The value of video to marketing and social media strategies is well documented. Video is no longer a “Nice To Have” it is a “Must Have”. Up until last year, marketing video was one directional and without the ability for you and your audience to interact in real time. With the rise of live streaming apps like Meerkat and Periscope last year, and Facebook making its live streaming feature available earlier this year, marketers are now empowered to instantly and directly communicate with their audience.
Live streaming video is exactly what you think it is, marketers can conduct live video events streamed directly to the audience at their computer or on their mobile device. Live streaming has actually been around for several years but because of bandwidth and hardware limitations these live events were previously limited to organizations whose marketing budgets could afford working with companies specializing in the production of live internet events. Not only were these events expensive to put on but also the stream was unstable and unwatchable for most users.
In 2015 Meerkat and Periscope broke through these limitations by providing a mobile app that allowed anyone to broadcast live to anyone using their app. The early adopters of these apps were primarily tech-loving individuals playing with the latest new toy. Early live streaming events were resigned to individuals sharing a live feed from their vacation or Internet personalities expanding communications with their established audiences.
It wasn’t until this year, when Facebook added live streaming functionality, that marketers started to take notice and begin to think of ways to leverage the power of live video engagement with their audiences. According to a survey conducted by Brandlive, marketers have quickly seen the value in live streaming and are rapidly incorporating it into their marketing strategies. Their research discovered:
- Executives most value live video’s unique ability to add an authentic human element to digital communications.
- 44% of the executives surveyed said they held a live streaming video event in 2015. 20% plan to test live streaming video for the first time in 2016.
- When asked about the importance of branded live streaming video as part of their overall marketing mix in 2016, 39% of the respondents said it will be “important,” and 20% said it would be “very important.” Nearly a quarter of respondents said the dollars allocated for live streaming video will increase in 2016.
- Nearly half of the respondents who have conducted live streaming video events said they relied on external resources to help produce the events. The most popular category of outside resource help was video production companies.
- Lack of available staff resources and lack of budget were cited as the top barriers to adoption of live streaming video.
The value of live streaming video is clearly there, but a question remains: What is the best way to leverage this new tool? Knowing your business and target audiences will be the best way to determine how to leverage live streaming video. Some of the ways organizations have successfully leveraged live streaming video include:
If you are ready to make the leap into live video streaming here 10 things to consider before you hit the “broadcast” button.
- Know why you are live streaming – Spontaneity is one of the advantages of being live, but no one wants to watch someone try to figure out what they are trying to say on the fly.
- Provide value – Naturally you want to get your message across to your audience, but be sure to make sure that you are providing them has value to them.
- Encourage and plan for interaction – Know how you are going to leverage the ability of your audience to instantaneously provide feedback even if that feedback isn’t what you want to hear.
- Respect your audience – Just because you can go on and on doesn’t mean you should. Remember that modern attention spans are only getting shorter.
- Practice before going live – Live streaming is not a forum to “wing it.” Be prepared like you would if you were meeting someone face-to-face. Consider doing a short test event at off hours to work out any problems.
- Be yourself – Don’t try to put on a show for the camera. Be true to you and your brand.
- Focus your message – Consider doing a series of targeted live events to sub-audiences rather that one trying to speak to multiple audiences.
- Make sure you know what you are talking about – Have a your ducks in a row and your facts in order.
- Production value cannot be ignored – Just because you can shoot this with an iPhone doesn’t mean you should. Consider working with a video production company to help you set up the lighting and sound and help you make the best decisions on the purchasing of the specialized live streaming equipment.
- Remember that there isn’t a second take – Once you hit that broadcast button there is no turning back.