Have you noticed that Facebook really wants you to “go live“? Between October and November, Facebook spent $16.5 million promoting its live video platform. Facebook’s eagerness for the general public to ‘go live’ is that live streams draw in enormous numbers of people and incentivize immediate action. One person going live can potentially pull thousands of viewers onto the platform.
Buzzfeed’s exploding a watermelon live stream attracted 807,000 simultaneous viewers and generated 315,000 comments, and that was just two people putting rubber bands on a watermelon.
Live video, whether on Facebook, YouTube, or other live-streaming services is immediate, real, and the future of social media. Live video, since the early onset of television, has been able to bridge the gap of time and space allowing anyone, anywhere to experience real events as they happen. But now, all it takes is a smartphone that is able to instantly broadcast exactly what they are seeing to the world.
Beyond the social value of empowering anyone to live stream significant or historic events in real time, this step in the evolution of sharing and communicating presents creators with a tremendous opportunity to connect with viewers in a uniquely engaging and personal way.
Half of 18 to 34 year olds in the United States say they will drop what they are doing to watch a new video from one of their favorite creators. Imagine what they’d do if their favorite creator starts live events.
So if you have found yourself uninspired by Facebook’s flood of advertisements telling you when you should go live, here are 5 ways that digital creators can make the most out of live videos to connect with fans and promote their personal brands.
1. Live Updates and Announcements
If anything happens that you think your following will find interesting, go live. Instead of sending out an impersonal tweet or boring status update, go live and deliver the news yourself straight to your fans. Hitting a subscriber milestone, for example, is a great opportunity to jump on a live stream. Share the news with authentic excitement, thanking them for watching and subscribing in an interaction that feels direct and personal.
Or if your team scores 31 unanswered points to win the Super Bowl, go live and share your joy (or if your team gives up the biggest halftime lead in Super Bowl history, go live and vent your anguish). Whenever you have something exciting to share, it is a good opportunity share in that moment with your fans and following.
2. Let Fans Backstage
There may not always be a literal backstage, but let your viewers feel as if they are taken behind the scenes by sharing something that they might not be able to see otherwise.
If you’re working on a project, talk a little about how it’s coming along, why you’re excited about it, and when they can expect to be able to watch it themselves. Maybe even show a brief clip of the video being edited. Doing this will give your most attentive fans access into your creative process.
Not only will these types of backstage glimpses build anticipation for your next video, but it will also give your viewers a better understanding for how much thought, effort, and time you put into each video, allowing them to appreciate you and your content all the more. And if there is a backstage, definitely let your viewers see that!
3. Promote Your Content
Before you post a piece of content, go live and hype it up. Even a short, two minute “go watch my video” can be effective promotion and will give you the chance to connect with fans in real time, making them more likely to watch your video immediately rather than putting it off until later. Driving those immediate views can make a big difference in terms of the traction a newly posted video is able to generate.
With live video, you never know what will happen. A quick content promotion live stream could turn into a great Q&A with your most loyal fans. Be flexible and respond to what fans are asking. This will allow you to develop a real time connection with fans that will further strengthen the connection they feel towards you, making them significantly more likely to consume more and more of your content.
Give your viewers a chance to ask you anything. Not only do fans love the interaction, but the questions provide invaluable insight into your audience. Their questions and reactions can give you a much deeper understanding of what they enjoy about you and your content.
And by answering their questions, you make them feel valued and important, which will in turn make them more likely to want to further connect with you by watching more of your content. While true of all live events, it is particularly important to promote Q&As ahead of time to ensure the best possible turn out.
Consider the times you know large portions of your following will be available. If your following are predominately working professionals, evening or perhaps lunch might be the best time to reach them. If your viewers are mostly students, mid afternoon as they’re getting out of school might be the best time.
5. Teach Your Audience Something
In the spirit of sharing (the whole point of live video) offer your viewers some of your valuable, hard-earned expertise. If there is something that you’re particularly good at or have recently learned, go live and share it with your audience.
Share a piece of your routine that you think might be of interest to your fans. You may be surprised by what your viewership finds interesting, so explore your options. If you’re an athlete or into fitness, share a bit of your training regimen. If you’ve learned a new filming technique or style, describe it to your fans in real time.
Anything that you do in a unique or interesting way is a good chance to share a bit more about yourself with your audience. Viewers will feel like they are getting exclusive insight into your life.
How to Approach Live Video
Live video is nothing new, television networks have a formula for live content which has been refined over decades. Creators can learn from the years of experience that networks have in the space. Be mindful that viewers come and go throughout the stream. Make it easy for late arrivals by making it abundantly clear what’s going on and giving frequent recaps and summaries. Have something to talk about to get the conversation going and have a few topics to fall back on if the conversation does not go as planned. And a signature sign off never hurts.
Most importantly, have fun with live video. The attraction to live video is how real it is, so just be yourself and allow viewers to learn about you. It is about sharing and connecting, so as long as you use your live stream to bring people together and foster connection, you can’t go wrong.
And you can always go live to talk about how amazing the ICX Media platform is! Sign up today and better manage and market your digital video content!
This article was a guest contribution on Vlog Nation by ICX Media.
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