The rise of live video over the last year or so has given content marketers a powerful new weapon to add to their armory. To add to venerable email marketing, blogging, social media and static video content, marketing professionals can now add a format that brings a whole new set of benefits. Live video is urgent, interactive and exclusive. It’s also demanding. And while it’s effective by itself, it achieves its best results when used as part of an integrated marketing plan.
That plan should have four elements:
1. Audience Building
Hit the “live” button on Facebook, and your audience members will receive a notification telling them that someone they know is broadcasting. That’s even more powerful of an interruption than telemarketing — it’s a call from someone they know. But only a small share of the audience will be free to participate at that moment, and the larger the number of people who receive that notification, the bigger the actual audience will be.
The first part of a live video marketing plan then is audience building: Line up followers so that when you’re ready to broadcast, you’ll have people watching and participating. There are all sorts of techniques for rapid audience building on social media, but one of the most effective is the strategy followed by YouTube magician Julius Dein. Dein partnered with other pages to share content, forging agreements with larger pages as his own audience grew. He went from zero to 6.5 million followers within a year. Make that growth part of your live video marketing strategy.
2. Brand Definition
What you say on your live video broadcasts will be important, but how you say it will be equally as important. The live video broadcasts created by Benefit Cosmetics are informal, friendly and tongue-in-cheek. The videos produced by Sephora are still casual but they’re more controlled and polite. It’s more like a gathering of women who lunch. Both broadcasts closely match their company’s brands.
Before you start planning your live video content, you’ll need a good understanding of the nature of your brand: its colors, its voice, its appearance, its style. If you haven’t created those elements already, you’ll need to lay them out and make sure that your company’s design matches the branding. And if you have defined your brand, you’ll need to ensure that your live video presenter, the background that appears behind him or her, and their choice of words all match exactly how your business presents itself.
Live video marketing is an extension of brand marketing. If it fails to extend the brand, it will fail to come across as authentic.
3. Relationship Building
No other content format can match the interaction between brand and audience than live video can build. It happens in real time and audience members actually get to hear their name spoken from the brand they admire.
That interaction is at its strongest when the audience member doesn’t feel as though they were picked out of a crowd but that they’re part of a community. The name-checking and question-answering that can take place in a live video should follow consistent and regular responses in comments so that audiences are accustomed to seeing each other. Social media provides an opportunity to bring the followers of a brand together, and they give the brand an opportunity to introduce those fans to each other. By the time your brand is welcoming people by name on a live video, the other audience members should be excited about seeing someone who feels like an old friend.
The marketing plan into which you’re introducing live video needs to include personalized interactions, whether that’s through comments on social media, carefully targeted emails sent to segmented lists, retargeted advertising or a combination of all of those tools. To make the most of live video’s interaction benefits, make sure that those measures are in place and active before you start naming viewers on live videos.
4. Calls To Action
The benefits of social media content are often described in vague terms like “branding” and “marketing.” It’s only when you start making use of Facebook’s advertising platform that you begin picking up stats that you can use to measure ROI and trace sales directly back to campaigns. The call to action that lets you turn interest and engagement into sign-ups and sales tends to take place in the right column or in the special offers pushed into sponsored posts.
Calls to action can still be present in ads, posts and personalized emails but live video adds another outlet. A marketing campaign can continue to build trust, loyalty and engagement but it can now monetize that content with one more way for audiences to buy products. Israeli cosmetics seller Sharoomba was able to increase sales by 86% by telling her Facebook audience when she would be broadcasting a live video, then integrating limited-time sales offers into that broadcast. She even used her regular social media posts to ask her customers what products they’d like to see promoted.
Live video is powerful, but like any form of content marketing, it works best not as standalone content but when it’s worked into a broad campaign that guides audiences through the sales funnel. Prepare the ground by building your audience and preparing your brand, then use live video to give that audience another way to buy.