Many social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube, now give users the option to live-stream. Many brands, such as Buzzfeed and Dunkin’ Donuts, have also begun to use live-streaming in their marketing and promotional efforts.
Why use live-streaming?
To begin with, live-streaming is a form of video content. In comparison to text-based content, video often contains more visual elements, which makes it more attractive as well, especially to those with a short attention span. Generation Z in particular, who are also known as the digital natives, spend approximately three hours a day consuming various forms of media on their smart phones, while 70% of them spend more than two hours a day viewing content on video-sharing services such as YouTube.
To appeal to these digital natives, brands have to consider using video content to reach out to them.
Of course, brands can also choose to employ influencers to use scripted and curated video content in their marketing. This is certainly a safe strategy, given that videos can be edited repeatedly until both influencer and brand are satisfied with the content before posting. Live-streaming, on the other hand, is unpredictable and can go in directions that no one expects.
So why use live-streaming anyway?
Live-Streaming is Immediate
While this may sound like an obvious point, live-streaming, as its name suggests, is done on-the-spot, as an event occurs. This feeds the audience’s desire to experience something vicariously, through their influencer, while it is happening. This appeals to the viewer the same way that watching a football match live does–the audience is able to get updates on the event as it happens. Even better, they are also able to see it through the eyes of their influencer and can even feel like they are experiencing the event with them.
In this way, followers get to see how influencers interact with the brands they work with in real time.
Live-Streaming Establishes a Personal Connection
Since live-streaming allows viewers to interact with influencers in real-time, all interactions that occur are (or appear to be) unscripted. As viewers get to ask and have their questions answered almost immediately, it forms the impression that the interaction they are having with the influencer is much more genuine.
This closes the gap between the influencer and the influencer’s audience, building trust between the influencer and their followers. It makes the influencer’s opinions more credible and the audience feel like they have established a personal connection. For brands, what this means is that viewers might get a greater sense that the influencer is truly promoting a product because they enjoy consuming it.
Live-Streaming Gives Access to Special Events
If used well, live-streaming can become a highly anticipated event for an influencer’s followers. In addition to all of the benefits mentioned above, live-streaming also allows influencers to give their audience access to special, closed-door events or otherwise personal experiences.
Launching a new product? Sponsoring a holiday? Requesting that the influencers you work with use live-streaming during some part of the event gives your target audience an introduction to your product and/or access to what they might otherwise be missing out on.
All in all, live-streaming is a tool which influencers and brands can use to give the intended audience direct access to their content. Its key attraction lies in its spontaneity, which creates a sense of intimacy between the influencer (and hence the brand) and their followers.