Fast-Forward Your Marketing Strategy With Live-Streaming Video

Here’s a look at how brands are using live streaming to increase awareness and engagement.

Fast-Forward Your Marketing Strategy With Live-Streaming Video

“If the news is that important, it will find me.”

This oft-quoted line from a Brain Stelter article in The New York Times from March 2008 has become the mantra of digital marketers across the globe. The explosion of social media and mobile usage over the past decade has caused us to rethink how we reach influencers and ultimately, our audiences. Content is customized, aggregated, and delivered in real time in numerous ways. The challenge is knowing who to distribute your message to and how to get it there in a rapidly evolving media landscape.

The latest tool in a marketers toolbox to emerge is live-streaming video. Live-streaming video apps are experiencing exponential growth. On Periscope alone, approximately 40 years—or 21 million minutes—of live footage is watched daily.

Why? Look no further than Periscope’s website to understand: “What if you could see through the eyes of a protester in Ukraine? Or watch the sunrise from a hot air balloon in Cappadocia? … While there are many ways to discover events and places, we realized there is no better way to experience a place right now than through live video. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but live video can take you someplace and show you around.”

People are constantly connected and are more intimate and inviting with others than ever before. They want to share their worlds. More importantly, they want to be invited to share yours. As a result, live-streaming apps such a Periscope, Blab, and Meerkat have opened doors to new opportunities for smart marketers and their teams.

Let’s look at a few examples that demonstrate how brands are using live streaming to increase awareness and engagement and how other brands can mirror their success.

Taking fans on a virtual adventure: The Glacier National Park is using Periscope to let fans explore the great outdoors through their phones, and GE is taking its audience on an entirely new adventure of their own. Both are fantastic ways for companies to invite their supporters to experience things they may not otherwise be able. This is an idea that any marketer could consider to help build a brand in a consumer’s mind.

Hosting a live Q&A: Benefit Cosmetics frequently engages its community on Periscope through Q&As and live makeup tutorials—with its own experts, as well as influencers. According to Digiday, more than 2,000 live viewers tune in to each stream on average—giving Benefit the opportunity to “re-create that very intimate experience of being in one of their boutiques digitally.” Brands can mimic this approach, using live streaming to bring fans closer to their brands by giving them exclusive access to company executives, industry experts, or thought leaders.

Partnering with influencers: Nestlé Drumstick partnered with four influencers to use Periscope to livestream iconic summer moments, including backyard barbecues and a visit to an amusement park. In just 12 hours, Nestlé’s Periscope channel generated more than 5,000 views and 50,000 hearts, plus the influencers generated 65,000 more (1,500 views and 64,000 hearts, to be specific). As with other marketing initiatives, partnering with relevant influencers can help increase the reach and impact of the campaigns you use live streaming to support.

A Guide To Getting Started

Clearly, live-streaming video can help brands engage their audiences in real time, promote events and content, partner with experts and influencers, and drive other important business outcomes. So what happens once you decide to start leveraging Periscope, Blab, or Meerkat? Start with these eight best practices.

1. Plan what to say: Just because the video is live doesn’t mean your content should be, too. Create an outline and decide on key points to deliver, and make sure they sync up with your overall business/marketing goals. Prepare for the live stream just as you would for a press conference or presentation. Decide on the best location to serve your message, too. (After all, where you shoot your video is just as important as what you say.)

2. Hook your audience: According to a 2015 Microsoft study, attention spans last just eight seconds, which means you have limited time to draw in your audience. The opening seconds of your video are crucial, so use a strong hook at the beginning to capture attention.

3. Keep the title simple: The title of your video should be short and to the point. Be clear on what you’ll be talking about, but keep it concise and direct to capture attention. (Remember: You’ll want to stick to 140 characters, since Periscope enables sharing with a link to the video via Twitter.) Your title should showcase the selling point of your video, such as whether it’s an exclusive experience for viewers or educational.

4. Narrate the stream: Live streaming is meant to show your brand’s perspective on the world. Unless you’re playing up some sort of “secret agent” motif—and you very well could be for some sort of campaign—be vocal. Use your best spokespeople and identify them online. Just as people follow celebrities on Twitter, Pinterest, and elsewhere, they’ll follow your brand’s representatives. They want to hear what you have to say.

5. Prepare for real-time responses: Meerkat and Periscope enable engagement with your audience in real time. This is a great way to interact with the people watching and get them involved in the content of your video. Be prepared to go off-script, though, and be wary of awkward questions. Know ahead of time how you will handle a possible crisis and what communication tactics to implement if needed.

6. Be aware of rules and regulations for streaming: Be considerate. Streaming your owned events is a given, but streaming other events, such as conferences, speeches, or musical events, may cause legal issues if you don’t check with the organizers first.

7. Tie your streams back to business objectives: While you’re streaming, be sure to mention your website, how to sign up for your newsletter, or a specific piece of content you’re looking to drive people to. Then, measure the impact of your live stream in traffic or clicks during the time of the broadcast.

8. Know which app works best for your needs: Unlike Periscope and Meerkat, a Blab broadcast never vanishes. For example, you could easily embed your live stream on your company’s blog after it’s been recorded to extend the life of the content. Know the differentiators and nuances of each platform to determine which one is right for you.

Understanding multichannel engagement, the right channels to distribute which content, and the influencers that can champion your message are paramount to the future success of your brand. Leveraging live-streaming video as part of your overall content marketing mix can help get you there.

See what the Twitterverse is saying about online video: