9 Ways Your Brand Can Use Live Video

Live video is gaining traction among brands. Both B2B and B2C companies are deploying video on Facebook Live, Snapchat, YouTube’s 360-degree live stream, and Periscope to create exclusive content for their audiences. At the same time, they’re boosting sales of their products in stores and online when they get people to tune in.

Snapchat, which has 100 million daily active users, boasts eight billion daily video views. Its live feature was launched in 2014, and this past February, the company debuted a live web player showing behind-the-scenes footage from the Oscars.

Periscope was acquired by Twitter in January 2015 and officially launched two months later. By September, it had 10 million downloads and 1.85 million daily active users.

Facebook Live became available for its 1.04 billion active daily users and brands at the end of 2015. The most popular video on the platform so far is a live broadcast by BuzzFeed in which they tried to explode a watermelon. A staggering 800,000 people tuned in.

On April 18, YouTube unveiled its 360-degree live streaming service.

It’s no surprise that companies are jumping onto the live video trend because online video is growing. According to HubSpot, in 2015, online video made up 50 percent of mobile traffic, and currently, 93 percent of marketers are using video for communication, sales, and online marketing. When it comes to live video, 44 percent of brands have used it, and 20 percent plan to, according to a poll from Brandlive.

If you’d like to take advantage of this blossoming medium, here are ideas for the kinds of videos you can create.

1. Produce a funny video

A live video, like all pieces of content marketing, may not have a direct effect on your bottom line. However, it can increase brand awareness.

Consider coming out with a humorous live video that will capture the attention of those in and outside of your audience. They may not have made a sale from their watermelon exploding video, but BuzzFeed did show that it has the power to draw in a large audience, even when doing something silly. This surely proved its worth to advertisers.

2. Teach a skill

Tastemade, a publisher of digital food and travel content, is doing 100 live shows per month on Facebook Live, according to Digiday. Shows include tutorials on the art of latte making, which had 125k to 140k viewers watching, and one in which a real dish was cooked in a tiny kitchen. The latter garnered about a million live views.

Your company does one thing very well. Whether it’s making clothes, coding software, or selling specialty fishing equipment, you have a niche skill to teach your audience. Show off your talents in a live video, and your customers will tune in to learn how to become great at that skill as well.

3. Hold a seminar about your industry

Instead of focusing on teaching a specific ability, have your CEO talk about what trends are going on in your industry. Break news about your niche within your live videos and comment on what’s trending that day or week. Touch upon how the changes will affect your customers so that they’re involved in the news. By showing that you’re there when developments occur, you’re establishing yourself as an influencer.

4. Host exclusive interviews with leaders

Last July, GE started #DRONEWEEK, an event that the company held on Periscope. They took live video of a drone flying coast-to-coast and broadcasted the footage on the streaming platform. To build anticipation for the launch, GE did pre-interviews on Periscope showcasing YouTube personality and GE Creator-in-Residence Sally Le Page chatting with scientists Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye.

When you collaborate with leaders, it demonstrates that you’re a leader in your field. As a bonus, people are going to tune in because they’re following these influencers on their native platforms. You’ll increase your viewership and give your audience fantastic content to share with their friends.

5. Give a behind the scenes glimpse of your company

In a live video by NBC Los Angeles co-anchor Adrian Arambulo, he took viewers on a tour at the studio where all the action occurs. He answered questions and replied to comments while walking around the areas not usually seen on television.

The way you manufacture your products, the people who work at your company, as well as what goes on in your office or factory—it’s all exciting for your viewers. If you show them who you really are and the effort it takes to make your products, they will appreciate your company more. Often, companies are faceless; this will add a human touch that will endear customers to your business.

6. Test out your products

Every Friday for one month, Land Rover hosted live video on Facebook Live and Periscope to show how their vehicles performed on various terrains. Viewers participated by asking questions about the model in the video, via the hashtag LiveTestDrive.

Live platforms are a perfect place to show how your products work. Your video can be exciting like Land Rover or GE’s, or more informative and instructional. You can demonstrate innovative ways of using your products and impress.

7. Broadcast product launches

When you announce a new product, it’s exhilarating. To get customers involved in this anticipation, do live shows when your product has officially been released. That’s what boat manufacturer MasterCraft did when it put out its new models. They hosted a real-time Q&A feed that got dedicated customers involved.

Make sure you’re there to answer any questions when you put out your own launch. You may even want to offer discounts to viewers who tune in.

8. Run a giveaway

In 2015, Doritos ruled Periscope. Aside from running a 12-hour stream in which they blew up various items with cannons, they also hosted a live giveaway called Doritos Roulette. Viewers could “spin” a wheel and win prizes from the brand.

Want to show your customers that you appreciate them? Hold a live giveaway in which you combine product placement with fun. People will be more likely to tune into your broadcast if they know they could win schwag from it.

9. Do an influencer take-over

Sour Patch Kids sponsored a live stream on Snapchat for the 2015 Teen Choice Awards. They hired Jake Paul, a Vine star with 5 million followers, to run the live stream from the red carpet. He showed off the product, cracked some jokes, and interviewed celebrities, asking them to act like Sour Patch Kids.

When you let influencers hijack your live feed, you’re tapping into their audience and giving the influencers the power to create unique content. If they endorse your brand, it’s going to solidify your own status as a leader in your niche.

Tips for broadcasting live

Your live video should exist beyond your initial broadcast. You can expand your content offerings before, during, and after your video airs. For example, you could:

  • Invite users to participate on Facebook and Twitter with hashtags.
  • Take clips from your show and post them to Facebook and YouTube.
  • Record the entire show and post it online.
  • Create memes based off what you talked about in your video.
  • Transcribe the experience and post it on your blog.

To augment your chances of making a sale, gaining a follower, or enlisting a subscriber, include call-to-actions throughout your live feed and as you wind down. Your Twitter handle and/or website address may be apparent on your video the whole time, but at the end, point users to check out what you’re selling.

Now is the time to jump into the world of live video. It’s in its beginnings, meaning that you can be on the cutting edge of this emerging form of content marketing.