The good news is that it can. What fuels this apparent popularity and growth is a solid live video content marketing strategy.
Take a look at a few statistics that highlight the need for this kind of strategy:
- According to Tubular Insights, viewers spend 8X longer with live video than on-demand: 5.1 minutes for on-demand vs. 42.8 minutes for live video content. As brands compete for eyeballs in the newsfeed, live is a key differentiator.
- The average time spent for video on mobile is 2.8 minutes for VOD and 3.5 for livestreams.
- 78% of online audiences are already watching video on Facebook Live. 90% think video content quality is the most important aspect of Facebook Live videos.
- Live video is more appealing to brand audiences: 80% would rather watch live video from a brand than read a blog, and 82% prefer live video from a brand to social posts.
- 59% of executives would rather watch a video than read text, according to Forbes.
The infographic below also provides a few more insights.
Your goal with online marketing is really to build trust. This means if you want to cut through the noise, give people access to what you are doing and why you are doing it. This is where live video comes in.
It is not about the broadcast, but about access to experiences, they would otherwise not have, and an opportunity to engage and develop a relationship with your audience.
Viewers bond with those in front of the camera and are more likely to tune in. This is where demos and your product knowledge can really help add value to your audience. However, you need to be careful to ensure it doesn’t come across like a sales pitch.
In the above video, viewers can watch Jeannie Huang, Adobe’s Senior Product Designer, design and prototype a service-oriented web experience in Adobe XD 5.0 in real-time.
So how do you ensure your live video is good enough to engage?
By defining success. You can avoid most bad live video experiences by defining what success should look like. It could be things like increased click-throughs, awareness, increased engagement, or number of likes.
No matter what success is to you, in order to see it come to fruition you have to know what type of audience you’re trying to reach and where to find them on social media.
Decide on platform
If you are starting out with live video, it’s critical to decide which platform you will use.
Because you need to know your audience, which platform will give you the widest possible reach, and how to optimize your content for that platform. To figure out which platform your audience will best respond to, determine which platform has the most engagement on standard text, image, or video content.
Having said that, the platform is less important than the audience.
Most platforms today have a live streaming feature, and you can use a service like restream.io to broadcast the same live video across different platforms.
However, the point is to maximize your efforts by favoring the platform that is likely to provide the success you are seeking.
- LinkedIn live video would be a better fit for a consulting business that also uses the platform for recruitment and networking.
- On the other hand, Twitch would be a better platform for businesses targeting online sports and gaming audiences.
Other popular options to gain a wider audience include Facebook Live, Instagram Stories, and YouTube Live. Here are some pros and cons to consider about some of the most popular platforms (adapted from this article):
- Can notify all your followers
- Can save your highlights
- Have co-broadcasting options
- Only available for 24 hours unless you add it to Story highlights
- Can potentially reach larger audiences
- Offers analytics native to the platform
- Retargeting capabilities
- Have co-broadcasting options
- You can notify all your followers
- Streaming from your computer or phone is possible
- You have little control over advertising
- Streaming from your phone or computer is possible
- Provides SEO opportunities and benefits
- Allows for customization of video like pre-roll and thumbnails
- Allows for 360 video
- Cannot notify followers
- Some employers could potentially block the site
- Owned by Twitter
- Allows for 360 video
- Easy to use
- Limited controls for creators
- Can only be used on phones
- Suited for a younger audience with an interest in gaming or sports
- Can use the app on your computer or phone
- Users are suspicious of advertisers and can be harsh critics of those who put promotion before entertainment
- Caters to a specific demographic
You don’t necessarily need to commit to a weekly broadcast, but pick a frequency and stay consistent. Technical hiccups are always a possibility. Because of this, it pays to plan for such contingencies by having back-up options and equipment like Wi-Fi, so you can deliver what you promised.
Document and create
As with most forms of content, ensuring you have an appealing title and topic is also a great way to promote your live video and attract viewers. An enticing structure is how you’ll keep them watching. Start your videos explaining what you are going to discuss and entice viewers with rewards like a discount, vital hacks to make life easier, or a much-anticipated answer at the end of the video. These are likely to keep viewers hanging on longer.
After a viewer’s attention is captured, you want to hold onto it in order to get your message across. Cleverly structuring your presentation is a vital part of leading viewers into your sales and content marketing funnel.
Having said that, you don’t want to make it so scripted and structured that it takes away from the human aspect that video provides. Coming across naturally may take some time and practice.
While having a plan is important, you should also be flexible enough to capitalize on unplanned events as they come up. After all, in going live in the moment an event is unfolding provides unique access and holds a powerful attraction for your viewers.
This means that you and your team need to be prepared to go live with little or no preparation.
Get the right gear
Your livestream doesn’t need to be polished and perfect, but it does need to be professionally done. Just being an entertaining host won’t make up for bad audio or lighting issues. In fact, most of your audience won’t stick around long with these issues.
Note that a phone, a mic, a tripod, and good lighting are all you need for good live video. If you have a higher budget, a Beast Grip Pro and lens adapter or an iOgrapher could give you some stability when using your phone for live video.
Remember, people want to hear from and relate to you, so don’t aim for a completely polished video.
Promote beyond the platform
The key to getting your audience to turn up to watch the live video is to make them aware that your livestream will happen and build their anticipation. This requires you to tell them when it will happen but also why they should tune in.
