With YouTube and Facebook leaping to join Twitter’s Periscope on the live streaming bandwagon, there’s never been a better time to rethink how you actively build your network on social media. For B2C companies, creating content that is aspirational, emotional and above all else entertaining is key – and live streaming can give you a fresh platform to achieve those goals.
Widespread smartphone technology and the development of untethered data exchange has made live streaming far more accessible than it was in the past, both for consumers and for brands. Bear in mind that while it may feel like live streaming represents a new era of instant in an era when we already had instant in the first place, it isn’t. The possibilities haven’t been stretched where marketing is concerned – rather made simpler and more achievable.
There’s nothing really new about live streaming
It sounds ridiculous to talk about something like live streaming – something that has been around for years, but the primary function for these features is as yet undetermined. Therefore, if live streaming wasn’t the driving force behind your digital marketing a year ago, it’s unlikely to be so now. Rather you should use it to compliment your current social media strategy – at least until such a time when its purpose becomes clearer.
Before you get started utilising live streaming apps and features on existing networks, there are one or two questions that need to be answered…
Who will be around to watch your content?
You need to get very detailed about your audience persona, and where live streaming is concerned. That means being realistic about who will watch your content. This kind of careful consideration will help you to define your live voice, the sort of content that you should be streaming and when you should be streaming. It’s no use to start a normal day at work if your audience aren’t at that point in a position where they are able to tune in.
Remember, work only really stops for one thing, and that’s a World Cup Final. Unless you have the budget to create your own football league, you are better off streaming at a time when your audience are around.
How are you going to make a story worth watching?
For social media users to consider engaging with a company’s video content it needs to offer them a significant amount of value. The days of peddling your wares on a megaphone are long gone. Social media storytelling transcends your business, your brand and sometimes even your products. Therefore you need to be realistic about whether what you are streaming is actually worth your audience’s time.
This calls for a considered approach towards analysing what you can realistically achieve. Remember that you are trying to compliment your current strategy, not completely overhaul it. There may be versions of video content that you’ve been successful with for ages that could benefit from being repackaged as live streams.
How will you promote your stream?
Working out which social network your audience is most engaged on will normally have the biggest impact on deciding which live streaming platform to use, but consider how you will connect and promote your stream across all networks. More importantly, define how you want your audience to talk about the stream in order to promote a wider conversation with your brand at the centre. This dialogue is what your brand will ultimately benefit from.
What is the ultimate aim of streaming?
What do you want to achieve from live streaming? Okay, it’s fairly obvious that building brand awareness will be way up there, but what sort of action do you want to spur your viewers into taking after you finish streaming? If it’s sales of a product then that product will need to be used in a favourable light during your stream, but bear in mind that social media users don’t deal well with sales pitches.
Live streaming gives users an instant snapshot into another world – that’s what makes live content so enticing to them. Quite often the brands that get the best results on digital marketing are the ones who take the time to actively evolve their communications systems with social networks. Make that success yours!