How do you create moments of genuine interaction and enjoyment between a brand and its customers?
Many marketers are finding that live-broadcasting can open doors that otherwise might be shut. Bringing audiences and brands closer together with real-time and insider access, entertaining live video content offers a wealth of exciting opportunities for engaging existing customers and reaching out to prospective new ones. So how do you get started?
Welcome to Green Rock’s must-read guide to planning the perfect livestream video for your brand.
Discover how to:
- Pick the right platform: With Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, IGTV (Instagram TV), Periscope and Snapchat available, the choice can be overwhelming
- Deliver rich content: Bring audiences closer to your brand and get them involved in the action
- Experiment with formats: From insightful interviews, interactive Q&As, behind-the-scenes tours and innovative twists on TV formats
- Build an audience: How to create a buzz and get people watching and sharing your livestream
Audiences crave insider access to their favourite brands and creators, with livestream video the ideal way to provide it. The stats don’t lie:
- Facebook alone boasts 4 billion daily video streams, with live broadcasting daily watch time grow 4X in the past year
- People spend 3x more time watching live-streamed content than they do watching pre-recorded videos
- They also comment and interact 10x more during live videos
- 80% of people prefer a brand’s live video over blog posts, rising to 82% over social media
- Video streaming makes up 75% of all internet traffic and is expected to account for 82% by 2020
The modern-day equivalent of the coveted Access-All-Areas pass is already being used for whole host of different content. Everyone from the world’s top sports clubs, to leading politicians, fashion brands, media personalities, digital publishers and FCMG brands are bypassing paid media and going straight to the consumer with live video.
It turns out that those in-the-moment experiences are also good for business. A recent Livestream research report showed that not only is live video more appealing, it’s also far more likely to be remembered. Audiences retain 95% of marketing messages when absorbed via video, compared to only 10% when read. It’s no surprise then that over 50% of marketing professionals report better ROI from live video than any other social media campaigns.
Live video is also powering the meteoric popularity of the top 500 media publishers on Facebook.
So, if you’re not creating live video, you’re missing out.
But what makes for a must-watch, enjoyable live video?
In short: quality content. Some 90% of people believe video quality is the most important factor driving their decision to tune in and stay engaged with a Facebook Live video. Of course, ‘quality’ is incredible subjective so let’s dissect what it means and how you can deliver a successful live video on one of the major social platforms.
Here’s the individual ingredients you should be thinking about…
Choosing the right format & duration
You’ve chosen a live video for a reason, so it makes sense to work with the respective strengths of the medium: immediacy, intimacy and reach. Some program formats are better suited to live video than others, including:
- Magazine Shows. Have a few ideas you need to cover? Bring them to life and blend them together with your own entertainment style news program.
- Expert Advice. Shed light on the key topics and trends affecting your customers. It could a masterclass, a how-to video, a thought leader roundtable or a simple piece to camera.
- Q&A and AMA Sessions. It rarely gets more interactive than fielding questions from the audience. Do so in advance to give yourself some thinking time or tackle the questions on the spot via comments or a hashtag.
- Behind-the-Scenes Tours. Venture into the places big crews can’t to satisfy the 87% of audiences who want behind-the-scenes access. Offer an authentic insight into your company and put a face to the (brand) name.
- Interviews. If Buzzfeed can secure Obama, perhaps it’s time you too started to think like a print and broadcast news outlet. Partnering with the right personality (or personalities) can be a real win-win for livestreamed content.
- Event coverage. Make sure all those who can’t attend don’t miss out. Think beyond a static camera and offer multiple vantage points, such as the audience POV and exclusive backstage access.
- Spontaneous coverage. Sometimes it helps to venture off script and strike when a good opportunity presents itself. It could be the joy of a new Star Wars toy or a group of strangers jumping over a puddle. Viral content can be found in the most unlikely of places.
With so many formats to choose from, you’re only really limited by your imagination and the speed of your connection.
