Incorporating live video into social media marketing

We take a look at the increasing use of live video content on social media and how you can incorporate it into your brand’s social strategy.

You’ve probably noticed your social media news feeds becoming increasingly populated by live streams of events, stunts, debates or interactive Q&A sessions, as online marketers continue to incorporate the “shiny” new tool that is live video into their strategies.

Video has long been a valuable communications tool, packing all the information and messaging you need into one bite-sized, easily digestible and engaging chunk.

It promotes brand recall, can boost your site’s SEO and helps to tell a brand story. What’s more, nowadays with increased data, faster load times on mobile, and the introduction of Facebook and Instagram auto play, it’s easier than ever to view and share videos via your social network.

According to HubSpot, brands incorporating video into their marketing strategies are yielding excellent results. Embedding video content on landing pages can increase brand conversion rate by 80 per cent, while including a video in direct marketing campaigns can boost click through rates by a massive 200-300 per cent.

More people are watching videos online than ever before and, according to Cisco’s Visual Networking Index, video will account for 82 per cent of all internet traffic by 2020.

With all of this considered, the rise of live video was inevitable.

What exactly is live?

Live refers to online broadcasts happening in real time.

It gives the audience an opportunity to interact with the user, by liking and commenting as the broadcast is happening, therefore allowing people and organisations to create content that is relevant and engaging. It’s a trend that has increased significantly during the last few years, thanks to investments in live video technology by social platforms.

You could say the rise of live video started when SnapChat burst onto the scene in 2011. The app allows users to share 10 second videos or images with their networks, which disappear after they have been viewed. By its very nature, SnapChat is as live and ‘in the moment’ as it gets. Although the platform has evolved to allow users to post pre-recorded videos, it still remains predominantly live.

According to Bloomberg, as of April 2016, SnapChat generates 10 billion video views per day, in comparison to Facebook’s 8 billion. That’s made all the more impressive when you consider that SnapChat has only 60 million daily users when compared to Facebook’s 1.18 billion.

Twitter also threw its support behind the rise of live video, with its acquisition of Periscope in 2015. Similar to SnapChat, Periscope is a mobile app that enables users to share and view live video broadcasts for up to 24 hours. DigiDay reports the app was downloaded 10 million times in less than six months.

2016 also saw both Facebook and Instagram dive into the phenomenon, introducing live video features that allow brands to communicate in this way with their already established audiences.

Live as part of your communications strategy

Going live adds a human element to your digital communications, opening up a conversation and creating positive interactions with communities. Using the feature with an already established audience will allow your brand to communicate in a different and more interactive way.

Fundamentally, it’s important to create content that your viewers want to see. Often brands create live Q&A videos, allowing their customers to contribute directly.

An example is San Francisco-based makeup brand Benefit Cosmetics. It understood that many of its customers simply can’t find the time to travel to in-store demonstrations, so utilised Periscope to host live Q&A sessions, as well as makeup tutorials.

Preparing for instant feedback is important.

According to Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook users watch live videos for three times as long and comment 10 times more than with a pre-recorded video. Facebook has also changed its algorithm to rank live video higher in the news feed, increasing its visibility.

To mark Valentine’s Day 2016, US brand Dunkin Donuts broadcast its first live video to 13.9 million followers. The video gave viewers a behind-the-scenes tour of the company’s test kitchen, including the making of a donut wedding cake. It also included a competition, inviting viewers to share their own Valentine’s Day stories, with the winner receiving $10,000 towards their wedding. Keeping the competition announcement until the end of the broadcast bumped its engagement to 39,000 views.

Later in April 2016, BuzzFeed, one of Facebook Live’s paid media partners, broadcast this video that saw two people placing rubber bands around a watermelon, one at a time, to see how long it would take before the watermelon exploded. Riveting stuff, right? Apparently so, when you consider the broadcast had 807,000 viewers on the edge of their seats!

The video became the very definition of viral, sparking conversations all over the internet, and even saw #Watermelon trending on Twitter. To date, almost a year later, the video has reached 11 million views, 320,000 comments and 17,998 shares. A simple, yet highly effective and engaging idea!

If used correctly, live video is a trend that can help a business break through the digital clutter with compelling and highly relevant content, and will no doubt continue to grow well into the future, so watch this space!


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