The live video train keeps plugging along, gaining momentum.
This increasing power certainly comes with a fair share of pros and cons. Video is often considered the most difficult form of content marketing, from a creative standpoint, but the effect video has on customers and audience engagement cannot be understated.
According to research conducted by Livestream, live video consumption jumped by 80 percent from 2015 to 2016. Notably, 82 percent of customers would rather watch live video from a brand than read a blog post or view social media updates.
Additionally, engagement rates of live video significantly surpass those of traditional video. On average, the viewing time is eight times longer than on-demand content.
However, simply jumping online and pressing a button do not guarantee amazing results. Though audiences are more inclined to check out a livestream, the quality is just as important as any other piece of content. Plus, viewers often list quality as the most important factor when watching a livestream.
If your marketing team is considering adding live video to their content strategy (which they certainly should), here are some crucial tips to keep in mind:
1. Define your on-screen personality in detail.
In today’s business landscape, brands are often defined by their personality, rather than their product.
People associate characteristics with a brand similar to the way they associate human character traits. So your on-screen personality must match up with your brand voice, as well.
Before you begin shooting your live video, pick your host(s) wisely and be sure they understand the brand’s personality and core values. Don’t be afraid to go into detail or create visual representations of your brand to paint a clearer picture that they’ll quickly understand.
The ultimate goal is to create a persona with which your target audience easily connects. To do this, you need to know your customers very well. Fortunately, this task is easier than ever these days.
First, monitor relevant conversations on social media to get a feel for how your existing and potential customers interact on the web. Second, use your point-of-sale data to build customer profiles. From here, you can formulate the ideal on-screen persona to play to their interests.
2. Choose your live video guests wisely.
By collaborating with well-known names or even micro-influencers in the industry, both parties can join forces and combine audiences for higher view rates and engagement. Videos featuring influencers have seven times higher view rates than traditional advertisements on YouTube.
Here, the best approach is to consider guests in the same way you’d consider a social media influencer to represent your brand: Take a look at their past portfolio.
Do your guests run in the same circles as your business? Would their audience be interested in your content and vice versa?
What sort of niche expertise can they bring to the table? Do they have experience shooting live video? If so, what are their engagement rates?
By using this influencer marketing approach to qualify guests, you can determine whether or not they will be a proper fit for a feature on your live videos. Their personality and areas of knowledge must be relevant to your viewers, but the video should benefit your guest as well.
3. Consider the replay value.
Chances are, a large portion of your audience won’t be available for every livestream event. While you may use strategic timing to reach the largest group possible, not everyone has the freedom to hop on and watch.
Therefore, it’s important with every recording to consider the replay value down the road. Consider your audience’s motivations for watching the video as you plan your topics.
The vast majority are looking for entertainment or inspiration, but 34 percent are looking for educational content and eight percent are looking specifically for information about a brand.
While ultra-relevant and time-sensitive videos are certainly valuable for gaining viewers and interest, there should always be a good bank of evergreen content in your brand library. For long-lasting results, be sure to include information that will be beneficial for audiences for years to come.
4. Interact in real time.
The clearest benefit of livestreaming is the fact that it’s—well, live. That means anything can happen; which gives brands the chance to engage with their audiences in a candid light.
According to an ON24 study, tools receiving the most interaction during a livestream event were polls, chats, and Q&A sessions with the host. Each of these features gives viewers the chance to have their voice heard and even guide the conversation—an opportunity brands should never turn down.
Depending on which platform you choose to host the livestream, you’ll find many tools and features that make live interactions possible. By giving viewers an opportunity to share opinions, ask questions and participate in the event, engagement rates will skyrocket.
5. Promote your video event in advance.
As with any other type of event, the best way to ensure people know about it is advertising. Posting about it on social media is certainly a great way to let your audience know. However, thanks to the latest algorithm changes to Facebook and Instagram, there is no guarantee your posts will reach your viewers in time.
Sending promotional emails is also a great strategy, especially if your content is more business-focused and caters to a professional group.
The best days to promote your videos and increase the number of viewers are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Weekends are the worst days.
It’s important to give your audience advance notice before production goes live so they can fit it to their schedule. Your best bet is to notify them less than a week before and give them at the very least 24-hour notice.
The greatest and scariest thing about live video is that truly anything can happen. Use this fact as a benefit by planning ahead as much as possible. Doing so ensures your message, guests and content will reach your audience in engaging and profitable ways.
Manish Dudharejia is the President and Co-Founder of E2M Solutions, Inc., a San Diego based digital agency specializing in website design and development, and eCommerce SEO. A version of this article originally appeared on the Spin Sucks blog.