Are we living in “The Truman Show”? Not quite, but we’re getting there.
The live streaming phenomenon sprouted up at this year’s SXSW and doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. Despite still being relatively new, Meerkat and Periscope audiences are undoubtedly experiencing an awkward phase. Users are unsure what type of content will attract an audience, and are resulting to live streaming anything from the contents of their fridge to their daily walks to work. Is it exciting as a user? Sure. Would a viewer want to tune in? Probably not.
The truth is, people aren’t good at being spontaneously interesting. Unless you’re Taylor Swift or Tim Cook, chances are people don’t want to see the mundane ins-and-outs of your daily life. Social media, for the most part, is a curated experience. Great thought and preparation (hopefully) goes into every tweet, post, and filter used on social profiles. How can brands use that same strategy for live video, an application that by design, allows the user limited control over content?
Work with your team to establish five common questions or issues that popped up on your channels. Is everyone curious about what’s next? Were there a lot of questions about a new product feature that just launched? Did your engineering team fix a bug? Use your live video application of choice to stream what happened, why it happened, and what you’re doing (or have done) to fix it. Your audience will not only appreciate the insight into your organization, but appreciate being heard.
AMA’s, or “Ask Me Anything”, sessions are becoming increasingly more popular with brands today. In addition to answering comments on the platform of your choice, create a livestream and include it in your description. Commenters will be able to see you reply to each question in real time, eliminating any doubt that you’re really the person behind the screen.
Added bonus? Data! Meerkat and Periscope both track details like how many people tuned in to your stream and where they’re streaming from.
Sales and customer service teams can easily incorporate live video into their workflow. Are you interested in generating more leads? Stream a demo and have your content team share it on social media. Track the frequency of your stream- do you get more viewers by streaming weekly? Bi-weekly? Tailor your program to what works best for your team and product.
Product announcements can be treated similarly. Create a livestream to share news with your audience. Be sure to consider content and length of stream to get best use.
So far, we know live video attracts as a concept. The Daily Dot recently reported that Periscope generated about 51,000 tweets on the day of its launch, and has collected almost 111,000 mentions over the past month. Meerkat, on the other hand, has been steadily growing and reached over 200,000 tweets. That’s a lot of interaction.
Will it last? Maybe. For now, it’s clear that a lot of brands see value in including livestream into their content strategy. In time, we’ll be able to access ROI, it’s longevity, and if daily users have gotten past streaming the inside of their fridge.
Douglas Hanna is the founder and CEO of Help.com, a next generation provider of customer service software. Before Help.com, he was the CEO of A Small Orange, the homegrown hosting company. You can follow him on Twitter @douglashanna.
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