Until recently, the moments you shared on social media already happened. Photos and videos you post to your Facebook page are past tense. Now, you can put your followers in the moment as it’s happening, thanks to live streaming.
It all began in spring of 2015 when Meerkat came onto the scene as a mobile app that allowed any user to immediately share a live video broadcast with other app users. Periscope followed on its heels, and both gained popularity as social media users shared their lives beyond what their thumbs could tap out on a keyboard.
Fast-forward to present day, and live streaming apps are everywhere. Facebook Live, in particular, has become one of the most popular choices for brands seeking exposure at no cost, with little effort. Facebook has given marketers a tool that makes its platform matter more than it ever did before.
As days go by, Facebook and other live streaming tools are improving their interfaces and reach to be more marketer-friendly and engaging. In short, live streaming is carving a lasting niche in the grind to gain more attention in the digital marketing space.
Using a mobile device to live stream video while participating in any aerial adventure activity can be tricky, but with a bit of thought and creativity, it is certainly possible to do it safely, and effectively. The ultimate result is worth the effort.
A Different Experience
Remember the days when we knew people’s phone numbers by heart and would write letters? The Internet and social media have changed the entire landscape of interpersonal communication by sliding a keyboard in where pen and paper, and human beings, used to be.
Live video is bringing social media communication full circle by putting faces back where they belong: right in front of us. Live video isn’t produced, edited, or fabricated—it’s the real thing. A real person is sharing an experience instantly, and the reality of that moment is irresistible to social media users weary of the standard.
And executives are taking notice. According to AdWeek.com, brands and retailers “are interacting with their employees, partners and consumers in a new way that is authentic, engaging and scalable.” By putting a real face in front of viewers, companies can show they have a heart to go along with the pulse of their human personnel.
Why Live Matters for Marketing
Live video absolutely crushes other types of social media sharing. If you use Facebook for marketing, you probably get prompted often to boost a post (“it’s performing better than 95 percent of your other posts!”) or create an ad campaign. This is because Facebook’s algorithm—the formula that decides which posts get pushed to the top of your followers’ news feed—treats posts from business pages like Lucy treats Charlie Brown when she yanks the football away as he attempts a kick. Unless you pay to play, the effort you put into posts on your Facebook page is basically all for not.
Until, that is, the arrival of Facebook Live. Facebook may not give preferential treatment to page posts, but it is going all-in to encourage every single Facebook user to go live. Just look at the app on your mobile device. When you open it up, the “Go Live” button is now the first option you see at the top. There’s also a new live video search feature, and the company has put out surveys and promotions encouraging you to go live.
And here’s the payoff: once you go live and publish the post, that live video immediately gets special treatment from Facebook and is pushed to the very top of the news feed and lingers there for several hours. According to SocialMediaToday.com, Facebook users spend three times longer watching a live stream video than a standard recorded-and-posted video.
What does this mean for you? Your page, despite posting as a page, can create content that gets pushed to the front of the line for increased visibility and interaction, similar to what happens when you pay for a boost. But in this case, it doesn’t cost you a dime.
Already On Board
One company that has used Facebook Live with success is GutMonkey. This Portland, Oregon-based outdoor adventure and challenge course company serves a very specific audience: hemophiliacs. For these adventurers, GutMonkey’s services bring healthcare along with their clients into the great outdoors for challenge and teambuilding.
As a consumer-facing business, its team wanted to find ways to get more eyeballs on what they shared without having to “pay to play” on the Facebook feed formula. So, CEO Pat Torrey and his staff have broadcast several live videos that have all gotten great interaction.
The most successful of which didn’t feature people climbing an adventure course, or zip lining through the trees. It shows Pat sitting on his deck with a large black duffle bag in front of him, and he’s through his packing list for an upcoming conference. Creatively, a hand emerges from the duffle bag, handing him various items from within, much like Thing from “The Addams Family.” Suddenly the video has a new star, and we can’t stop watching until we see how this body-less hand helps Pat with his packing. Check it out.
This goes to show, even if your business can pump out dynamic, exciting, visually stimulating content, a little creativity and simple themes can score big. Since Pat went live with his duffle bag hand on Facebook, the GutMonkey Facebook page has accomplished its goal of grabbing more eyeballs. Since the live stream video was posted, it’s been shared 18 times, gained more than 100 reactions, and has topped 6,600 views.
Subsequent live posts have garnered more than 1,000 views each, and helped gain viewers as the company entered its busy summer months of activity and adventure. Truth be told, GutMonkey has a unique story to share with its specific mission and audience. Yet the truth about live streaming is simple: if you have a pulse, you have a compelling story to stream. If you don’t believe that, Google “Chewbacca mom Facebook live.” You won’t be sorry.
Live at Your Park
You and your staff may be sick of selfie sticks, Snapchat, and customers wanting to document their adventure on your course, smartphone in-hand. As frustrating as today’s device addiction can be, take a moment to pause and reconsider—perhaps even embrace it and use it to your advantage.
With the advent of live streaming, one of your most effective marketing tools is right there in the palm of your customer’s hand. Seeing the smartphone emerge from a pocket may now bring forth a sigh, but helping to facilitate safe and responsible device use instead of hindering it is worth your consideration.
Let’s get crazy for a moment and think about your customer base that’s already inclined to go live from their device. Instead of insisting all mobile devices must be stowed, think of ways you can safely empower your customers to go live during their adventure.
Can you include a package or service that allows your staff to shoot a video using your guest’s device? Can you incorporate a device-securing strap, tether, or something similar into your customer’s gear, allowing them to broadcast safely? Better yet, make it an option and rent such an apparatus for a fee. How about ensuring there’s a strong Wi-Fi signal at key points along the way? Can you set yourself apart from your competitors by being “live stream friendly?”
You bet you can. Your customers will thank you for it, and you can thank them, too, because they’re creating content that provides exposure to your park—at no cost.
More than that, your content of adventure and challenge has the potential to grab eyeballs authentically. With live streaming still being a new marketing adoption for most companies, your business has the potential to showcase unique experiences through yours and your customers’ broadcasts.
An Affordable Option
Social media has always been a fabulous marketing tool for small businesses due to its low entry cost and ability to reach a broad audience. That said, social media platforms have ushered advertising into their feeds to grow revenue, but that effort impacts how each social tool works for businesses trying to share their message.
Live video is almost too easy to adopt into your marketing strategy. If you have a mobile device with Wi-Fi and a camera, all you have to do is download the live streaming mobile app of your choice, type out a video title, and push the “Go Live” button. Sprinkle on a little preparation and learn how to interact with viewers, and you’re the official live broadcaster for your business.
What about after the broadcast? You can easily repurpose your live stream videos by downloading them and using them in the rest of your marketing strategy: YouTube channels, website landing pages, promotional reels, and even your email blasts. As the video continues to gain replay views on social media, you can spread the message using additional marketing means.
Learn to Live Stream
Before you go live from your company’s Facebook page, get your feet wet by trying a live stream in a more casual setting: a family member’s sporting event or broadcasting a holiday message to friends from afar. Settings in Facebook actually allow you to broadcast a live video just to yourself, if you wanted to. Like everything else, practice makes perfect.
If you’d like to learn the minutia of live streaming from someone well versed on the subject (me), you’re in luck! The ACCT Conference in Savannah, Ga., in February will feature a comprehensive workshop to teach you how to use live streaming. If you haven’t registered for the conference, visit acctconference.com to save your seat.