For many brands and marketers, video is becoming an increasingly important part of their overall digital marketing strategy, particularly when it comes to their social media efforts. And it’s not hard to see why.
We humans are visual beings, and these days we crave and expect video. According to a HubSpot infographic, one-third of all online activity is spent watching video. When used as a marketing tactic, compelling video content helps capture attention, encourages engagement and—in some cases—reaches a more prominent position in social media news feeds.
But quality video content is far more time consuming and costly to produce than other types of content, making it more difficult for marketers and brands with less manpower, time or budget to create video.
The solution? Live video.
As Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg reportedly said on his Facebook page:
“Live is like having a TV camera in your pocket. Anyone with a phone now has the power to broadcast to anyone in the world. … This is a big shift in how we communicate, and it’s going to create new opportunities for people to come together.”
The beauty of live video is that is more raw and honest than professionally produced video—which can help you attract, engage, entertain and build relationships with your target audience in a more authentic way.
With that said, below I offer nine ideas for using live video in your social media marketing efforts, as well as a few examples of companies in action.
#1 – Share what’s happening at a live event.
A live event provides the perfect backdrop for live video on social media. Not only do events give you plenty of interesting content to share, but it’s also a great way to bring your audience along for the ride and make them feel like they’re there, too.
When the Chicago Cubs won their first World Series since 1908 this fall, BuzzFeed offered a live video stream of the massive crowd that had gathered outside of Wrigley Field to celebrate the victory.
#2 – Tease a new or in-the-works product/service.
Want to create some buzz about a new product that’s in the works or about to roll out? Live video can be a great way to get the word out about what’s to come.
Before launching your live video session, tease the announcement you’re about to make so people know when they need to tune in for your live event.
#3 – Do a live reveal of a new product or special promotion.
People love feeling like they’ve gotten the exclusive on something, so using live video to give people the first look at a new product or service is a great way to get them excited and talking.
In my opinion, this tactic is working incredibly well for many independent sales consultants for brands such as Herbalife, LulaRoe, Scentsy and LipSense. Like any business, these consultants want to attract new customers as well as retain their existing base, so giving their audience an exclusive look at new products through video is a great way to keep interest piqued.
You likely know at least one or two of your social media acquaintances that are in this type of business. Check out some of their live videos to get a feel for what they’re doing and the type of engagement they’re getting to get a little inspiration.
Again, as mentioned above, get people excited about the live video event before it happens by teasing it on social media beforehand.
#4 – Offer a look behind-the-scenes.
Another great way to engage, entertain and draw your audience in is to offer them a glimpse behind the curtain of your product or company, where company outsiders don’t typically get to go.
Before getting started, brainstorm some possible concepts for where you would take people and why they would care to see it. After all, you want to get eyeballs on your video, so you want to make sure you’re showing something worth watching.
Here’s a great example from Dunkin’ Donuts. National Donut Day was June 3 this year and Dunkin’ Donuts gave their audience a glimpse inside their “top-secret” test kitchen in honor of the holiday.
#5 – Hold a contest or campaign.
Social media contests and campaigns are great ways to drive awareness, engagement and action from your audience—and adding a live video element can add some visual flair to the contest.
Use live video throughout your contest or campaign to encourage people to participate by highlighting some of the submissions you’ve already received. When you’re getting close to the submission deadline, use live video to create more urgency to get those last participants in. Once the contest is over, announce the winners live.
#6 – Hold a Q&A session.
One of the best ways to get to know your audience better, as well as form stronger relationships with them, is to have meaningful conversations with them. Holding a live Q&A session can be a great way to do just that.
My suggestion would be to pick a topic your audience cares about and prepare answers to a couple commonly asked questions. Open the video by addressing a couple of those, then start taking questions from those who have tuned in.
Benefit Cosmetics is regularly using Facebook Live to highlight its products, offer beauty tips and tricks, and answer audience questions. The video below was part of their “Tipsy Tricks” video feature, where hosts sip cocktails while offering advice and answering questions.
#7 – Conduct interviews with industry thought leaders.
Including industry thought leaders and influencers in your digital marketing efforts is a fantastic way to lend credibility and authority to your brand, as well as reach new audiences. Take the content you create with industry influencers to a different level by conducting a live video interview.
If you go this route, make sure you have a strong relationship and rapport with the thought leaders you include. You want to make sure that personal connection translates into the video. Also, take a couple practice runs through your questions before going live. This will get both of you comfortable with what’s about to happen.
#8 – Give a how-to presentation or product demo.
How-to and demonstration videos seem to be King in the social media landscape. While most of what you see these days are produced videos, live video can be great because it shows viewers exactly how to do something or how something works in real-time.
Here’s a great example from IBM. In this video, IBMer Ryan Anderson opens up his home lab to show how tech can be used to “build and hack” things together.
#9 – Profile your employees.
Your team is representative of what your company is all about—and an employee profile using live video can be a great way to further humanize your brand.
Profile new or longtime employees to show your audience who’s working behind the scenes to deliver a great product or service. My advice would be to keep it light and entertaining, not going too heavy on the “I love working here because …” stuff. The whole point is to show people you have rock solid, well-rounded people working for you.
Some Helpful Resources
If you’re looking for more insights on creating live video, check out some of these other blog posts:
- Going Native: Tips & Examples for Effectively Incorporating Native Video Into Your Social Strategy
- What Social Media Marketers Need to Know About Facebook Live
- 6 Ways to Use Video to Add More Value to Your Digital Marketing Strategy
How do you use live video on social media? What’s worked best for you? Tell us in the comments section below.