Some platforms make informing your fans easier than others. For example, with Facebook Live, you can inform your fans by scheduling the event on the platform.
Other things you could do to get the word out include:
- Sharing Instagram stories and tweets to promote your livestreams.
- Tag people who are in the Facebook Live video, add the location from where you’re shooting, or share what you’re doing in the broadcast. This will also make it more personal and increase the chance of people finding it.
To ensure people show up, you can build anticipation by teasing their curiosity around the topic you plan to discuss in the days leading up to your livestream. Here are a few ideas:
- Create a video trailer including highlights that will be included in your video, like discount opportunities, complimentary demos, or sneak peeks that they can’t get anywhere else.
- Draft a teaser blog post.
- Post on social media.
- Pay for some social ads.
Things you need to include no matter what promotional strategy you use:
- The date and time that you want people to tune in.
- Make it easy for your audience to find your livestream – for example, post the URL in your Instagram bio or tweet a link to your livestream.
If followers are intrigued, they are more likely to tune in to hear what you have to share.
Don’t overlook your email list. It can also be a powerful way to add viewers. A simple way to engage them would be to:
- Send an invite via email the week before you go live.
- Follow up with a reminder the day before you go live (or the day you go live).
If your emails include the ideas mentioned above and make clear why your audience should attend, it will likely arouse their interest and create a sense of urgency to tune in.
You also need to understand that your audience may favor other platforms. You could given time and resources be able to encourage these people to cross over to the one you are streaming from by using video marketing on other platforms your audience favors. For example, this could involve showing behind-the-scenes footage of your Facebook livestream via Instagram Stories.
Alternatively, you could use a service like Restream.io to stream live video to other platforms simultaneously.
Build engagement and community
It has been proven that when people interact with you directly via live video, they are more likely to buy your product or service. However, people don’t tune in to live video to make a purchase. People tune into live video because they want to be part of something.
As a host, your job is to make them feel included and not broadcast to. A good way to do this is to use qualifying prompts to determine which viewers warrant further engagement.
For example, well before their live videos, makeup brand Benefit asks viewers to help the hosts decide what topics they should cover. Viewers are encouraged to submit ideas on Facebook and Snapchat.
During the livestream the hosts continue to seek input from their audience. For example, to keep viewers engaged, they may:
- Ask the audience to like or comment if they want to see an episode on a particular beauty tip or technique.
- Let the audience vote on which products the hosts will use for a make-up demo.
This strategy of seeking ongoing viewer input and engagement works very well and helps Benefit learn more about their customers’ product preferences.
Thursday at 4pm means tipsy tricks with Benefit! Tune in now for drinks & learn to go from desk to dance floor instantly!
Posted by Benefit Cosmetics on Thursday, April 7, 2016
Live video can be scary if you are including your audience’s opinions and have them drive the content because you don’t know what direction it can take. However, if you’re asked questions you don’t know the answer to, just be honest and admit you don’t know the answer. Follow up with them once you do.
Wrapping up your live video content strategy
Once the broadcast is over, you could thank participants and your audience with a simple thank you or a parting gift and let them know what they can expect next.
To build out and improve your content strategy, consider doing the following:
- You can save, download, and share the video across other platforms or even your website.
- Respond to comments and questions that came up and engage with viewers. After all, the interaction with you is what helps people to stay tuned in to your live videos.
- Some people won’t be able to watch live for a host of reasons and will instead watch the replay. If you have the time, you can edit out the beginning of the video recording and replace it with a welcome message for replay viewers.
- Analyze the recording. You may not enjoy watching yourself on video, but doing so creates an opportunity to find areas that you could improve on. Consider what went well and what didn’t. Also, consider asking for honest feedback from others in your industry or your friends.
- Check your analytics. Your platform analytics will also reveal key data that can inform your performance and the opportunity for improvement. Most platforms will be able to provide insights on how many people watched, for how long, and whether they shared/commented/liked. It would help to record data around views, engagement and actions your audience took in order to track progress as you continue your livestream journey. (Tip – make note of the day of the week and times you go live to see what works for the best content marketing).
- Monitor sales activity. Track how many people acted on your CTA and correlate that with activity (during the same timeframe) like inquiries, leads generated or sales.
Live video content strategy ideas
Your live video content strategy could include different content formats, including:
- Q&A + Ask Me Anything (AMA’s)
- Live events
- Repurposed content
- Behind the scenes
- Tips and how-tos
- Travel content
- Live events
- Look over my shoulder
- Walkthrough of your business
- Your process
- Rants (your point of view on something that is against popular opinion)
- Unboxing videos
Pick ones that work for you and the themes you wish to explore.
Know your “no-go” areas
For any brands or organizations, especially highly-regulated industries like finance, you will need to have a strategy that clarifies potential areas that need your legal team’s insight or approval. Identifying these “no-go” areas will help you avoid them and protect your live video strategy.
Even with the above live video content strategies, it could take a few attempts before you find success. So persist through your failures.
Remember that you should have a solid plan in place and know what success looks like. Choose the right platform and don’t let a lack of the “right” gear stop you.
Before you go live, ensure that you promote the broadcast across all your social media channels and email lists.
Once you’re live, ensure you have something valuable to keep your viewers tuned in – like a promotion, demonstration, or behind-the-scenes footage.
What are you doing to up your live video content strategy? Let us know in the comments below.