June 1, 2017 (Updated: May 4, 2023)
As an engaged brand, your business already knows the benefits of developing a strong social media plan as part of a robust content marketing strategy. Few social platforms remain static for long, though, so staying on top of the latest platform updates and adopting the newest social features can give your business an edge.
Three major social platforms now offer a live streaming option, which is a feature that could enable your business to offer even more value while staying ahead of competitors. Find out why your brand should take advantage of live streaming options and learn how to optimize your brand’s live social media strategy.
Image via Flickr by European Parliament
Though it wasn’t the first social platform to go live, Facebook is one of the most popular and impactful channels to offer streaming options. Video is already one of the best ways to generate engagement and increase your brand’s social reach, and live video gives brands an avenue to offer even more video-centric appeal. Using Facebook Live also offers immediacy, which offers a new level of appeal to followers who want to make a deeper connection with your brand or live through your brand vicariously.
While viewers thrive on immediacy, remember that your team may not be camera-ready just yet. Even if you’re enthusiastic about getting started with live streaming, try to resist the temptation to go live without developing a coherent strategy or agreeing on a style guide first. After all, you want your Facebook Live presence to represent a real-time extension of your brand, which may require some effort to translate from text and images to live video.
Along with video streaming, keep in mind that Facebook Live allows viewers to react and engage with your content in real time. This offers your brand a great opportunity to interact with followers and add even more personality to your content marketing strategy. However, instant feedback can backfire if you aren’t prepared for it. Make sure your team has a plan in place for responding to comments, addressing negative feedback, and reaching out to followers.
Want to launch Facebook Live but aren’t sure how to use it to your brand’s advantage? Try a question and answer session or an ask me anything (AMA) feature to give followers an exclusive glimpse of your brand. Brainstorm some potential questions and answers beforehand to make sure you’re not caught off guard without an answer or blurting out a response that could reflect poorly.
Take the Q&A concept one step further with a behind-the-scenes look at what your brand does on a daily basis. It may seem mundane to you, but if your business produces exciting products, works with well-known celebrities, or hosts in-demand events, giving followers a peek behind the scenes could boost brand loyalty and enhance brand awareness.
As the newest major social platform to go live, Instagram Stories is a great platform for brands to connect with younger audiences. Content remains visible on Instagram for 24 hours, so promoting your content heavily during that limited time window will provide the best returns. Instagram recently began allowing users to save Stories, but they won’t remain on Instagram. Instead, you can share the saved Stories on your other social channels or on your blog.
In addition to providing the immediacy that followers crave, Stories appear at the top of your followers’ feeds, so you may have more success connecting with followers via Stories than you would via still images that can get lost in the social platform’s algorithm. Since your followers will receive notifications when you go live, Stories are also a great way to get attention quickly.
Use Instagram Stories for timely information, like breaking news or major announcements. Offer exclusive content, like a sneak peek at a brand-new product or details about an upcoming event.
When you’re broadcasting, do your best to stick to the schedule you’ve outlined, but leave yourself some breathing room to account for unexpected feedback or technical difficulties. By sticking to your plan, you can take the guesswork out of your presentation and focus on engaging with followers and expanding your reach instead.
One of the first social streaming options to debut, Periscope offers live video through Twitter. This app thrives on the authenticity that real-time video offers, which is an aspect that’s appealing for everything from lifestyle brands to retailers. Periscope also boasts plenty of multimedia appeal, as this platform reveals much more than just a still image or 140 characters of text.
Like other live social options, Periscope is most successful if you create a foolproof plan before you start streaming. In addition to developing a branding guide for live material, set goals so you can track whether your content is engaging your followers and meeting your objectives. This could include anything from generating a certain number of site visits and click-throughs to getting to a certain follower level.
Since Periscope content isn’t as permanent as Facebook Live video, you’ll also need to have a content distribution plan in place before starting your video. While you could consider this a drawback, most Periscope devotees look at this feature in a positive light. An effective promotion campaign with high conversion rates is key, and the elusive nature of the content can make it even more desirable for your followers.
To make the most of Periscope, use this platform for interactive videos that speak directly to your audience or content that encourages followers to participate. Periscope works best when your followers do some of the promotional work for you via retweets and replies, so consider hosting a giveaway or leading a Q&A session that answers followers’ most pressing questions. Connect with industry influencers to expand your reach and generate renewed interest in your brand.
If you haven’t taken the leap and started livestreaming yet, it isn’t too late to start. Rather than jumping in without a plan, however, make sure the pros outweigh the cons for your brand and follow this guide to optimize your live social strategy.
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