How to use Live Video for your Business

It is not an overstatement to say that 2016 will be known as the year of live video streaming. Whether it is the exploding watermelon, the ‘Chewbacca Mom’, or even the controversial incidents of police brutality in the U.S., live streaming has made its way into the mainstream and is now at the forefront of social communication and citizen journalism.

And with live videos boasting an average viewing time that is three times that of pre-recorded video content, they represent more than just a social platform; live videos are an unmissable opportunity for companies to interact with their target audience in real time. Now that social media giant Facebook has adjusted its algorithm so that live videos appear higher in users’ news feeds, businesses have all the more reason to go live.

As expected, traditional broadcasters such as BBC and CNN have been the earliest adaptors of live video, but more and more global brands are switching to live video in creative ways.

Here are five examples of companies that have used live video streaming to their benefit.

Announce a Product Launch

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Image via BMW USA Periscope

At CES 2016, General Motors became the first automaker to use Facebook Live when it streamed the launch of a new electric car called the Chevy Bolt EV. The stream garnered over 55,000 views and was the perfect opportunity for Chevrolet to simultaneously show off its new product while demonstrating its willingness to embrace new and emerging technologies.

Meanwhile, rival automaker BMW officially announced the launch of its new M2 car through Periscope, reaching over 5,000 viewers in its first 10 minutes and ultimately attracting 16.6 million total campaign impressions. Twitter called described the event as “The best auto product reveal we have ever seen on Periscope”, and helped BMW attract a new generation of auto enthusiasts by connecting with the younger demographic.

Take customers behind the scenes

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Image courtesy of Dunkin’ Donuts

Dunkin’ Donuts became one of the first brands to adapt live streaming when it used Facebook Live to take users inside “Dunkin’ Brands University,” where the company makes its donuts. The Valentine’s Day video provided fans with a behind-the-scenes look into the company’s kitchen facility and featured a session in which its culinary team showed viewers how to make a cake from heart-shaped donuts. Within 13 minutes, the stream reached 21,000 live viewers and saw Dunkin’ Donuts build brand loyalty by rewarding customers with an exclusive experience.

Bark Box, a company that ships a monthly box of dog goodies to subscribers, used live streaming for the launch of BarkShop Live, a new retail experience where dogs do their own shopping. The stream registered more than 70,000 views, and was the perfect way for the company to introduce its new concept while giving customers a sneak peak into what they could expect from the shop.

Host Q&A’s with Customers

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Image via Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, has been described as “obsessed” with live streaming and has reportedly made its success a priority for the social media giant. As such, he hosted his first live streaming Q&A session from Berlin, fielding 10,000 questions from his viewers, commenting “Now with (Facebook) Live I can hear from more of our community at once, and it’s a lot more interactive. We can cover all the big areas you’re interested in—connecting the world, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, live video, entrepreneurship, philanthropy and more.” Since then, entrepreneurs and business leaders ranging from Gary Vaynerchuk to Anna Wintour have used live streaming to connect directly with their customers and bring their brands closer thanks to the immediate, intimate, and transparent interaction that it offers.

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Produce How-To’s

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Image via Benefit Cosmetics

Benefit Cosmetics, a cosmetics brand owned by luxury house LVMH, hosts a popular weekly live stream called “Tipsy Tricks with Benefit!” where a guest and host gives out beauty advice as they take questions from the viewers in real time. With the streams averaging 50,000 viewers and at least 2,000 people watching live them at any given time, the project has been described as a “Utility-meets-fun-meets-GF banter,” by the company’s senior director digital marketing, and has helped the company solidify a reputation as the premier source for beauty advice among key demographics.

Use Creative Marketing

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Image courtesy of IHOP

IHOP, the family restaurant chain best known for its breakfast menu, had a viral hit earlier this year when used live streaming to promote its new Paradise Pancakes. The mind-boggling video simply featured a stack of pancakes on the sand at a beach for hours with no sound except for the tropical waves in the background. And yet, the video hit more than 385,000 views, and became IHOP’s top-performing social video to date, with its Senior Vice President of Marketing boasting, “We had a captive audience for 171,000 minutes. We also had a high volume of comments indicating intent to visit IHOP, so, mission achieved.

Meanwhile, global fast food chain McDonald’s debuted its first live video to celebrate National Hamburger Day by streaming a mock show called “The Starving Artist”. The hour-long video parodied Bob Ross’s popular PBS show The Joy of Painting, and featured an improv actor who explained how to create beautiful burger paintings. According to McDonald’s, the burger art masterclass reached 884,300 people in 40 minutes and has been described as a reinvention of the 60-year-old brand’s method of communicating with its customers.

Tharawat Magazine, Issue 31, 2016