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Is “live video” in your content strategy?

live-streaming-meerkat-periscope

The live streaming phenomenon sprouted up at this year’s SXSW and doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. Users are unsure what type of content will attract an audience, and are resulting to live streaming anything from the contents of their fridge to their daily walks to work. While many brands are taking interest in Meerkat and Periscope, the two mobile apps are still in early stages of development and lack important tools for validating return on investment. Indeed, for early adopters of Meerkat and Periscope, this is a period of experimentation.

The truth is, people aren’t good at being spontaneously interesting. Unless you’re Taylor Swift or Tim Cook, chances are people don’t want to see the mundane ins-and-outs of daily life. And I think what’s working is celebrities who are live streaming a concert or a workout of a famous athlete. U2 has been very active on Meerkat. And I think they’ve seen those streams are generating traction. That said, I think there’s also a ton of boring, bad content on those platforms from general people and that’s because live is great if you have something worth showing live.

Why is this compelling?

It’s Authentic

The unscripted aspect of these mobile broadcasts lends a great deal of authenticity. The sense that users have an open-door direct connection to the person in front of the camera is very appealing and engaging. This type of audience connection enables a humanizing of the brand that text-based social communication lacks.   For brands seeking to reach younger demographic segments this is exactly the type of connection millennials demand. They don’t want slick produced content. The trend away from social platforms like Facebook among younger audiences is due to the lack of legitimate personal connection. Live mobile streaming removes the barrier to authentic communication.

It’s Real-Time

There is an ephemeral, in-the-moment aspect to mobile live streaming that people find very appealing. The information shared is exclusive to those lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. There is also an opportunity for brands to create a sense that their community will be missing out on if they aren’t a part of that moment as it’s happening. Brands have an opportunity to share innovations, breaking news, or a new product to the community that follows them on Periscope or Meerkat before the general public or the press. The opportunity to see the excitement on someone’s face and hear it in their voice is a very powerful emotional connection that can drive community buzz and brand evangelism Timing is crucial. If you go live in a moment that is disruptive to members of your community, or you interrupt their time too often, they will disconnect and distance themselves from your brand. If you consistently provide little value, entertainment, or engagement, you will create a negative brand impression with your live audience.

It’s Intimate

Live mobile streaming puts personal communication with your business on a device in the palm of users’ hands. When this is layered with the experience of seeing a face and hearing a voice, it becomes a very intimate and personal connection. Even in face-to-face interactions are not as intimate.    Because of this intimacy, your brand is given the opportunity to make a deep connection with your consumers. You must take this into consideration and respect the level of connection your audience grants to your brand.

A few good uses for Live Video

AMAs

AMA’s, or “Ask Me Anything”, sessions are becoming increasingly more popular with brands today. In addition to answering comments on the platform of your choice, create a livestream and include it in your description. Commenters will be able to see you reply to each question in real time, eliminating any doubt that you’re really the person behind the screen.    Added bonus? Data! Meerkat and Periscope both track details like how many people tuned in to your stream and where they’re streaming from.

Demos and Product Announcements

Brands have an opportunity to share innovations, breaking news, or a new product to the community that follows them on Periscope or Meerkat before the general public or the press. The opportunity to see the excitement on someone’s face and hear it in their voice is a very powerful emotional connection that can drive community buzz and brand evangelism. Sales and customer service teams can easily incorporate live video into their workflow. Are you interested in generating more leads? Stream a demo and have your content team share it on social media. Track the frequency of your stream- do you get more viewers by streaming weekly? Bi-weekly? Tailor your program to what works best for your team and product.    Product announcements can be treated similarly. Create a livestream to share news with your audience. Be sure to consider content and length of stream to get best use.

So Now What?

For now, it’s clear that a lot of brands see value in including livestream into their content strategy. In time, we’ll be able to access ROI, it’s longevity, and if daily users have gotten past streaming the inside of their fridge.    With these considerations in mind, now your marketing team can determine if – and when – live mobile streaming should be added to your brand’s social media marketing mix.

August 20, 2015

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