Live video might be a new way for entrepreneurs to build their businesses, but it’s already becoming the most important marketing opportunity since the launch of Facebook. No other channel provides the same mixture of urgency and interaction. But it’s got to be done right. Here are ten ways to get the most out of live video.
1. Go outdoors.
It’s tempting for business owners to prop up their phones in their offices and talk directly to their audiences… but those addresses don’t make for the most interesting content. When digital marketing expert Ryan Steinolfson broadcast himself kite-surfing with a GoPro, his video picked up between 20 and 40 times more engagement than his regular broadcasts. “2017 will be the year for action sports in live video,” he says.
Even if you’re not a surfer, take the app with you for a walk, a bike ride or on a boat trip… and bring your audiences with you.
2. Film behind the scenes.
DVDs have shown us what people want to see. They want to be taken behind the scenes of the brands they love. They want to see how their products were made and they want to feel that they’re part of the team. “Give your audience an exclusive look at your offices and let them meet the people who create what they buy,” recommends Joel Comm, author of The Live Playbook a live video expert who has been using the format since the early days of Ustream. “Make them a part of your corporate family.”
3. Go back and check the comments.
Only Facebook Live on desktops allows broadcasters to answer comments as they’re written; when you’re using your phone, your thumbs will get in the way of the lens. So answer questions vocally as they come in and when the broadcast is over, go back over the comments and answer any questions left unanswered.
4. Welcome people by name.
Start properly. Live video lets you see who’s joining the audience as they walk through the door. You can’t say hello to everyone but everyone you do name-check will feel special. Manners matter on live video, and this is a simple way to build a bond with your audience members.
5. Go long.
A quick, spontaneous chat with a small audience can be valuable but when you want to build as large an audience as possible, you’ll need to allow time for word (and shares) to spread. “The lessons we learned are that half an hour to an hour is best for timings,” Grazia editor Natasha Pearlman told Digiday after her magazine decamped to Facebook’s London offices to broadcast a week of live content and editorial meetings. That timing allowed the company to reach as many as 900,000 people with a broadcast.
6. Check your stats.
Currently only Facebook is providing stats for live video, but they’re detailed and they’ll show you exactly what audiences find most interesting. Use them to train yourself with live video and create broadcasts that always win engagement.
7. Prepare your audience.
Facebook is said to be experimenting with scheduling and waiting rooms for audiences but even when they roll out, it will still be up to you to tell audiences where and when you’ll be broadcasting, and what you’ll be showing them. Trail your videos and make sure the audience is there when you hit the broadcast button.
8. Give your audience control.
Live video’s big benefit is interaction: audiences can take part in the broadcast. Give them as much control as you can. Prankster Julius Dein has asked his audience live which pranks he should play on passers-by. They told him to dance with a stranger, hold someone’s hand and hug a stranger… and gave him as many as 2,000 views in the middle of a workday. “I think it’s awesome to be able to connect like that on a personal level,” he says.
9. Build your follows.
As soon as you hit that broadcast button, your followers can receive a notification telling them that you’re live. That’s as hard to miss as a telemarketing call in the middle of dinner… but much less annoying. The more follows you can build, the more people will receive that notification. A long follower list has never been more important.
10. Do it often!
You can now go live on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Each platform is slightly different, and each will give you a different audience. Play. Try different broadcasts at different times and in different ways. The more often you go live, the more you’ll learn about engagement and the better your broadcasts will become.