Author: Cameron Jahn
Live video has tremendous power to bring people together. From product unveilings to interviews, people naturally gather around this “watercooler” type of content to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and events. And with the popularity of live streaming platforms like Facebook Live, Periscope, Instagram Live, and YouTube Live, it’s becoming increasingly important for brands to use live video in their marketing strategy.
In this blog, I’ll walk you through five steps to kick off your live video strategy from beginning to end:
1. Content Creation
Live streaming gives you an opportunity to capture the mindshare and become a thought leader in your market niche without a lot of investment in equipment and software.
Polished, professional videos can be very resource-intensive, but live streams by nature are raw, unedited takes that can create more authentic interactions with your audience. Creating live streaming content is much cheaper (no need for an expensive camera or a top-notch video editing suite), but what you save in production costs should be spent on mapping out a compelling story.
One easy formula to get started is to treat your live stream like a case study: share a situation that emphasizes a pain point you or your customers have experienced, expand on the business challenge caused by this scenario, and then round it off with what was learned along the way. Make sure your videos provide lots of information for both prospective and existing customers. You might even want to feature an industry expert or existing customer who can share their knowledge with your audience.
Other formats that work well for live streams are exclusive, behind-the-scenes access to events and Q&A sessions between hosts and guests. Live streaming also works well to bring the magic of an industry event or keynote back to the viewer at home, such as Marketing Nation Summit. Bottom line is, if you make your audience feel special, they’ll reward you with their attention.
Once you have a story ready to go, you’ll be ready to start planning your live stream. A mobile phone camera or a laptop webcam is perfect for getting started, though you may want to invest in a tripod to stabilize your footage.
2. Content Promotion
Creating content is just one piece of the puzzle. The challenge then becomes making sure it gets found by your target audience. Many social platforms now have free options for broadcasting your live stream to the world, but you should focus on broadcasting across the channels your audience consumes content on. This might require using more than one tripod so you can broadcast on separate platforms at the same time, such as Periscope and Instagram Live.
An easy way to make sure you cover all avenues is to consider both organic and paid distribution:
Organic: Getting viewers to tune in organically is all about your promotion. Leverage the existing audience channels in your arsenal. This could include social media, email, and your website.
Sharing live content with these audiences can include pre-event promotion, notifications, and even a registration page similar to that of a webinar. Before the live stream, you’ll want to promote it across your channels—posting on your social platforms, sending an email a day before the live stream, and/or posting a ‘Going live in 15 minutes!’ update on Twitter. Once the event is live, it’s a good idea to post a “Live Now” reminder on the social channels you’re broadcasting on or share a notification in relevant public Slack channels. These audiences are “low-hanging fruit” since they’re interested in similar topics, so make sure you capture their attention.
Paid: When you reach the end of your potential organic viewership pool, you may want to expand your audience further by boosting your visibility with paid promotion through the social platform itself or a live video platform. Paid promotion for live video is like other paid media, except that your vendor should have a real-time delivery network. They should be able to target a specific audience in real-time when your broadcast is live by notifying or serving content to people who have already shown an interest in the topic. Also, be sure they can provide you with valuable metrics and insights on your viewers (which I’ll cover later), so you can follow up and continue the conversation with your viewers after the event is over.
Engagement is a key part of your broadcast. When you are choosing a live video platform, look for features that allow your audience to chime in and ask questions, share their opinions, and weigh in on best practices during the live broadcast. For example, Periscope has a chat function where viewers can ask questions in real-time.
You can even incentivize your audience to participate with prizes and free trials. Roblox, a user-generated online gaming platform, gave away prizes on their live stream every day for a week to celebrate reaching 150,000 Twitch followers. While you don’t need to give your audience incentives to succeed, remember that engagement is a two-way street, and you need audience participation to complete the circle.
4. Data Collection
Data is essential for helping you figure out what works and what doesn’t. Analyzing your impact will help you make better decisions about your live video strategy moving forward.
Within native social platforms, you can track soft metrics like views, shares, and comments for early indicators of your video’s effectiveness. However, these metrics don’t reveal who engaged with your live video. To dive a little deeper, you may want to consider adopting a live video platform that integrates into native social platforms for deeper insights. Using the platform, you can place a cookie on each viewer and track the exact moment someone engaged with the live broadcast and then use that information to nudge that person further along in their buyer’s journey in other campaigns and channels.
5. Conversions or Goal Success
Getting from a live video broadcast to ROI is a process: engage, distribute, convert, and close. Using a live video platform, you can distribute a live stream’s URL through ad units across the web. Each ad unit has a cookie that tracks view time, engagement, conversions, etc. Then, marketers can track click-through rate, conversions, and other metrics within the platform’s dashboard and use those insights to inform their next action.
For example, a viewer who spends 30 seconds with your content may only be ready for a soft follow-up offer (e.g. a newsletter subscription), while someone who viewed your live stream for 30 minutes may be ready to sign up for a free trial, register for an upcoming event, or engage with a piece of content. Think of live videos in the same way you do for your other marketing programs: your goal should be to drive more qualified leads to feed into your nurture campaigns and ultimately track each viewer through to a conversion.
While live video is raw and unedited, it requires a strategy for it to be effective—each step driving the success of the other. Reaching the right audiences and showing a positive ROI is the ultimate goal, but understanding how to manage the workflow is key to live content creation.
Have you started experimenting with live video for your brand? Share your tips and tricks below!
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