Live videoIf you have been online recently, you will have noticed the surge in live video content that has taken over Facebook, Twitter and now even YouTube. From on-the-ground news broadcasting, political campaigns and celebrity Q&As, live video is an exciting new addition to the marketing landscape – but can it be incorporated into a content marketing strategy for small business owners?

The short answer? Yes.

Why go live?

In the first year of Periscope, the Twitter-owned live video feed, users watched an average of 110 years of content every day. Facebook users watch more than 100 million hours of video daily. For the first time, even Wimbledon was shown live on Twitter courtesy of CNN. In terms of engagement, according to the Wall Street Journal, people comment ten times more on live video than on an uploaded one.

Imagine being able to open up your studio, workspace or office and show off your products with users situated anywhere from Antarctica to Bangladesh. For free. Well, all you need is a smart phone. Live video is a spontaneous, organic and powerful platform that allows you to connect with people from all over the world with a swipe of a finger.

But the idea of appearing in front of a camera and in front of potentially hundreds (if not more) of viewers can seem daunting. Perhaps you are dubious that a small business owner can actually harness this untapped channel of advertising. Well, with a bit of help from the Social Media Examiner, we have a few tips and suggestions here to help you get the film rolling:

Show how your products are made

Now we already know you are passionate about your business and its products or services. Why not share some of that enthusiasm? Take John Kapos, also known as Chocolate Johnny, who owns Perfection Chocolates in Australia. He uses Periscope daily to broadcast his chocolate-making method with thousands of frothing-at-the-mouth fans.

Now you do not need to give away your secret recipes or ingredients, but you could offer tutorials and tips or answer audience questions. Give them something extra. Inspire them. By opening up your workspace and sharing your passion with your audience they become a part of the experience.

Enthusiasm is contagious. You can use live video to show off what makes your products unique or give your audience an insight into how their favourite products are made. Do you have a speciality product? Perhaps you sell car parts or artisan handicrafts – whatever it is, people will be interested. The principle extends over all markets, just find your niche and start talking.

Launch products and contests

Everyone knows how powerful a photograph can be, live video triples that. It is a great way to get your audience involved and excited for new products, services, competitions and events. For example, Doritos teamed up with Periscope earlier this year to launch their newest flavour, Roulette. To get the public involved, fans were randomly chosen to try and review the new product live on Periscope, taking ‘word of mouth’ to a whole new level.

Elsewhere, Pufferbellies Toys and Books, a children’s bookstore in Virginia, uses Facebook live to showcase new products through “unboxing” videos. Despite being a small-town business, they gained upwards of 2,500 views and had numerous commenters engaging and asking about availability.

Live video is a kind of highly targeted (and free) advertising. You can even use the video, after you have finished streaming, as the basis for an ad.

Behind the scenes action

Personalisation is the buzzword in content marketing at the moment, and what is more personal than putting a face to the brand? Just as we spoke about showing your production process, you can bring your audience along with you to cool locations and events.

Companies like Frameable Faces, a photo studio in Michigan, began using multiple live-streaming platforms last year and have since become somewhat of a well-loved local TV show. They use Periscope to invite their audience into their studio and show them around. Facebook Live is the platform of choice for their daily morning show and while on location.

Yet what makes Frameable Faces different from other live broadcasters is their emphasis on consistency. They have a set schedule and try to keep shows as engaging and creative as possible, because as with every kind of content, these elements are key.

Live-streaming can be used to enhance existing customers and as a tool to attract new ones. It is raw, organic and exactly what audiences are lapping up right now. The ROI may be hard to determine, but with such a cheap means of advertising your brand to such a large audience, why not take the plunge?

Treat it like you would for regular content. Be creative, be consistent and give them something extra. For help or advice on constructing your own content marketing strategy, contact us today.

Ben Hollom

August 3, 2016