Last year, live content exploded into the mainstream marketing vernacular. According to this report, 82% of people prefer live video from a brand to social posts, and 80% of people would rather watch live video from a brand than read a blog. Even Mark Zuckerberg believes that social media will be all video in the future. Perhaps I should be streaming this post, instead of writing it? Twitter-owned Periscope and apps like Meerkat ignited a taste for raw and visceral live content, and paved the way for Facebook, Instagram and YouTube to develop their own live video platforms. Now, 78% of online audiences are watching Facebook Live. So are audiences done with brands’ heavily filtered, finessed and curated online presence? Not necessarily— though a live content strategy offers up the opportunity to establish a regular and heightened authentic connection with your audience. This new era of live content may be akin to reality TV—equally as edited and controlled by brands themselves, but mysteriously mesmeric and riveting for audiences, when rolled out effectively. If you are considering launching a live stream, follow these 5 key steps to make it worth your while. Are you ready to go live? Never spread yourself too thin. This age old adage is easily applied to any facet of business, but should not be forgotten in the development of any social and content marketing strategy. Consider your current efforts, your target audience, your products and/or services. Naturally video content can be molded to suit any strategy within any industry, but if you’ve not yet grasped the gamut of Facebook for business, or haven’t considered video production, or created a YouTube channel, it’s probably best to get the basics right before you take the plunge into live streaming. Quality over quantity Live streaming is not about reaching the masses, rather it’s an opportunity to target, engage and develop a much deeper connection with your tribe. It’s about letting your existing audience in on a quick scope of more authentic, behind the scenes, wish you were here type content. General Motors was the first auto manufacturer to use Facebook Live in January 2016, offering the first view of its new electric vehicle at the Consumer Electrics Show. The 25-minute video won around 24,500 views, and while this is only a fraction of Chevrolet’s 17 million Facebook followers—this video audience would have been the keenest to make a purchase and most likely to talk about the car with their friends (online and offline). Choose a platform Indeed, according to this piece on Forbes, Brands should think of Facebook Live as a particularly powerful trigger in the platform’s expertly targeted arsenal. Of all the new live streaming Facebook Live has the most detailed metrics of the live content platforms, and its content doesn’t disappear after 24 hours like Instagram and Snapchat iterations. If you’re considering which stage to go live on, Marketing Land suggests Facebook Live is best for long-form live content. Snapchat still remains to be the place to reach young digital natives, but it has also continued to roll out constant updates and innovations. Last year, the company filed a patent for augmented reality advertising, based on objects in your photos (took a photo of your cool cat? Here’s an ad for cool cat food). If you have an established and growing gang of Snapchat followers, this is a great place to develop a live content strategy. If your production budget is low or nonexistent, or you can’t promise regular, consistent video content, Instagram Live and Instagram Stories should be your go-to to go live. Additionally, Instagram Live allows followers to post comments during the live recording, giving you an opportunity to connect, engage, and strengthen relationships with your customers. In its own universe Live content shouldn’t be just the video version of your existing planned content schedule. Consider your live content in its own universe, unveiling a specific, raw variation of your brand feel and original programming. Content should always feel native to the platform it inhabits—for example, don’t post long links in Instagram captions, keep them as concise as possible (it’s a caption, after all and hyperlinks won’t show up). The same goes for live video. You’ll need to strategise moments that might be great to share live, snippets of action you know your audience will be hungry to experience. Pre Promotion and Timing The most successful live content will ensnare your target audience, and make them drop everything to tune in and soak up your live feed. Not surprisingly, compelling content is the primary motivator for live online viewing. What’s then fairly vital in this equation is that you know lots about your target audience (where and when they are online, as well as what’s going to make them stop and watch), and that your audience knows the live stream is going to happen. The timing of your live stream is crucial—you’ll need to know the times your audience is most active on social media. In terms of pre promotion, announce your live event at least two weeks prior. Generate interest and build momentum by drip feeding details, run a countdown, or post a teaser trailer on other social channels.
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