Live video marketing. It’s a pretty big deal. You know it. Everyone knows it.
But do you know how to use it?
Me either. Let’s figure it out. Welcome to Live Video Marketing 101, where this relative beginner gives you, the even bigger beginner, a few useful tips for getting started on building a following, promoting what needs to be promoted, and creating live video content that’s useful for your brand.
The Big Names in Live Video Marketing
Before we get into specific techniques, we need to talk about the big players in this relatively new area of digital marketing.
First, you’ve got Periscope. This Twitter-bound video streamer allows you to use a connected Twitter account to stream live video to all your followers, as well as anyone else that finds your entry on the trending feed interesting. While many of the broadcasts are informal and unprofessional, some major brands have been known to dabble in it.
While many of the broadcasts are informal and unprofessional, major brands like Redbull, Doritos, and EA Sports have all had success with live video marketing through this outlet.
Because Periscope is directly linked to Twitter, it’s an easy jump for a brand with a solid Twitter following. Many other companies (like GM, for one) use Periscope to give tours of their facilities or insights into their company’s processes.
Facebook Live, Periscope’s main rival, provides mostly the same service with a few key differences.
While Periscope is obviously designed for seamless Twitter use (right down to the hearts in the lower right-hand corner of the broadcast), Facebook has a comment feed directly below the video with options to “like” comments.
Also, Facebook Live preserves your broadcast as a permanent post on your followers’ feeds unless you choose to delete it, while Periscope only has the option to keep a broadcast for 24 hours.
Facebook Live has been heavily used as a way to share special events with people who would otherwise probably never attend. My boss’s boss illustrated this pretty clearly by watching the Pulitzer Prizes live from the front row without ever receiving a ticket to the event.
And then there’s Meerkat.
Poor, underappreciated Meerkat, the app that started live social broadcasts in the first place and then got swallowed up in the advance of Twitter and Facebook’s equivalent products.
Meerkat has some features that are just plain cool, but with Facebook and Twitter’s already existing user base, Meerkat is probably doomed to die in obscurity.
Leaving the melodrama behind, Youtube Live has a live option as well, most commonly used for sports and videogame streams, news, and other performances and awards shows.
One downside to Youtube’s live video marketing option is that it’s a less seamless connection between chatting with viewers and producing the video. Despite this, it does offer a great platform for brand storytelling.
Despite this, it does offer a great platform for brand storytelling.
Twitch is worth mentioning simply because it has an immense user base, but if you’re looking for anyone other than avid video gamers, you’ll be out of luck there.
It does allow for a great deal of user modding and customization, however, and some brands (like Mountain Dew) have benefited from having an active Twitch channel.
Now that we know the players, let’s see how to work the game.
How to Play the Live Video Marketing Game
Every live streaming platform has its nuances, but there are a few principles that hold true no matter which one you’re using. These include:
- Giving an accurate, descriptive, and brief title
- Cutting out the cheese and making it real (live streaming users value authenticity)
- Talking to your audience; responding to their interactions
- If appropriate, leaving your broadcasts up for as long as possible
Most of these points explain themselves.
Titles need to be clear and attention-grabbing, and brand interactions need to be sincere and open. That last point, however, is also a big help. Leaving a window for people to view your broadcasts after they happen can help you get followers you might have otherwise missed, increasing your brand’s reach in the channel you’re using.
That being said, that “if appropriate” is included because sometimes you want your broadcast to be exclusive to those who bothered to connect at the right time. Making your content available for a limited time is a well-tested method of getting people to watch for no other reason beyond their fear of missing out, much like what Dos Equis is doing with the departure of their Most Interesting Man in the World.
Another item to keep in mind is your live video’s timeliness.
If your content has been overdone by others, or if you’re doing something at a time of day when your target audience is probably at work or in class, then you’re setting yourself up for problems. Plan your live video campaigns around your target audience’s day, and they’ll be much more likely to accommodate you, listening in willingly instead of ignoring the hassle.
While these are all important factors, the most important aspect of your live video marketing is up next.
Make Sure Your Live Video Marketing Is Lively
While the live video marketing etiquette above is useful, your broadcast has to have a specific, interesting purpose, or it will never get off the ground.
On Periscope, for example, ordinary people can accrue an audience of several thousand within minutes doing relatively interesting things, like dancing, singing, or pranking.
Your brand’s broadcast needs to have a clear purpose, like showing off a new product, or displaying a limited-time event, or answering questions from followers. These are all ways that you can assure a more interested, dedicated following for your live broadcast.
If your broadcast starts to fail to deliver on whatever the title (or social media post) describes, or even if you just hit a lull due to poor planning or excessive thinking, your viewership will plummet.
Who’s Living the Live Video Marketing Dream?
There are a few brands in particular that make live video marketing shine.
Red Bull, mentioned above, made great use of Periscope to live stream an exclusive weekend party in Miami Beach, making something that was otherwise unavailable to the general public accessible in a fun, entertaining way.[clear]
Dunkin Donuts made a similar foray into live video marketing, with a series of five concerts broadcast via Periscope to anyone who wanted to watch or listen.
Periscope also gave DD a chance to give viewers backstage access, making their content interesting even to people who attended the events. The broadcast was a big move for DD in part because it unified their social media presence completely.[clear]
A company called Orange France made a successful attempt at live video marketing when they set up a reality TV show in which the participants went on a date, guided in part by their Periscope viewers. The series of broadcasts proved very popular, and other companies have given attempts at similar entertainment since then.[clear]
EA, Ubisoft, and Bioware
EA, Ubisoft, and Bioware have all offered a great deal of Facebook Live coverage of their booths or game demos at E3 and other major gaming conventions. This has proven a great way to let the interested but otherwise unable-to-attend see what’s upcoming, and has provided an opportunity for smaller game developers as well. For example, Cloud Imperium Games, a completely crowdfunded studio, uses Youtube Live to give development updates to its backers, and Arenanet, maker the popular Guild Wars 2, did live Periscope and Twitch broadcasts to give glimpses into the development of their game’s latest expansion.
Is Live Video Marketing the Future?
In brief, yes. In less-brief, yes, but it’s not going to completely replace anything else. There are times when live broadcasting is more advantageous, such as during interesting or important events, and times when pre-recorded content will serve your brand’s cause better.
Live video’s greatest strength lies in the sense of “being there.” It gives a heightened concept of interactivity to your branded content, and lets you bring your followers right into the action in a way they feel matters. They can comment as things are occurring, and in some cases can affect the outcome of the events featured in your video. Most of all, however, your viewers feel like they’ve all experienced something together, which can foster a great deal of brand loyalty.
If you want to create high-quality, lasting, rewatchable content, live isn’t for you. If you want to create partially improvised content that allows users to interact with your brand directly, live video marketing is exactly what you need.
That’s the basic concept of live video marketing. I had fun exploring it with you. Let me know how your forays into it go, and we’ll keep learning together.