If you weren’t already convinced that live streaming video is here to stay than last week’s Vimeo announcement as well as this recent piece about Amazon’s live video ambitions likely signalled to you and your clients that it’s not going anywhere. There’s no need to panic if you’re still unsure how to incorporate it into your larger video marketing efforts because in this post we will lay out everything you need to consider to get started.
Live video – which is available (and oftentimes preferred, giving it a much larger reach) on several platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and YouTube – is just what it sounds like: Video that allows the creator to broadcast in real time to online viewers. It is essentially online live television that any brand has access to that also offers the audience an opportunity to participate and influence the content they’re viewing.
While that lack of complete control may cause hesitation, it’s this “drawback” that brands like Starbucks (which heavily incorporates live video into its online marketing) understand actually makes live video such a powerful way to connect with an online audience. Loosening the reins just a bit adds more transparency and personality to your brand which most people appreciate. It also creates opportunities for you to listen, learn and respond to the concerns and questions of your audience.
With all of this talk about live video’s ease of accessibility for brands and built-in responsiveness, it may seem that planning is not warranted (or even possible) and that you can get by with a “fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants” approach but that couldn’t be more untrue. While live video should make your audience feel like they’re simply part of a conversation with you, you should always go in with a plan.
Getting Started with Live Video
Consistency is key so your live video strategy should begin with a schedule. Choose a day and a time to do a regular live video each week then stick with it; your audience will learn to rely on your schedule.
Even if you’re gung-ho about live video and want to do more than one regular live video per week, we recommend that you start with a weekly commitment for your regular show because it can be challenging to keep up with more than that (especially when you’re just getting started). Conversely, doing less than one regular live video per week will make it harder for your audience to remember your schedule. Once per week is the sweet spot when you’re getting started with a regular live video schedule. Besides, you can always sprinkle in additional one-off live videos throughout the week.
During Your Live Video
The next step in your live video strategy is creating structure for your regular live videos. Again, while your live video audience should feel like they’re simply part of a conversation with you and other viewers, they’re still relying on you to keep the live video running smoothly and in an organized fashion.
While you may be comfortable in front of the camera generally speaking, live video is different in that it requires you to keep up with several things at once. For example, people may be joining the video, leaving it, posing questions, and leaving (positive and negative) comments while you’re speaking. It can be a little overwhelming and we recommend you use the following this blueprint to format your show:
- Grabber: Offer a one to two sentence teaser of what you plan to cover in that day’s live video and approximately how long you’ll be be live.
- Introduction: Tell viewers your name, title, and maybe a sentence about what you do.
- Warm-Up: Ask viewers a question related to that day’s topic to encourage engagement. This helps increase your live video’s visibility and can provide you with insight about who you’re speaking to.
- Value Presentation #1: Jump into your topic. Provide valuable information without hard selling them.
- Engagement #1: Because you don’t want to be simply talking at your viewers, make sure you take regular breaks to answer questions and address comments people are leaving in the comments below your video; use their names when you respond to personalize the experience. Keep a few frequently asked questions about your topic handy in case there aren’t any live questions or comments.
- Value Presentation #2: Jump back into your topic. Provide valuable information without hard selling them. You can also incorporate pre-recorded footage into your live video stream during your value presentations.
- Engagement #2: Again, answer questions and address comments people are leaving in the comments below your video (or share the additional frequently asked questions you have handy).
- (ETC.): Rinse & repeat until you’ve covered your topic. Try to keep each Value Presentation and Engagement time roughly equal to one another.
- Thank You & Call-to-Action: Always end your video on-time with a thank you and a call to action (CTA) for your viewers. Your CTA may be related to your product or service or it may be focused on audience-building. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as you have one! Also, it doesn’t hurt to remind them to join you next week at the same time and place.
This format can be tweaked a bit to work for question-and-answer sessions, how-to instructional videos, interviews, behind-the-scenes peeks, and product or service reveals.
Post Live Video
At the end of your broadcast, the video is added to your Facebook page. Depending on the questions and comments posed during the live video, you may want to update the video description. You can also change the privacy settings, add tags, and add a trackable link to your website or related videos in your video description.
Don’t just leave your videos to gather dust in your video collection, though! Plan to share the video in your email campaigns and to promote it on your other social media channels along with the schedule details of your future live videos. You should also create supporting content (ie social media posts, blog posts, and regular videos) based on the same or a related topic and refer (and link) back to the live video. One effective way to do this is to take a question you received during your live video broadcast and break it down in more detail; it shows you’re listening and reflecting on what people think about your brand, it provides great content opportunities for you, and it will also encourage people to continue engaging with your future live videos.
Live video, an integral part of any video marketing strategy, becomes a lot less intimidating when you break it down into its component parts and approach each one-by-one. Let us know if you have questions about the steps we’ve outlined here and how we can help you with your strategy!