Beyond fake news, the ongoing Facebook vs. Snapchat war and influencer marketing, one of the biggest trends in digital marketing for 2017 will be live video.
While 2016 was the year that live video made its mainstream debut on social media networks, 2017 will be the year that it truly blossoms. If content is king, and video is the crown, then live video is the jewel in the crown. The raw, interactive medium is attractive for brands, publishers and consumers as it allows for an unfiltered and real experience.
But, what does that mean for marketers wanting to get in on the hype?
Well, one important point to keep in mind is that live video is not easy. The technical logistics behind setting up a stream can be much more complicated and lengthy than a regular shoot. Prep time and practice are key, as live mistakes can oftentimes be costly. Still, when done properly, live video offers an unparalleled immersive experience in social media marketing.
On that point, more and more brands will begin to see live video as the evolution of customer care on social media. Rather than relying on a tweet or inbox message to respond to individual consumers, brands may begin hosting FAQ sessions to highlight common questions and help consumers tackle them. The result is that brands will appear more transparent and authentic, replacing the delayed, scripted responses we’ve become used to.
Likewise, press announcements via the age-old press release may also begin to decline in favor of live video sessions. Indeed, the live video press announcement may become the press conference of the 21st century.
And, finally, the rise of live video as a television alternative has already begun to make headway into the media space with brands like the NFL live streaming entire games on Twitter in real-time for free, without the need for a cable subscription or even a Twitter account! Features like this will continue the trend of social media platforms challenging traditional media for ad revenue.
But, who should be hosting these Q&As, press announcements and other live video sessions? The brand, of course! More and more, brands should take an interest in having their staffers appear on screen. With the rise of vloggers on platforms like YouTube, it’s likely that brands will take a chance and begin making content themselves. With proper training, on-air staffers will eventually become spokespeople for their brands. Coupled with the raw, unedited nature of live video, these hosts will humanize the brand in ways that consumers have never seen before. Audiences want to see real faces and build connections with individuals at the brand, not with the brand itself in the form of a username on Facebook or Twitter.
In the end, strategy, training and consistency in execution will be the three key areas for any brand to master live video in 2017.