Ashley McHugh is a senior analyst and trainer at RedRover Sales & Marketing
Since Facebook Live launched in April of this year, live streaming events have become very popular. While competitor Periscope has been around since early 2015, Facebook has integrated live streaming directly into the timelines of 1.71 billion users, making these live videos more visible than ever.
So far, most brands have avoided these live video streams because of the obvious risks of a live broadcast. However, even Thomas Jefferson knew that with great risk comes great reward. How can your brand maximize the rewards--and minimize the risks--of this new digital marketing channel?
Many brands choose to experiment with live streaming when they're making a significant announcement, like Nissan, when they unveiled the new 2016 Maxima. General Motors was the first auto brand to use Facebook Live, when they rolled out the new Chevy Volt EV. Live streaming can be great for major events and milestones in your brand's development. If you're planning an event, you should consider live-streaming important moments.
Others have made live-streaming a feature of their influencer marketing campaigns, where they partner with key individuals who have influence over their target demographic. For example, Adidas live-streamed Real Madrid soccer star James Rodriguez signing an endorsement contract with the brand. They cross-promoted this moment on Twitter, with the hashtag #ThereWillBeHaters.
Brands are also using live-streaming video to deliver information about their services in a more conversational way. For example, credit bureau Experian uses live streaming to answer questions about credit scores and overcoming financial obstacles.
Live-streaming conversational interactions about your brand's products or services can also serve as a key piece of your content marketing campaign. Taking this approach to live streaming can help to position your brand as an approachable, responsive expert in your field.
Most of all, your brand should consider marketing with micro-moments through live-streaming channels. While BuzzFeed may be able to keep an audience mesmerized for hours on Facebook Live by putting rubber bands over a watermelon until it pops, it's better to keep your videos short and sweet. Use live streaming to broadcast micro-moments, and you'll minimize the risk that something might go wrong live on camera. If you have a longer message to share, consider separating your idea into several shorter bursts.
However, there are brands that make long-form live-streaming work, like General Electric. General Electric launched #DRONEWEEK in July 2015 on Periscope, with live footage of one of their drones flying from coast to coast across the United States. The concept was simple, and their live-stream took off once it was promoted on Twitter, where fans could interact with General Electric and the pilot of the drone in real time.
Live streaming is just one way that digital marketing has evolved, and the best brands are thriving out on the cutting edge.
Ashley McHugh can be reached at www.redrovercompany.com.