Choosing the best platform for your live video
With user bases in their billions, Facebook and YouTube take the top spots in terms of the most-watched live streaming platforms on social media. However, others aren’t far behind and shouldn’t be discounted.
You’ll need to consider:
- Where you’ve already built a following and where your potential audience is
- The ease and options for viewer engagement (e.g. to ‘like’, comment and share)
- Any restrictions on stream length and whether live videos can be archived and replayed
- How ads are displayed and what the revenue-share splits are
- The minimum number of subscribers required to access livestreaming
- Any notifications the platforms issues to existing followers when you go live
Building your live audience in advance
Once you’re clear on the content, platform and target audience for your live video, it’s a good idea to let people know it’s happening.
‘Appointment to View’ television used to be the holy grail of broadcasting and it was powered by promotional tactics you can apply to your live video.
Promote your live broadcast ahead of its airing and generate excitement over the course of a couple of weeks. Use teasers, press releases and early talking points. Ask contributors and partners to create a buzz amongst their existing networks. Reach into existing communities and use popular hashtags related to your content. Provide the streaming link where viewers can access the video and collect email addresses via a pre-event landing page or RSVPs via a Facebook event page and remind them one week, 48 hours, 24 hours and a few hours in advance of the broadcast.
Plan your livestream as you would any other event and it’ll pay dividends.
Keeping viewers engaged
Now you have your great livestream idea and an outreach plan it’s time to think about its execution. You’ll need to consider whether:
- To shoot in vertical for desktop or portrait for mobile. IGTV is the shiny new standalone vertical video app from Instagram that is “built for how you actually use your phone”.
- To go long-form or keep it short. YouTube’s “Stream now” option gives you up to 12 hours of continual broadcasting. Once your video gains traction it can make sense to keep the camera rolling.
- To offer a single shot or keep the camera moving. As live video gains popularity, so do viewer expectations. The more visually appealing your content, the more likely they are to stick around.
- To offer subtitles alongside sound. 85% of Facebook video is watched without sound, so including captions with your videos can make a huge difference to viewing numbers.
- To make latecomers welcome. Reintroduce yourself throughout your livestream and briefly touch on what you’ve covered so far. Recap the main talking points in your comments too.
Inviting viewer interaction
The biggest difference to engagement and new viewers is likely to come from people liking, commenting or sharing your video with their friends. It also opens up a whole host of ways people can engage with your brand at the same time.
It can be wise to have an extra pair of hands ready to chat to commenters and respond to questions as they come in. Call them out by name and link to CTA’s for your products and services if relevant.
Your reward for all this effort? More engagement means a better ranking on others’ News Feed as it’s a clear sign people are enjoying what they’re seeing.
Test your connection
We all know the frustration of a call lost to a poor 4G connection. Proceed with confidence with a 50MB connection or better for a single platform or 1GB if multiple streams. A state-of-the-art video production studio such as TOG Studios comes with live-vision mixing, full-lighting rig, live graphics and in-broadcast calls-to-action capability and an operative on-hand, meaning it’s one less thing for you to worry about. Don’t fall down at the final hurdle!
If that’s not enough you could also cut to another set-up on a broadcast balcony, offering the viewer a change in scenery and tone. Or invite clients or influencers to watch the action unfold in a next-door streaming room.
And finally… stay in touch
The show must go on. Any success live broadcast will leave viewers calling for an encore. Here’s a few ways to keep the conversation flowing:
- Save your broadcast to your profile, page or channel (depending on the platform) and offer it up as a video-on-demand to be replayed at their convenience.
- Atomise your content. Turn your single stream into lots of interesting short segments to be shared on social media.
- Create a live series. You’ve found a format that works so try to own it and repeat it. Each new video will build from the last and create new engagement opportunities with new audiences.
If you’re serious about making your live broadcast a success, there’s clearly a lot to think about. Don’t let that deter you as it’s an art that can be mastered and the returns for doing so can outperform most of your other marketing activity.