Just about every minute of every day, there’s a live stream event taking place somewhere in the world — on social media platforms, corporate networks, and entertainment company apps. From the recent solar eclipse to the Mayweather-McGregor fight to the MTV Video Music Awards, online users are showing a healthy appetite for seeking out live video events to watch.
Of course, every event needs an audience — and given the effort that goes into a live streaming event, video planners want to ensure that, at start time, there’s a large and highly engaged audience. Social media can be used to whip up enthusiasm before the event, encourage discussion during the live stream, and continue the conversation after it ends.
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1. Tease Events Beforehand, and Invite Questions in Advance
Having a regularly scheduled streaming video certainly helps build a following, as Experian does with its weekly #CreditChats. The hour-long video chats feature personal finance experts, and allow viewers to ask advice about topics like improving credit scores and paying for college.
The chats are promoted prominently on Experian’s Twitter feed and the #CreditChat Facebook page in advance of each event. The company’s social media team creates promotional images for every chat using stock photos, then uses these images to promote upcoming chats on Twitter, Google+, and Facebook. Each of the posts teases the upcoming topics, and also encourages chat attendees to submit their questions in advance. Some of the posts also include links to articles about the expert or the topic at hand, whetting attendees’ appetites for the conversation to come.
“We make sure to tag our guests in every post, so they can share the posts with their own followers,” says Christina Roman, social media specialist and community manager at Experian.
Enlisting support from influencers can also play a role in driving interest for a streaming video event. Nestlé’s Drumstick ice cream brand hired millennials with large followings on Periscope and Twitter to promote Drumstick’s “First Day of Summer” streaming video event in 2015. “They inspire their followers and they keep the excitement going,” Renata Salazar-Costa, multimedia community specialist for Nestlé, says of the value of influencers.
2. Keep the Conversation Flowing—During and After the Event
When the event starts, the community manager (or someone playing that role), needs to closely monitor social interactions. For Experian’s #CreditChats, Roman prepares several questions to solicit responses from followers. During a recent chat aimed at college students learning to manage their finances, her questions included, “How can students create a budget?” and “How can students minimize the debt they take on?” The Experian social team tracks metrics like follower growth and Twitter and Facebook engagement following each chat to determine which topics garner the most interest.
If video viewers can connect with each other during the live event, not just with a brand, those viewers are creating conversations that can help strengthen their love for the brand. USA Network and online tech community The Verge recently partnered to create an online “Digital After Show” following episodes of the hacker-focused “Mr. Robot” TV show. During the live event, hosted on IBM Watson Media, fans can chat via Twitter or an IRC (Internet Relay Chat) secure and anonymous chat room, an appealing venue for fans who also consider themselves hackers.
Because the “Mr. Robot” plot lines feature many twists and turns, “the hosts would ask questions of the audience to get their fan theories of what might be happening, or what this might mean,” explains Jon Cotton, vice president of digital content for USA Network. The chats, he adds, “become a place for fans from around the world to come together and compare notes, and share theories about what might be coming next.”
3. Reuse Assets to Engage with More People
Once events are over, the social conversations should keep going. At Experian, #CreditChats are posted to Experian’s YouTube channel for future viewing — creating new assets from the live events, and offering an opportunity to expose new listeners to the conversations. Roman creates graphics based on information discussed during the chats or quotes from expert participants, and posts the images to Experian’s social channels. In the past, the social team has also created podcasts from the live video’s audio feed, giving the team another asset to offer to followers and generate more engagement.
To trigger more social engagement, Roman uses Storify to capture tweets related to the #CreditChat. Storify uses email to notify people whose tweets are archived within a story. These people can then share the Storify page with their own social networks.
Fostering social engagement before, during and after a live stream can bring viewers to future live events — and to the brand in general. “It’s how you create meaningful connections,” says Nestlé’s Salazar-Costa. “That’s always the main objective, since it drives home the value behind brands.”
Social media can be a powerful way to engage your viewers. This can include enhancing content you are already generating, essentially keeping the conversation going and energizing fans, to using social networks to build an audience and promote your live stream.
Once you have gotten the hang of using social media to engage viewers, be sure to check out our Top 5 Live Video Marketing Strategies with Measurable Results on-demand webinar. This video goes over marketing methods you can execute that include live video while also how you can track results to determine asset and strategy successfulness.