There are two types of video I absolutely have to watch live, in real time – sports, and The Bachelor. Call me old fashioned, but some things are just best enjoyed in the moment. When I’m watching football, I want to know I’m reacting to that missed catch or insane interception at the exact same time as are other fans around the world. And as for The Bachelor, I just really, really hate spoilers.
But sports and reality TV aren’t the only types of video I love watching live. In fact, I’ve caught myself glued to live videos on social media without even knowing it.
Benefits of Live Video for Brands
Live video, more than anything, lets a (somewhat) captive audience get in on the action and become a part of what they’re watching. And even better, live video on social media actually lets posters and small business owners like you see audience reactions as they share them.
It’s real time. It’s interactive. And it’s the newest, coolest communication medium out there.
And it can live on after the fact, or it can disappear into space. Whatever you think’s best.
3 Popular Social Media Platforms for Live Video
There are plenty of platforms to choose from when it comes to producing and sharing live video content. Let’s dive in.
1. Facebook Live
Facebook rules the social media playground. With nearly 2 billion active users, Facebook is arguably the best, most efficient medium for connecting people from all over the world with your business.
Facebook enthusiasts are open to consuming multiple different types on content as they scroll through the popular social media network’s news feed. From posts (status updates) that contain long strings of text to images, videos and ads of all sorts, Facebook users have a high tolerance for in-depth, interactive content. So your live videos should cater to this expectation.
How to use it: Use Facebook Live to share your detailed thoughts on hot topics, how-to videos that relate to your small business, and regular check-ins with your most loyal fans and followers. Facebook recommends live videos be 10-minutes or longer, so plan the topics in advance and make sure you have enough content to cover before you go live.
2. Twitter Live
With a slightly smaller audience than Facebook, Twitter averages about 328 million active users worldwide. In late 2016, Twitter incorporated Periscope functionality into its app, so Twitter users could share live video seamlessly with the Twitter-sphere.
Whereas Facebook Live caters to longer-form video content that can engage consumers for minutes at a time, Twitter users are more accustomed to short, quick, scrollable messages. One of the most popular business use cases is “Tweet chats” or quick back-and-forth conversations at conventions, during product launches or at other events.
How to use it: If you want to make live video work on Twitter, keep it short, sweet and to-the-point. Use hashtags and @ mentions to get viewers in on the action.
3. Instagram Stories
Many social media marketers lump Instagram and Snapchat into the same category of image-centered social media. And they are pretty similar.
The live video feature of Instagram, called Instagram Stories, mimics Snapchat’s “use it or lose it” functionality. Like Snapchat, any photos or videos you post to your Instagram story will be accessible for 24 hours, after which they’ll disappear from both your profile and your followers’ feeds.
How to use it: Instagram is for those who love eye-catching imagery and videos. So use it to share live-action videos of your team at work or any great pics you capture that will make your business seem relatable and trustworthy.
Small Business Tips for Producing Live Video
Though live video should feel off the cuff and spontaneous, avoid jumping right in without doing your homework.
Practice makes perfect.
Imagine how cringe-worthy it would be if your first attempt at live video were to flop. While not that many things can go wrong, a few things could – like using the wrong lighting, having poor audio quality, framing your video awkwardly, or setting incorrect privacy parameters.
Before you go live on any platform, do a test run. Your viewers aren’t expecting perfection, but they are expecting a video they can easily consume and interact with.
Promote your live video sessions.
Your followers will see live video after you’re done recording (the length of time afterward depending on your social media network of choice). But the real magic is when consumers are watching live along with you and can interact with you and your business!
You’ll increase your odds of interaction and engagement by promoting your live video sessions in advance. Share simple posts on your social media networks, and feel free to expand the “heads up” to your website and email marketing list.
If you really want to attract live viewers, consider promoting a giveaway or raffle at the end of your video. (Pro tip: To avoid legal implications, no one should have to make a purchase to enter your contests or giveaways.)
Be smart with your timing.
Aside from the length of your videos, how you time your posts is critical. Hopefully you’ll establish a social media marketing program before you decide to dive into the deep end with live video. Think about your posts and ads that perform best. Whichever posts get the most user engagement via likes and comments likely share a theme when it comes to their timing.
Watch these times closely, and try sharing your live videos during these same peak times.
Help your viewers act.
When it comes to social media marketing, engagement is a fine metric to measure. But your social media marketing should also encourage consumers to act.
Be sure to work a compelling call to action into your live videos. Some great call-to-action options:
- Visit your website.
- Book a consultation.
- Call you for a quote.
- Subscribe to your text and email marketing.
- Follow any of your other social media accounts.
Unsure how to incorporate calls to action into your videos or your social media accounts and website? Thryv can help. Learn more about our engagement buttons.