Shaking Things Up: Three Ways to Use Live Video for PR

By: Connor Wickens

As PR professionals, we are always finding new ways to successfully promote our clients’ brands – that’s why it’s important to keep up with evolving trends, whether they are taking place in the digital, event planning or influencer space. As we welcomed the New Year, we also welcomed new PR trends to take advantage of in 2017. One of those trends includes the increasing use of live video, which is now available across multiple social media channels including Facebook, Instagram and more.

More and more consumers want to instantaneously connect with their favorite brands. Therefore, the ability to interact with viewers in real-time is an opportunity that has the potential to set a brand apart from others. In fact, some companies have already had great success utilizing live videos to engage with their consumers. Below are some of the best practices for using live video when it comes to influencers, social media engagement and enriching event experiences.

Social Media

With the newly launched Facebook Live, marketers are now tasked with figuring out the best way to get their messages out on this new feature. Unlike live video apps that came before it, such as Meerkat and Periscope, Facebook Live is positioned for success. With over 1.6 billion Facebook users worldwide, the chances of one of the 900 million daily Facebook users stumbling upon a brand’s live feed or a posted previous live session is extremely high. These numbers have piqued the interest of keen-eyed marketers which is why the newly minted social media tool is already getting use.

Facebook Live offers the unique opportunity for brands to directly interact with customers and to immediately receive feedback on the content they’re putting out in real-time. The instantaneous nature of the tool means that anything can happen, which requires brands to have a clear-cut goal of what they wish to achieve each time they decide to go live. Thankfully, Facebook offers a way to edit the video after a live session before the recording is posted on the brand’s wall, something that – if used correctly – can greatly maximize the longevity of a live session or fix something that didn’t go as planned. This is an important social media tool to take advantage of; even those who are fearful of mistakes can now reap the benefit of real-time video. In addition to Facebook, Instagram Live works by streaming real-time videos via Instagram Stories. But unlike Stories, Periscope and Facebook Live, Instagram Live videos aren’t hosted on the platform — they are deleted immediately after each live session and are not posted to users’ feeds. Businesses now have the option of sending disappearing photos and videos to individual customers and groups via Direct Message. Overall, “Live” is an exciting new feature that is already being used by millions of people around the world. Learning the correct way to use it, coupled with a unique or engaging topic can lead to a successful live session.

Influencers

When it comes to utilizing an influencer it is important to take advantage of live video – after all, you have selected an influencer based on their following and authentic connection to a client’s brand. When selecting an influencer it is important to keep in mind that having someone your audience will want to interact with as the star of the live session will lead to increased engagement. Once you have selected an influencer, he or she can advocate for the brand and authentically utilize a live-video platform to promote their personal connection to a certain service or product. With 44 percent of consumers wanting authentic content, a live-streamed video has the potential to deliver those unique, rich experiences consumers are seeking.

Events

Using live video at an event can be a great way to enrich attendees’ experiences and engage those who are unable to attend. Whether you are putting together an experiential event, a summit or conference, smartphone streaming and the technology behind it allows you to maximize event awareness and reach others beyond the people in the room. An additional aspect to take into consideration when event planning is to host a live Q&A session. This is a great interactive aspect that encourages viewer participation and allows them to be a part of what is happening on-screen. For example, Dunkin Donuts recently gave customers glimpses into their kitchens and went live to celebrate National Donut Day with their fans. The news network, The Young Turks, goes live before their daily news show to connect with fans and answer questions. Other brands have utilized a C-suite member of the company to answer viewer questions or offer behind the scene glimpses of the company that are rarely seen by the masses. When it comes to including live video there is a lot of room for creativity and expression so be sure to have fun with it!

2017 will be a year full of live video and it is important to remain conscious of its best practices. This is an exciting broadcast tool that allows brands to build an audience and instantly engage with them. Embracing the authenticity and accessibility of live video can be a differentiator when it comes to how brands interact with consumers.