It’s Live Video Month! This article is the first of two (for now….) in which I intend to go over:
- Strategy and Planning
- Processes and How-To
- …and include a few examples.
This week is all about the Strategy and Planning, along with a little “Why do this video thing, anyway?”
Facebook Live Statistics that will convince you!
There are a ton of numbers out there that demonstrate the value of Facebook’s Live video streaming service even above that of “standard” video. Here are a few:
- “FACEBOOK LIVE STREAM” SEARCH POPULARITY HAS RISEN OVER 330% SINCE FACEBOOK LIVE’S ROLLOUT – According to Google Trends, search popularity for the “Facebook live stream” has risen over 330% from its inception to date with spikes in accordance to major events, publisher and influencer adoption, and New Year’s Eve (Facebook Live’s heaviest date of use so far).
- FACEBOOK LIVE VIDEOS ARE WATCHED 3X LONGER THAN VIDEOS THAT AREN’T LIVE ANYMORE – Facebook Live is all about what’s happening in the moment. So it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that content that’s still live draws much more engagement than video that’s no longer live.
- USERS COMMENT ON FACEBOOK LIVE VIDEOS AT 10X THE RATE OF REGULAR VIDEOS – Facebook Live is a dream for engagement, driving comments at over ten times the rate of non-live videos. Again, because the focus of Facebook Live is a window into and interaction with a moment in time as it unfolds in real time, commenting is about being a part of a live conversation. It exists in a way that is more dynamic and prone to evolution than commenting spaces on regular videos, and that’s a powerful engagement tool.
- Want to see a few more numbers? Go here.
Strategy and Planning
The good news is that, if you already have a solid digital marketing and content strategy for your business, you incorporate Live video into that as a content type. Your strategy outlines what the marketing goals are and how they align to the business, so that hasn’t changed. What is changing is the overall content mix you need for your content plan. This alteration will require that you look at the resources you’ll need to execute, beyond any additional hardware and software. The talent and skills needed to make this plan successful likely differ a bit from your existing team (unless you’re lucky enough to have a gifted storyteller and videographer on hand!) You likely do have a good storyteller on hand if you existing marketing team is working well in the existing plan. The difference will come in the way that the story is told. Written stories unfold differently that visual stories, and the tools to engage viewers are more varied than those with which you can engage readers.
A couple of great resources for further research into these differences include:
There are a number of content formats you can use for your Live video. Some of the more popular include:
- Behind the scenes – sneak peak, internal activity, preps for upcoming event, “invisible” processes, etc.
- Host a Q&A – Whether you are the expert or you have a guru on your video, this is a great way to get feedback on your performance and generate quality content quickly, as long as you’re delivering really interesting information based on what your viewers want to know.
- Stream an exclusive interview – Sideways related to hosting a Q&A. Shine the spotlight on your guest, thereby cross-promoting their business, too! Be sure you formulate powerful questions and follow the arc of the interview, to keep it from sound and looking contrived.
- How-To – The first rule in creating content for your audience is to provide value in everything you do. One of the easiest ways to do this is to teach your audience how to do something. This can be easy if the instruction is on a task you already know very well.
- Explain and display a product – Related to the How-To. If you create and sell products, this can be a terrific way to enlighten your viewers about it, give some “Behind the Scenes” information, and so on. You already know your products very well, so there will be a more relaxed feel to this kind of video.
- Conference or Event – One of the easiest. Whether you are putting it on or attending.
- Feature Stories – Telling stories. Make sure there is an actual story here.
- Answer blog comments – If you blog regularly for your business, you likely have comments and questions that have been posted there. use this kind of Live video to read them, acknowledge the person who commented, and answer the comment or question.
- Offer content to a private group – Facebook private groups are becoming more and more popular for businesses to build their communities. There you can create exclusive content only for them through Live video. This is a great way to show others the value you’re offering a group and build awareness for the high-quality content you produce on a regular basis.
- Podcasts – Content double whammie! simulcast a podcast.
This is NOT an all-inclusive list, but you get the idea. Try things and see which ones work for your viewers and your business.
Now, aside from your standing marketing goals, you’ll want to identify specific metrics for success, like:
- Video views
- Engagement (i.e. reactions and comments on the video, both when Live and when available “archived” (after the broadcast, if you choose to keep it available on your page)
- Clickthroughs on your Call To Action (CTA), which you can append to a live video when it’s done)
- Actions taken based on your video and CTA
So, resources beyond “the right people?” (regardless of whether you have them on staff, hire them for the project, or can do it yourself with the appropriate level of expertise…)
Well, there’s HARDWARE and SOFTWARE.
At the most basic level you will need:
- Camera – This can be your smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop with a camera….pretty much any device with live video encoder software. If you plan on using your smartphone, you will want to invest in an inexpensive but solid tripod so your picture isn’t wobbly and you don’t have to even THINK about whether your viewers can see you clearly!
- Software – There are a bunch of tools that can help you go live (not required, but can be really helpful…). I mention a couple here:
- Switcher Studio – This is a video creation platform that allows a LOT of extras, like graphics and effects, differing angles using several devices, share-the-screen functionality, and others. This is a for-pay platform, so check on your needs and see if this can be what you need.
- OBS Studio – This is free and open source software for video recording and live streaming, available for Windows, Mac and Linux. The tutorials are online and they have a healthy, active community and forums to help you get up and running, but be warned….unless you tend towards being technical, you will likely want to have someone more experienced actually “pull the levers”, at least to start. It isn’t super difficult, but it could be a challenge for you. I have found several online courses on Udemy that can help you get started with this software package as well. They are:
- Audio – The defaults will be the internal microphones that are already a part of your device.
- Quality Awareness – Pay attention to your lighting (if the light is behind you, no one can see you!), ambient noise (turn off the music, TV, or, if at an event with a lot of attendees, find someplace where ti is quieter….), and anything else that will affect the ability of your viewers to see and hear clearly. Another aspect of quality you NEED to be aware of is the strength of you Internet connection. You don’t absolutely NEED Wi-Fi, but it is highly recommended. Lacking that, a solid full-bars 4G connection might work. If your connection isn’t good enough, the LIVE button will be grayed out and you will be unable to broadcast.
If you want to step up your hardware, you can buy and external microphone and maybe even and external camera. An example would be the Blue Snowball USB microphone and the Logitech HD PRO C920 camera. Now you have good high-quality video and great sound!
So, you have the right hardware and any software, a content format plan for what you want to video, the time set aside to do it…
That’s next week!