Livestreaming has been around for some time, but Periscope, Facebook Live, Instagram Live, Musical.ly's Live.ly and so on have put it in the forefront. This presents new challenges to brands. Here are a few points to consider.
The platform favors the doers.
When a platform introduces a new feature, it promotes it. For example, when Instagram debuted Stories, updates got placed at the top of everyone's home feed with bright pink rings around people's icons. With Instagram Live, livestreamers are pushed in front of everyone's Stories.
In the game of advertising and marketing where everyone is competing for peoples' attention, these platforms are helping those who jump onto their newest feature. The reason brands pay for advertising is to get in front of people, working with the platform can get them promoted virtually for free.
Users as well are naturally more curious to engage on the "new thing," and in this era where being authentic and "now" are becoming more important than ever, livestreaming seems to fit right in.
Going fast is less risky than trying to avoid risk.
Reading tons of case studies and how-to books, then carefully planning may be what many are accustomed to. After all, no one wants to take unnecessary risks. However, today's truth is that a brand that is not in front of their target user risks losing their attention to a competitor that is.
It's not just about being on a platform. Instagram, for example, is actually three attention streams in one - the original post feed, Stories and Live. The challenge then becomes this, can a brand learn to tell its story utilizing the streams better than its competitor? Those who can figure that out first and best decreases their risk, and figuring out what works for a brand is best done by trial and error.
The good news is that failing is a lot better than never trying.
Livestreaming is hard and won't come naturally for most. But regardless of what platform, users don't expect livestreams to be a high quality production every time. If a brand tries livestreaming, makes mistakes or it doesn't become a hit, people won't remember. The more a brand tries, the more they learn about what works for them and their audience specifically, therefore increasing their chances to win.
Whether or not brands should livestream is ultimately up to them. But think about it like this: It's not baseball, there's no three-strike rule. Trying 20 times and getting people talking once is far better than being a spectator going 0 for 0.
Need some ideas for livestreaming content? Here are a few:
- Show a company-related event: Parties, lectures and speeches, etc.
- Give a behind-the-scenes: Show how products are made, production processes, store set-up, etc.
- Introduce staff: Interview the new intern, showcase what a team is doing, etc.
- Q&A: Interact and answer questions from followers
- Sneak peak: Give viewers a peak at a new product or event
- Gift: Reward some viewers with a free product sample, give a few VIP status to an event, shout them out on the brand's next post, etc.