Live from your brand: streaming video and the new consumer connection
With all eyes on live-streaming, columnist Maggie Malek has some tips on how to use it to tell your brand's story and connect with consumers.
Tiny screens are poised to rule the world. And if content marketing on these tiny devices is king, video content is the crown jewel.
Video is no longer “on the rise.” It’s literally taking over. According to a very recent trend report, internet video will make up 80 percent of all consumer traffic in 2019. That’s a lot of traffic.
According to that same study, it’s not going to all be happening on wired devices (those good old desktops). In 2014, wired devices made up the majority of IP traffic at 54 percent; but by 2019, they will account for only 33 percent of IP traffic.
Therefore, brands must be keenly aware not only of online video as a marketing tool, but where it is being watched — on mobile.
In response to the increased time consumers are spending on video consumption, especially on mobile devices, every major social media channel has made big announcements addressing this change in consumer behavior by providing new options for video that are literally at our fingertips.
Time to go live
Although video on social has been around for several years, we’ve now entered the age of live-streaming video.
Periscope started gaining traction last year, and brands started “Snappin” more than ever. Then YouTube launched YouTube Live, Facebook Live came screaming onto the scene (and the top of your news feed), followed by Tumblr delighting songbirds everywhere with its first live stream from the Stagecoach country music festival.
With all of these new platforms, it’s time for brands to take a hard look at their strategy for the live-streaming space. Especially since, according to a recent study by Google, video truly impacts purchase intent.
Marketers who aren’t looking at video are ultimately going to get left behind.
Here is what I have been talking to my clients about when it comes to all things live.
Based on all of the social media metrics we have for clients over the past 10 years, we know that in social, behind-the-scenes content gets the most engagement. People love peering behind the curtains of their favorite brands.
To encourage people to follow you, they have to know that the content you will be sharing is unique and exciting — something just for followers. Don’t live-stream the humdrum. That is how you will get unfollows quickly.
Take Facebook Live as an example; that live content automatically takes the top space in a follower’s news feed. If you are just planning to live-stream your office Christmas party, expect users to be frustrated by that experience and unlike your page.
Live and learn
My favorite thing about social media is the power it gives brands to test, learn, optimize and continuously improve. This applies to the stories you tell in live video, as well as the channels you use.
Review all your metrics (not just vanity metrics) to find out what works. Time tells a lot: When are people dropping off? Are there certain times of day your video gets negative feedback?
Work this information into your next live experience. I also tell clients that the number of engagements provides great feedback. Because if no one is watching, then it’s not working.
Know your channels
Your audience is going to be different everywhere, and you need to customize what works for each channel and the consumers who use them.
Each social network has a specific niche. Be familiar with the nuances of live-streaming on each one so that you can properly leverage that channel’s capabilities and maximize engagement.
Going live is an opportunity for your fans to get to know you in a more in-the-moment, you-are-there way. While you should prep in advance and have all of your tools in place (especially a guaranteed internet connection), you should be prepared for, and okay with, something going wrong.
A great way to prep is to do a practice run (or 50). Personal trainer Jen Widerstorm actually posts practice videos to her Instagram account and asks for feedback in preparation for how the presentation will go.
I cannot say this enough: Winning brands today will be defined by their ability and openness to creating authentic relationships with their consumers. Live video is another tool to help brands tell their stories and create meaningful connections with consumers. Brands that succeed in doing this will continue to rise, no matter how technology changes.
It’s all about being real, accessible and involved — about creating content that changes hearts and minds to build loyal followers forever (and wherever).