On New Year’s Eve, Mariah Carey put a face to marketers’ fears about live streaming. For the next several weeks, the internet was ablaze with predominantly negative headlines regarding the performance.
It’s safe to say Mariah’s brand took a major hit from this snafu—which only makes marketers feel more hesitant about leveraging platforms such as Facebook Live.
When it comes to live streaming, Murphy’s Law reigns supreme. Without careful planning and strategy, anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Live video requires marketers to surrender the complete control they’ve had over campaigns throughout history, and not surprisingly, corporate legal departments loathe to sign off on such endeavors.
Early studies indicate that only a narrow band of industries are currently channeling marketing efforts through Facebook Live. The vast majority of marketers continue to fear the unknown.
Face Your Fears
A perfect storm is brewing.
Modern consumers are cutting their cable cords with a barber’s enthusiasm, opting to instead receive information and entertainment through social media platforms. Facebook, in turn, is promoting its new “live” capabilities by placing videos at the top of users’ news feeds.
This makes Facebook Live a premier venue for brands to re-engage with consumers through video content, and the time to capitalize on this up-and-coming trend is now.
Here are three key ingredients that will ensure a successful foray into Facebook Live.
As of this writing, you can’t pay extra to “boost” a live stream. That means only consumers who currently follow your brand’s Facebook page will organically see it. The only way to include people outside of your immediate following is to have your stream travel from one user to the next via sharing or engagement.
This is where suspense can be your best friend. Like a television show or a newscast, it’s essential to provide frequent teasers throughout the broadcast that build up to a grand finale. The goal is to entice viewers to stick around to see how it all ends while telling their friends to come and do the same.
Buzzfeed created a masterful example that illustrates the power of suspense. In a live stream that earned nearly 1 million live viewers (and more than 11 million total), staffers took turns putting rubber bands around a watermelon until it exploded. It was such a simple concept, but viewers flocked to the stream and shared it like crazy. They wanted every single one of their friends to be there when the melon blew.
Free giveaways can also provide an element of sharability to live streams. For example, while broadcasting at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC told viewers they’d be eligible to win a prize if they shared the stream. As a result, the video garnered more than 600 shares, which far surpassed the brand’s typical amount of shares on Facebook videos.
Consumers are sick and tired of watching traditional ads for irrelevant products. This is one of the main reasons they’re cutting their cable cords, and brands absolutely must keep this in mind when broadcasting on Facebook Live. Being relevant means meeting the consumers where they are. Give the people what they want.
Try something similar to Tough Mudder’s approach. Rather than spending big bucks on a celebrity spokesperson, the brand created a character named Coach T. Mud, sent him to a Tough Mudder event, and broadcasted live as he led a group of participants through a fun workout. Coach Mud wasn’t trying to sell anything or convince viewers that Tough Mudder is the best brand in the universe. All he did was give some workout tips—and this is why the stream successfully grabbed the spotlight and earned nearly 50,000 views.
At the end of the day, going live on Facebook is quite easy: All you need to do is open the app on a smartphone and click the “Live” icon. However, if you take this bare-bones approach, you’re asking for Murphy’s Law to rear its ugly head. Between shaky hands, poor audio quality, and a wide variety of potential connectivity issues, a lot of things can go wrong.
It’s worth investing in a few upgrades that boost your production quality and keep the snafus at bay. If you are looking to stay within a limited budget and take a DIY route, consider renting some stage lighting, planning out a thoughtful set design, and even purchasing a nice camera and tripod. You can plug the camera into a computer and broadcast your crystal-clear image that way. Or consider a professional production company; for anywhere from $2,500 to $25,000, your live stream can feature multiple camera angles, high-gloss graphics, and the overall look of a television production.
Live video has brought us some terrifying bloopers over the years, but it has also brought us some of the most compelling stories of the 20th century. Push past your fears. It’s time to further your brand’s story on Facebook Live.
Click here to view CMO.com's Facebook Live videos from Adobe Summit.