Interactive video is here. Get used to it.

Jen Bonney

Video is king. The Grand Pooh-Bah. The Big Cheese. The Head Honcho. The High Muckety-Muck of all content. Video should be in your content marketing strategy, or you will lose the fight.

But slow down. Only 47 percent of viewers watch a video all the way through, and 33 percent of the 53 percent of people that drop off, do so in the first 30 seconds. Don’t run right out and hire a production company to make that perfectly-polished video, with a stale voice over, a guy in a suit and a few stock music tracks to upload to YouTube. YouTube is a giant, and it has a place, there is no doubt about that. But the problem with YouTube is that it’s in a downward trend compared to Facebook’s 4 billion daily video streams; a number that’s only going to continue to grow with time. What should you do? Go back to the goals of your content marketing strategy.

They should look something like this:

  1. Community
  2. Engagement
  3. Storytelling
  4. Authenticity

Americans spend hours online. We live our lives through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. We watch Netflix and Hulu, we listen to Spotify and Sirius and we get our news from our website of choice. We do our best to bypass commercials. In fact, 86 percent of viewers skip TV commercials by fast-forwarding through them. Social media is not the only way to advertise, but it is the fastest, cheapest way to gain support for your product or service, build a community and gain loyal brand advocates. We want to know who you are, and what you stand for AND we want to be part of the conversation. If you don’t believe me, believe this: 35 percent of marketers using interactive video extensively see increased conversions, and 25 percent saw an increase in sales. It is time to embrace digital change.

4 reasons to use live streaming to shape your story and strengthen your brand.

Build a community

Live streaming is an intimate experience. There is no time for animations or edits. You press record and go. You will not be an instant celebrity. Like everything else, a crowded live stream takes time. Consistency is key. Use this time to get to know those who join. Listen to what they say, welcome new subscribers and welcome back your regulars. You will find that you have more in common with your audience than your immediate topic, and when your audience feels valuable they will not only come back, they will recommend you to their friends and colleagues.

Engage with your audience

The open forum of a live stream broadcast allows you to truly engage with your audience. Likes, shares and follows are good for the ego, but live streaming allows you to speak with your audience, to answer their questions, and more importantly, it allows your audience to tell you what is important to them. Live streaming gives your audience a real person to follow. It makes you human. This is a smart way to build trust and it gives you the insight you can’t get from a “follow.”

 

 

Learn more about integrated marketing and PR, read: Defining Your Integrated Marketing & PR Strategy.

Tell your story

The problem with storytelling is that consumers are hearing, reading and watching A LOT of stories. Live streaming allows you tell your story authentically, without the hard sell. You get the chance to interact with your audience, to put them in the spotlight, and to listen to their stories. Live streaming is relatively new and brands are still afraid to go live. Get there early and tell your story in an unsaturated space.

 

 

Prove you are trustworthy

Polished videos will give you a boost in conversion, but you don’t need one to relate to your audience. Consumers no longer expect brands to be perfect. In fact, we find it suspicious when they try to be. When you live stream, you open yourself up to the unknown. Your audience is aware of this and they respect you for it. There will be moments during your live stream – live moments – when you don’t know the answer to a direct question. Don’t panic. People already know you don’t know everything, so admit it. It not only makes you more credible, it makes you more human.

That’s all there is to it. Do you have a story, a powerful message, a $#%& ton of charisma? Let go of the illusion of control and perfection. Don’t be afraid of the unfiltered message. Live streaming allows you to find out what people think of your product, correct falsehoods in real-time and show appreciation. Know your strategy and what you want to accomplish with each broadcast. Next, observe what others are doing, watch some early adopters and pick a tool (Periscope, Blab, Facebook Live, Snapchat). Press record, and go live!

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