Live video will save your content marketing - here

Periscope. Snapchat. Blab. Facebook Live. If there was one clear takeaway from Social Media Marketing World last week it’s that live video is taking over the social world. Also, it was amazing and I hope to meet you there next year.

According to Michael Stelzner’s opening keynote, 14% of marketers are using live video and 50% of us plan on using live video marketing this year. Interestingly, 21% say that video is the most important form of content marketing. The MOST important. Let that sink in a sec.

I can’t pretend that I was overly happy at hearing this (over and over again). I’d really rather stay behind my images and posts. So many of us are camera shy and few of us have been trained to be effective on camera. But “marketing with visuals” doesn’t mean just the kind we’re comfortable with, so it’s time to get over it (and yes, I’m talking to myself).

Why Content Marketing Needs a Savior

If you’ve been on this crazy content marketing rollercoaster for more than a year, you already know why. Content marketing is becoming more difficult and more expensive because there is simply too much competition for the hearts, minds, and TIME of our readers.

Don’t think so? It’s not simply a matter of creating more and better content. A study by BuzzSumo analyzed a million random blog posts and found that 50% of them had 8 or fewer social shares. Then there’s the revelation from social media power company Buffer admitting that they lost 50% of their social referral traffic in 12 months. Social Media Examiner has had similar results. Shocking!

If we want our content to be seen, advertising is now a must for most businesses. Sadly, not all of us can compete there, either.

How Live Video Can Save Us

If there’s one way to stand out in the overcrowded world of content marketing, it’s by being more human. Mark Schaefer, who coined the term “Content Shock” reiterated this in his closing keynote. What’s more human and relatable than live video? Aside from an in-person conversation – nothing.

In a soon-to-be-released report from Social Media Examiner and Michael Stelzner, we will see evidence of the massive amount of time people spend consuming live video (8 million daily video views on Snapchat in Feb. 2016). Granted, much of that is likely teens Snapchatting each other all day every day, but it still points to a trend and a desire for a more intimate connection via social media. Voice or text alone may not be enough to attract the next generation. And the way social media platforms like Facebook are embracing live video with a vengeance may leave us no choice no matter the average age of our audiences.

Remember that statistic about 50% of marketers who plan on increasing their use of video this year? Won’t that just lead to live video content shock? Snapchat has been around for four years. Is it already too late to take advantage of this trend? No. Intentions are all very nice, but things get in the way. And with only 14% in the game at this point, the time to become the best live video marketer you can be is now.

But, which platform or platforms is going to save YOUR content marketing from a black hole or irrelevance? As always, it depends. Let’s take a quick look at the big players. I’ve dabbled in each, but if you want a comprehensive look, please check out the articles in the Pinterest board I’ve dropped in at the bottom.

Should My Business Be On Snapchat?

SnapchatI wrestled with this one myself and finally came to the conclusion that the best use of Snapchat for me is to connect with friends and peers. And yes, there is a potential business benefit to that if they are amused by my mundane activities and some really beautiful beach views. But, my customers are not on Snapchat. Facebook is still new and exciting for some of the people I help! Should that change, well, I’ll be ready.

What about you? If you market to marketers or to millennials, Snapchat is probably a viable channel for you. But it still requires a strategy and consistency. If you’re not good on camera, practice. Start with a personal account just get comfortable.

What About Periscope?

What a Periscope broadcast looks like to a viewer.Periscope is great for teachers and coaches. It allows you to connect with your students between classes/sessions and conduct a real-time Q&A with potential students. It’s also great for content creators looking for feedback on new products and services before they are created. In fact, there are many ways to use Periscope for your brand.

But, are you customers really there? Unless you are a marketer marketing to marketers, maybe not. A good way to tell is to search the platform for people who do what you do. Of course, not finding someone who is trending might also represent an opportunity for you to come in and steal the show, but be realistic and ask your best customers.

And, if you feel uncomfortable talking to an invisible audience, it might be difficult to be engaging here. Broadcasters who spend more time responding to comments than they do providing professional and valuable information may lose their most important viewers, and those who ignore comments come across as far less than engaging.

Blab’s Secret Content Marketing Powers

Blab live videoBlab is a fantastic platform for nearly any business because it goes beyond the limits of the product itself, integrating with Twitter and being easily embedded into a blog, turned into a podcast, or uploaded to YouTube. Repurposing content is one of the best ways to get ahead in the content race. More content in less time in varied formats to appeal to more people. Win!

If you enjoy a discussion rather than a monologue, Blab may be the best live video platform for you to try first. Invite a colleague or two to an informal Blab just to try it out. Despite the fact that anyone can watch, listen, and comment (unless you block them), you’ll likely find it to be the most comfortable of all the options for live video.

Now that they’ve built in screen sharing, Blab is becoming a contender in the webinar wars. Why not hold your next one there? While you can’t require registration to view and listen (yet), it’s still a great way to connect with potential customers – and you can share an irresistible lead magnet during the broadcast to collect the contact information of interested attendees!

Allowing viewers to come on camera and add to the discussion is a powerful way of creating and solidifying connections. Trolls are easy to boot, so don’t let that hold you back.

Facebook Live

This is definitely a case of last but not least. Because it’s Facebook. And because what used to work on Facebook doesn’t. At all.

Facebook always rewards those who use its new features. Facebook also wants to keep people on Facebook longer. So, it’s favoring live video in the algorithm – meaning that reach you lost is within your grasp once again. More than that, it’s favoring live video while it is live. This means you’ll want to plan for a broadcast that is long enough for a number of people to find you. Mari Smith, Facebook expert, suggested trying for at least 20 minutes.

Do you maintain a Facebook group or are you holding an event? Facebook Live works there, too! Why not use it to provide special members-only content to your inner circle? You can bet it will be appreciated!

Facebook Live Streaming

You can schedule a broadcast or just start one spontaneously, but you might find you get better attendance if you announce ahead of time or at least broadcast consistently. Rumor is that a “live” button will soon appear with the Messenger and Notifications icons along the bottom of your app on mobile, making it even easier for your followers to find your live broadcasts.

Chances are, your audience is on Facebook. If you want to be seen, consider adding Facebook Live to your content marketing mix. You can take questions on the topic of your latest blog post, ebook, upcoming webinar, course, or anything else! Not only can you use this opportunity to encourage people to consume your content, you’re also increasing the “know, like, and trust” factor that encourages loyal customers and advocates.

Facebook Live video can be downloaded and repurposed as well. Consider embedding it in a blog post if appropriate, or upload it to your YouTube channel.

So, which one do you think would work for your business? Have you tried live video? Do you have a live video strategy?