Facebook Live… Snapchat… Instagram Live Video; Live video has taken over social media. Streaming gives companies the opportunity to engage with their users in real-time, and personalization and connection are vital to any marketing strategy today. 65% of people have watched a live stream in the last year. Apart from physically being with your audience, live video is as personal as it gets.

You’re probably looking to incorporate live video into your social media strategy. What types of live video sessions can you use to attract users? What things must you do before launching your first live video? We’ve put together this step-by-step guide to set you on the path to success with your social live video campaigns.

1. Identify Your Video’s Purpose

Every marketing tactic in your arsenal needs to have a clear purpose and live video is no different. Ways you can leverage live video include:

  • Announcements: If your company has a noteworthy announcement (e.g. product launch), live stream to build buzz, see your viewers’ immediate reactions, and host a post-event Q&A session.
  • Behind-The-Scenes: Live video gives companies the chance to give their audiences a closer look into how they operate. Stores that specialize in artisanal foods or homemade products, for example, could live stream their employees at work.
  • Live Events: Offer your audiences a real-time look into events relevant to your company or industry. Local news sites could stream press conferences while music sites could stream shows they’re reviewing.
  • Teasers: If you are rolling out a big new campaign and want to drum up some interest, live video can be a great way to do that. Be sure to clearly state or show where people can find the final product that you’re teasing.

2. Choose Your Social Live Platforms

After identifying your videos purpose, you should identify where you will be streaming it. Knowing where your audience is on social media will help you to decide which platform to stream on, and when. There are some tools available that will let you stream to multiple streams, but be sure that every platform is one that your audience is likely to interact with.

Every social media platform uses video a little differently. We’ve broken them down into the following three categories:

  • Social Media Staples: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter’s live video feature can be used by anyone with an account. For companies new to live video, these platforms are a great place to start (after all, they may already be a part of your social media strategy).
  • Video Sharing Platforms: Snapchat and YouTube are built around social video sharing. SnapChat appeals to younger audiences (60 percent of SnapChat users are under 25). YouTube has a more general appeal, even attracting over 20 million unique monthly visitors over 65.
  • Live Video Exclusive: Periscope, Twitch, and Meerkat allow users to simply “go live” by streaming a feed from their camera or computer. Viewers can watch the stream, comment in real-time, and watch the video playback later. Though Periscope’s video volume dropped over 2016, it’s still a viable option if you’re targeting a younger demographic (ages 16-34).

3. Engage With Your Audience

As with any upcoming event or recently posted content, you need to promote your live stream! Promote through your social media accounts, newsletters, and website announcements. Schedule your event on your Facebook page so your fans receive notifications. One way to build hype around your live feed is to ask for user input beforehand. If you’re hosting a Q&A, ask for questions beforehand. Hold a poll and announce the results live.

Just because you’re trying out live video doesn’t mean you have to reinvent the wheel! Remember that social media marketing is all about user engagement. If someone leaves a comment, reply right away. Mention the user’s name in your live video when answering their question. After your live stream is complete, add the recorded video to your social media posting schedule.

Just because you’re trying out live video doesn’t mean you have to reinvent the wheel! Click To Tweet

Defining Success With Your Social Videos

It’s important to remember that what defines a “successful social video” will vary for every company. You may not have the brand power of Apple or Coca-Cola, but what if your live video attracted 10 leads, two of which became long-term customers?

Keep in mind that you should always include a call to action in any live video so you can reap the rewards of the streaming. Consider sweetening the pot by including a special offer that will encourage them to interact with your company further.

While live video may be in the marketing spotlight (albeit, for good reason), you need to set realistic expectations for what it can do for your company. Remember that live video is only one of many tactics to choose from. Finding the right mix for engaging with your audience and customers will vary for everyone. Where will live video fit with your strategy? We leave it up to you to find out.

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