How Live Streams Are Forever Changing Social Media Marketing

by Amanda Hyer December 19, 2015
December 19, 2015

The world of social media marketing used to be so blissfully simple. You posted a picture, watched your engagement grow, and reaped the rewards of your digital efforts.

Raise your hand if you’re an experienced social media marketer and immediately called BS on the above sentence. It’s easy to reminisce about past marketing ages, even if in this case, that age happened only a few years ago. While social media marketing may have since become much more complex, it also offers a myriad of new opportunities to track success and highlight your brand.

Speaking of new social media technologies that are forever changing your brand: it’s time to consider live streaming options as one. With a relatively easy set up to go along with immense potential success, new live streaming services could be the key your business needs to enter (and sustain) the digital conversation among your audience.

Social Media Live Streaming Explained

Live streaming video, of course, has been around for years now. But until this year, services like UStream and Justin.TV fell short in that they did not offer any type of social media integration. You should stream your events live on the internet, but all you could offer your followers was a lifeless link in their news feeds.

Of course, much of that changed in 2015. In February, the iPhone app Meerkat launched at SXSW, promising to deliver live video feeds to your Twitter Followers. Following immense immediate success, Twitter realized the untapped potential of social media live streams, and released its own alternative – Periscope in late March.

Meanwhile, the world’s largest social media network finally got in on the action when Facebook released its own live streaming functionality this August. Unfortunately, that feature came with a caveat: while Meerkat and Periscope are both available to the general public, only celebrities can stream their videos live on Facebook.

The Success of Social Media Live Streams

2015 was the first year in which social media live streams became a thing, so it’s still early in evaluating early returns from brands integrating the feature into their social media marketing strategy. But these early returns are incredibly promising:

In other words, live streams are carving out a niche even early in their adoption process, suggesting the promise of this new technology as it moves more into the realm of general, “every day” users.

Integrating Live Streams into Your Social Media Marketing

If you’ve read our posts before, you know that we’re big fans of jumping onto a new, promising feature or technology while the market is not yet saturated. Doing so allows you to become known as forward-thinking by your audience, while also operating in a realm that is not yet drowning in noise from your competitors.

And especially with a new technology that is as promising and has as much potential to change the way we view social media marketing as live streaming, why not jump in and utilize it to advance your brand? Social Media Examiner recently posted 6 ways to use live streaming video on social media to benefit your business:

  1. Share Live Events. This is perhaps the most obvious use of social media live streaming: allow members of your audience who can’t join you in person to still take part of an important company event. Whether you hold an awards banquet or moderate a panel at a popular conference within your industry, live streaming the event can increase the impact of your efforts beyond your physical attendees.
  2. Host Interviews. Interviews are a great way for your audience to get to know members of your company, and even other customers – but too often, the recorded versions seem stilted and over produced. Instead, live stream spontaneous interviews, which will make your brand seem more relatable and personable.
  3. Showcase Products. Whether you produce products or provide services, why not show your audience exactly what it is that your products/services do? A quick, live presentation may carry a small risk (you wouldn’t want anything to go wrong, after all), but also brings the significant benefit of authentically showing the benefits of your product to your customers.
  4. Go Behind the Scenes. A behind the scenes look is popular for many social media marketers who already use video extensively, but again – it simply becomes more authentic if you do so live, without an obvious script. Instead of seeming like you only want to show your audience certain aspects behind the scenes, your brand’s transparency and credibility greatly increases.
  5. Conduct Training. Of course, you can also use live streaming for internal communication, helping your own employees understand and perform their job better. Used another way, trainings can also help your customers get more familiar with your products after the purchase.
  6. Host Q&A Sessions. The benefits are obvious; Q&A sessions allow you to interact directly with your audience to communicate your brand and answer any questions they might have.

Of course, none of these types of video are exclusive to live streaming. In fact, many marketers we know already use them as recorded versions in their social media marketing strategy! But by turning them into live streaming events, you significantly increase the authenticity and credibility of your brand.

And that’s how live streaming is forever changing social media marketing. In an age where your audience trusts your brand less than they have ever done before, and increasingly expects an honest two-way conversation to become a customer, social media live streams offer you the opportunity to increase the reach and credibility of your brand.

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