If you’re searching for your next creative content marketing strategy, look no further than live video.
Thanks to the rise of Facebook Live, Twitter Live, and Instagram Stories’ “Live” mode, brands not only have the ability to communicate with their audiences via social media. They can also do so in real time.
The Power of Live Video
As a content marketer presented with this new medium, you may be wondering whether live video (also referred to as “livestreaming”) has a place in your marketing strategy – especially if your strategy is already working well.
But consider the value that live video can potentially add:
- Digital audiences and consumers find that visual media, especially video, is often more engaging and entertaining than written content.
- Even better, 92 percent of mobile video consumers share video with others.
- Live video garners three times the viewing time and engagement of pre-recorded video.
- And more than half of digital marketers say that live video content offers more ROI than any other type of content.
Video content is effective, and live video perhaps even more so.
What is live video’s advantage over standard video? Interactivity. Livestreaming offers entertainment plus interaction. Your audience is not just viewing your content. They become part of it.
During a live video stream, users can comment instantly on what they are watching. Those in the video can acknowledge and respond to the comments, thus creating personalized interactions. Plus, because your audience is essentially providing you with raw feedback in real-time, you can utilize the comments that offer constructive insights (e.g. their likes and dislikes) and use that information to refine your content marketing even further.
In addition, live video also offers a compelling, engaging platform for your ideas and thought leadership. Brands who capitalize on live video early on can be seen as innovators and leaders in the space.
Added bonus: producing live video is no more expensive than conventional video; all you need is a quality camera and good internet connection.
Live Video Formats
So you’re convinced that live video has some serious benefits. But now what?
Because live video happens in real time, you want to make sure that you have a structure or outline in place to ensure you can effectively convey your message. Try one of these formats, based on how you want to frame the conversation:
Q+A: Feature a special guest who can speak to a topic you’d like to own. In the Q+A format, viewers can comment live and are more likely to continue watching to see their question answered. This format can be helpful for brands looking to build thought leadership around a specific topic while making strong audience connections.
Series: Choose a topic that is aligned with your industry and content marketing strategy, and discuss a variety of subtopics at the same time each day or week. Series are a good way to build a loyal brand following because, ideally, your audience will consistently tune in for each episode and grow over time.
Industry Updates/News: If you want to include time sensitive information into your content marketing strategy, updates and news via live video are a great way deliver that information in a quick, compelling way. Not only that, using live video also illustrates that your brand has a pulse on what is going on in your field and helps to establish the credibility of your unique perspective.
Behind-the-scenes look: Peel back the curtain for your audience and show them “exclusive” experiences like how your company functions or how you make a specific product. This format helps the audience feel like they are on the inside, thus fostering brand loyalty and trust.
Live Video Challenges and Solutions
As you’re probably thinking, a lot more goes into a successful live video than a good idea, an established format, and a smartphone camera.
Before you go live, strategize around factors like who you want to reach, how you’ll keep them watching, and what you want to say to them.
Here are some concerns you might experience and how to work around them to produce a successful livestream:
Challenge: Attracting and engaging your target audience.
Solution: Promote your livestream through your key distribution channels. Post about it on your blog and across the social channels where you’ve already cultivated a readership that fits your target audience. Make sure that those posts link to the social site where you’ll be going live so your audience will end up at the right place.
Challenge: Keeping your audience engaged for most of the stream.
Solution: Cover topics and feature people that your audience has indicated interest in. Take a look at which pieces of written content have performed exceptionally well on your site and your social channels, then use those topics as inspiration for your live video.
Challenge: Ensuring your livestream isn’t too long or too short.
Solution: Assess what you’re covering and tailor the length accordingly. If you’re livestreaming from an event over the course of several hours, a longer stream might be necessary. But if you’re broadcasting a behind-the-scenes shoot or Q+A stream, chances are you’ll be able to convey your message in a lot less time. When you’re dealing with a longer stream, try to break it up with different guests and questions to the audience to keep your viewers engaged.
Challenge: Avoiding major on-air snafus. Once the livestreaming starts, there’s no opportunity to edit or change anything.
Solution: Outline a plan for what you’ll be covering, as well as some talking points. Even if you’re an expert on the topic of your stream, the more comfortable you are, the better you’ll be able to convey your message to viewers in a compelling way and keep them watching. And if you do fumble some words or lose your train of thought? Move on and don’t stress. It’s live and it happens. Your audience won’t dwell on it unless you do.
Examples of Brands Winning with Live Video
Seeing tips and ideas for implementing live video is one thing, but seeing great live video in action is another.
To get your creative juices flowing and inspire you to go live on social, check out these brands who wove livestreaming into their content marketing strategy to create immersive and interactive experiences for their audiences.
Starbucks used a livestream to highlight its community presence while positioning itself around a well-known social issue: getting out the vote. The company held a voter registration event at Rufus King Park, in Queens, New York, and created a live Facebook video. The nearly 27-minute livestream took viewers into an informal Q+A with event attendees. Starbucks even used the comments section to reiterate its stance on voting.
Target teamed up with Gwen Stefani to create a music video for the song “Make Me Like You.” The retailer livestreamed behind-the-scenes footage of the collaboration on Facebook to build buzz around the release. The short, nearly two-minute video is a simple set tour, complete with looks at the wardrobe racks and craft services tables. While this might not seem groundbreaking, the livestream gave viewers an inside look at something they wouldn’t normally see, therefore piquing their interest about the Target/Stefani partnership.
Martha Stewart is both a brand and a celebrity synonymous with creating a beautiful home life. In keeping with this well established persona, Martha went live on Facebook with Sarah Carey, host of “Everyday Food,” to prepare a Mother’s Day brunch. Not only does this strategic use of video play to Stewart’s expertise, but it’s also highly engaging for the audience, who was invited to comment in the video description – and many did, thanking Stewart for the helpful demonstration.
Clearly, live video can facilitate deeper connections in a way that hadn’t been possible in the content marketing space.
Livestreaming gives both your brand and your audience the opportunity to get to know the other on a more personal level. This direct and personal communication has the potential to provide far-reaching benefits to your organization. So, when you execute your live video, make the positive results last. Comb through comments, track viewership, and measure traffic on your other sites. Then, you can determine the outcome of your stream, get a sense of your ROI, and ultimately improve your next live video to ultimately drive even more success in your content marketing program.
Rachel Geffner is an Editorial Intern at NewsCred.