10 tips to make the most of live video
As live video continues to take the marketing world by storm, columnist Brad O'Brien shares his recommendations on how to make it work for your brand, as well as common stumbling blocks to watch out for.
Video is hands-down the hottest topic for most brands these days, and from my experience, I’d say it’s taken over “mobile” as the buzzword of the year. In particular, live video, disseminated on social channels like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, has brands and advertisers clamoring to get into the action.
I could rattle off a bunch of video stats to support the statements above, but I’m trusting that the savvy marketers reading this post are already convinced. This post will walk through my top 10 personal recommendations on how to use live video, and common pitfalls to avoid.
1. Have a purpose
Often, I hear a sense of urgency from brands and advertising professionals to launch full-force into live video testing. I can’t stress enough the importance of having a purpose behind your live video and ensuring it is the type of content that will augment your brand positioning and perception.
The content you plan to go live with must make sense for your brand, and not just be for the sake of trying the hot new thing in social.
2. Amplify before, during and after recording
Nobody likes playing to an empty room, and even the most casual live video takes significant planning. Get the most “bang for your buck” by promoting the live video with sponsored event ads, email marketing, and even on your website.
Smartly target the right audience up to, during and after the live video, and be sure to get the recording into the hands of your target audience.
3. Find the right talent
Not everyone is cut out to be in front of the camera, and this is especially true when working with a live video production. If you decide to use talent within your brand, it is extremely worthwhile to vet multiple individuals and put them through rounds of broadcast training.
While it may seem to make the most sense to have the in-house designer speak to a new product launch, a well-seasoned third-party influencer or media professional may be a better way to go.
4. Do several dry runs
I strongly believe that failing to prepare is preparing to fail. To produce the best possible content, you can’t do enough rehearsals of your live video event. Whether your brand is planning a professional production or just a smartphone video, this step is equally important.
5. Technology can and will fail
Once upon a time, I was responsible for producing a series of Live Google Plus Hangouts for a handful of brands. On one nightmarish occasion, the tech completely failed me less than a minute into what was supposed to be studio-quality production. Tens of thousands of dollars were wasted, hours upon hours of prep all went for naught, and the brand’s image was slightly tarnished as a result.
Always have multiple backup plans for technology when producing live video — I sure wish I had!
6. Surprise & delight on air
Everybody loves the opportunity to win something, and the prize is even sweeter when it’s a total surprise. In my opinion, it’s best to surprise and delight rather than promise prizes in the promotion of the live video event.
I say this because contests and promotions tend to routinely attract the wrong audience: those who are only interested in free stuff and not in what your brand has to say.
7. Provide behind-the-scenes opportunities
Just as in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” there is something exhilarating about the perceived exclusivity of letting consumers have a look behind the scenes. Use live video to preview new product and service launches, or to show the process of how something is made.
Your video viewers will enjoy the thrill of seeing something that few others are receiving access to.
8. Broadcast live events
One of the greatest benefits of live video is that anyone can feel like they are in the room with your brand, experiencing everything firsthand.
As a personal example, I try to attend all the large conferences and events put on by major social platforms, but my schedule doesn’t always allow it. However, I make sure that I am at least able to tune in remotely (or watch the recording) so that I don’t feel that I missed out on the opportunity.
9. Hold a Q&A session
Your customers have questions, and there are few things more authentic than allowing for a live Q&A where consumers have a chance for their voice to be heard. C-level execs, designers, merchandisers, operations and brand influencers are all viable options for live Q&A.
Pro tip: Always have some questions prepared to pepper into the Q&A session in case initial participation is low.
10. Have FUN!
My intention of listing several things to be aware of when producing live video is not to dissuade you from having fun and putting a human element behind your brand. While you should treat live video seriously, it’s important to still enjoy the process. When you’re having fun, you show through on camera as being confident, likable and genuine.
Several social media platforms offer live video, and my advice would be to try different types out and see what resonates best by platform. What type of live video makes the most sense for your brand to try first?