Working as a multichannel editor and writer, I’ve witnessed firsthand how video content has increased engagement with consumers year after year. This medium has seen a significant boost in the use of live video, with everyone from bloggers and brands to media companies employing the real-time strategy in their social marketing plans. According to Cisco, video traffic will account for 82 percent of all business and consumer traffic online by 2022 (up from 75 percent in 2017), with live video amassing 17 percent of video traffic.
Since live video streaming inherently comes with a sense of urgency—as in it’s happening right this second—the technology has found footing on popular social platforms such as Facebook Live, Instagram Live, and YouTube Live, some of which even alert followers to when a particular broadcast is scheduled to occur and another when it is starting. One of the most significant benefits to using an instant streaming service is that it allows viewers to interact with the personality or company through a chat box in real time; they can leave comments and ask questions as the live video is happening, allowing for an immediate response.
Here are three ways you can utilize live video right now to increase engagement:
1. Go behind the scenes
Live video can offer viewers entry to the inner workings of a personal brand or business, which is why behind-the-scenes videos resonate so well. Audiences are curious by nature, so opening access to things like how a video comes together, what a day in the life of your CEO looks like, or product testing mishaps can help to humanize your business and build trust.
Beyond Yoga took to Instagram Live to show their followers how they test their clothing. As the person went through the postures, viewers were able to see how the brand’s pieces moved and handled sweat during a yoga session, thus helping to turn some of their existing fan base into potential buyers.
2. Host a show in real time
Before Netflix and on-demand cable programming, people would turn on their sets to see the news, talk shows, and other programs as they occurred in real time. Thanks to live social media channels, people now reach for their mobile devices instead of remote controls to access their favorite brands and influencers in the here and now.
The meal-kit delivery service HelloFresh created a live interactive cooking show on Facebook Live where their customers can cook their meals, such as chicken under a zucchini blanket, alongside professional chefs. Viewers can ask questions and get answers immediately, as well as garner tips and tricks from the cooks. Not only does this method engage their audience, but it provides tangible results as soon as the cooking segment is over, helping to ensure that subscribers continue to pay for their services.
3. Live stream a major event
The next best thing to attending an event is watching it from the comfort of home, and companies are maximizing this opportunity to connect with consumers in innovative ways. Nearly any event, ranging from concerts like Coachella to business conference presentations, can be live streamed.
One of the pioneers of this form of content was Red Bull, which used YouTube Live to show Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner jump to Earth from a helium balloon in the stratosphere, reaching a top speed of 843.6 mph and breaking the sound barrier. The social platform confirmed that 8 million people tuned in to see the event live, showcasing the desire of viewers to be part of an event as it happens—even if they can’t be there in person to witness it.
As live video content continues to surge in popularity, the brands and personas who will thrive are those who use their platforms to connect and create a dialogue with their followers.