2017 was the year for live video, with PR Newswire expecting the live video streaming market to grow to more than $70 billion by 2021. Communication professionals have begun using the tool to reach audiences in a way they were previously unable to. There are a few things to keep in mind when using live video in communication, however:
1) Timing is everything
More so than social posts, press releases or anything else, timing really matters when it comes to live video streaming. There's no point putting all your effort into making a really awesome live video stream, only to find out that you started it at a time when no-one is watching.
Use analytics tools to find out when your target audience is most likely to be online. If your audience are mainly students, for example, it won't matter if you set up the video for daytime, while if you want to reach working professionals, you'll want to ensure your video broadcasts in the evenings when they're not in the office.
Long before the live stream itself, you should raise awareness so your audience knows what time to be online. Entice them with teasers that show what you might be planning for the content or what they might gain (if there are there prizes up for grabs, for example). You can also create notifications on the social media platform you're using so your followers know that you've started a live stream.
You also need to ensure you're responding to comments as they come in as well. Taking the normal approach to engagement – thinking leaving it a few hours to respond to comments won't matter too much – simply won't work for live videos. Responses need to be as quick as possible – there's no point replying to your audience after the video is over.
2) Keep it exclusive
The number one question you need to ask yourself when planning a live video campaign is – does it have to be live? If it would work just as well on-demand, you've missed the point. Why would your audience want to view the piece of content live? For example, is it the unveiling of a long-awaited piece of information? Will the audience win anything if they comment or engage with the video in real-time?
Game of Thrones used live streaming back in March to reveal the start date for series seven. Playing on the title of the books (A Song of Ice and Fire), they put the start date in a block of ice. Every time a fan commented with "fire", a blowtorch would be applied to the ice, which slowly melted to reveal the start date. This sort of exclusive, interactive content is the type of thing live streaming is great for.
3) Engage your audience
The Game of Thrones stunt worked so well because it ran off audience engagement. Getting your target market to comment or react to your live video is key to making it successful – engaging with the video will leave a much more lasting impression in their minds than simply watching it.
Running competitions is a great way to increase engagement – sending freebies or inviting top commentors to an exclusive event, for example, will encourage your audience to watch the video in the first place, as well as leave more of a lasting impression.
Live video streaming is just one trend making its mark in communication. Visit our Insights page to find out more.