effective and typically yields a strong ROI — all you need is a solid internet connection and a good camera, and you’re live.
Finding a Fit
Know Your Audience
By now you’re well aware that different audiences engage best with different types of social media: For example, young adults are more likely to watch videos on Snapchat and Instagram, while you can get more varied viewership through Facebook and YouTube Live.
Overall, though, the chances that your viewer will tune in to a live stream are going up: 81 percent of the internet watched more live videos in 2016 than in 2015, and according to a survey from Livestream and New York Magazine, 82 percent of users prefer live video to a brand’s social posts.
Choose Your Platform
Here are a few to consider:
Facebook Live videos receive 10 times more comments than normal Facebook videos. Here, your followers receive a notification every time you go live. Assuming your business has an established following, this means that Facebook Live gives you a better chance of getting views and engagements than other live-streaming apps.
Periscope is the most popular live-video streaming platform, with more than 10 million users. It’s owned and run by Twitter, with which it interfaces seamlessly. It also integrates with GoPro, so it’s a good fit for photographers and videographers.
YouTube is rolling out a new mobile live-streaming service for those with more than 10,000 followers. If you produce a TV-quality video that could attract a large viewership, this is a good option.
Instagram‘s live video option and Snapchat stories work well for super-quick, raw, on-the-go video snippets marketed toward younger audiences. Note that Snapchat stories are a little different because rather than a live video, it’s a compilation of video clips a user strings together and updates on the spot for their audience — but it has a similar effect because videos disappear 24 hours after posting.
With live video, your options are endless:
Interviews and Q&As
Behind-the-scenes looks at your company
Tutorials and how-tos
Live events and contests
Don’t be afraid to try something new. Test different types of videos and see what works for your brand — sometimes, it’s the wacky stuff that works.
Because of live streaming’s easy implementation and immediate feedback, the best way to test for a fit is to try it — you never know who’s going to tune in.