After the relative successes of Periscope and Meerkat, Facebook decided it was going to get in on the action of live video – with spectacular results. Already in the few months it has been available, millions of people have tuned in to watch an exploding watermelon, an interview with the President of the United States, & of course, the Chewbacca mask lady.
Broadcasting from a smartphone allows the audience to experience ‘in-the-moment’ content, which has the potential to be extremely engaging – which is demonstrated by the recent video from Candice Payne (aka the Chewbacca mask lady), an everyday woman who has achieved over 157 MILLION views to date on her 5 minute video.
Facebook has a massive advantage over Periscope & Meerkat just because of the raw size of the audience potentially available to Facebook Live users. However, the crucial difference is once a Facebook live broadcast has been completed, the video is posted to the user’s timeline and can continue to be viewed/shared, allowing users to continue to interact with the content.
The reality is that the videos don’t actually reach gigantic numbers of users while the video is live. Buzzfeed’s exploding watermelon had around 800,000 live viewers in total throughout its 45 minute broadcast, however, since then the video has amassed over 10 million views.
It is because these videos are so engaging and give their audience amazing insight into how people react ‘in-the-moment’, while being available to view after completion that makes them so successful and likely to ‘go viral’. Just check out this video of two people stroking a pillow for an example of how nuts this can be!
This video has reached almost 36 million views… Who knew people could get so excited about pillows?
So, what does this mean for brands?
The live video format is a potential goldmine for brands looking to engage their audience in an exciting, low cost way.
Sometimes it can be as simple as being quick to react to user content.
Kohls got extremely lucky with Candice Payne’s Chewbacca mask success, but they didn’t let the opportunity pass them by.
They sent the Texan mum and her family a bunch of goodies – all via another Facebook live video that picked up another 30 million views. This has meant Kohls has earned a massive amount of positive media coverage without spending a cent.
How do brands get in on the action?
The potential of using influencers to endorse products is huge, but brands shouldn’t be afraid to explore other avenues including; exclusive behind the scenes content such as Q&A interviews with charismatic senior executives/quirky employees, How To videos, & product demo’s.
They key is not just using live video because it’s there, use it wisely. To be successful, each video needs to have a clear objective or purpose that you want to achieve.
Brands also should approach live video like you are throwing a party – you want it to be spontaneous, authentic & fun, but you have to do some preparation beforehand to make sure it all goes smoothly during the event.
A common pitfall for branded live videos has been the temptation to talk at your audience. The whole idea behind live videos is the inclusiveness/ back-and-forth between the producer and consumer.
Pay attention to & acknowledge new viewers arriving and comments coming in. Make sure that you take some time to respond to questions and be prepared to go back and quickly revisit important points/highlights of your message for people joining midway through. Make sure to encourage your viewers to hit the subscribe button so they don’t miss any of your videos!
Finally, timing is crucial. Be mindful of where most of your target audience lives to ensure you select the right time zone to reach the largest possible segment. The time of day also matters, as people consume different media at different times throughout the day. Also be aware of major holidays or big events that can act as a catalyst for a video.