Lights, camera, action: Should live video be part of your digital strategy?
From live cameras which get us closer to nature, to live sessions with our favorite digital personalities, live streaming is giving users the opportunity to feel more connected and more involved than ever before with digital content. So should your brand be getting in on the on screen action?
Embracing the chaos
Live video can feel like an unnatural fit and a scary prospect for many brands. Until now, creating and curating digital content has allowed marketers control over virtually every aspect of their online presence, from the comments sections they moderate, to the precise time they publish tweets. Created to tight briefs using pernickety TOV (tone of voice) documents and style guides, brand-owned content has traditionally been carefully planned, pitched, crafted and published.
Live streaming doesn’t allow for this level of control and perfection, forcing brands to face the unknown and to publish video content in which anything could happen. It’s often terrifying turf for marketers, but the leap could reap some serious benefits for brands keen to drop the corporate mask and connect with consumers in a more authentic and direct way.
Dropping the mask
Infinitely more personal than a story-boarded, recorded and edited promotional video, incorporating live streaming into a digital strategy gives brands a more personal way to connect with users. With consumers increasingly jaded by the endless “content creation machine” which comprises much of digital marketing today, generating live and reactive content in the form of live streaming provides a new opportunity for brands to make personal connections with their target demographics and build better buzz as a result.
With over-saturation still a way off, there remains plenty of time for businesses to embrace live streaming and make themselves eye-catching, especially via Facebook and YouTube.
What should I stream?
The type of content you choose to live stream will depend largely on your brand and your product or service. Service-based businesses keen to develop their reputation as experts in their industry may choose to run Q&A sessions or workshops with their top team members. Product-focused businesses may choose to stream product demonstrations, product launches or to sponsor top digital personalities to film a live “haul video” or “unboxing video” for their channel – thus attracting the attention of an ultra-specific target market.
Live video is also a great opportunity to show the world exactly how exciting and engaged your brand is. From streaming your business events, to hosting live “behind the scenes” tours, you can welcome users into your world and show off precisely what you have to offer.
Girls (and boys) on film
Of course, not all brands who film a “behind the scenes” tour of their HQ are going to be swamped with viewers. It takes a special brand (or a particularly devoted following) to accrue that kind of interest. Instead, generating live content which offers something valuable to your target markets is the route to live streaming success.
We already mentioned the potential of providing helpful Q&A sessions and the draw of hosting a demographic’s favorite vlogger, but what about inviting your users to live stream for you?As revealed by our recent digital survey, 54% of users would prefer to see “a blend of brand-owned and user generated content (UGC)” on websites, rather than brand-owned content only. Clearly, brand-owned content is boring consumers, with many now valuing UGC over content made by brands.
Harnessing UGC in the form of live video may divorce brands from the control they have traditionally enjoyed over their image, but it also creates content that users are increasingly interested in and which enjoys significant social traction. In fact 82.4% of respondents to the Miappi survey claimed they would be either “likely” or “very likely” to share brand recognition of their UGC via social media, significantly extending the potential reach of brands.
Lights, camera, action!
Ready for your brand to go live? While expectations regarding production values mean that you can create content with nothing more than a smartphone, there are some best practice tips to bear in mind to help you get the most from the experience:
- Share details of your live streaming session widely in the run up to the event to maximize your audience – and always be prompt!
- Create a catchy hashtag for your sessions to help spread awareness, collect thoughts from followers and build more of a following as you grow.
- Have enough content to fill at least 20 minutes. Viewers may not be punctual or may tune in some time after you begin streaming which means 5 minutes of content won’t capture attention or interest.
- If possible, interact with your audience as you stream, giving shout outs and answering questions to make viewers feel extra connected.