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Going live: Social media live coverage as a trust building tool for your brand

by Sarah De Prez

20August2019

You’re probably familiar with the ‘Live’ option on social media channels: Facebook Live, Instagram Live Stories or YouTube live streaming… While in its early days especially news outlets and influencers made most use of this live option, more and more brands are jumping on the live coverage bandwagon. But how exactly does going live on social media work, and more importantly: how does it benefit your brand or company?

1. First things first

Before we run, let’s walk. The first thing you need to know is: what exactly is a social media live coverage? The term ‘live coverage’ covers more than the “Live” button on the most popular social media channels. Even though Facebook Live, Instagram Live Stories and YouTube live streaming are the more obvious live coverage tools, you can just as well ‘go live’ on Instagram, Facebook or Snapchat stories, or simply on your social feed. The sky is the limit! Your preferred type of live coverage will depend on the type of content or event you want to put in the spotlight.

2. Should I stay or should I go (live)?

Sure, you can share whatever you want whenever you want on social media. But a live coverage serves some very specific goals, and is most beneficial in only a few specific cases:

  • Live events: whether it’s a conference, product launch event, charity dinner or a full-blown spectacle, events are a great topic to cover live. Tip: don’t just show the event and its atmosphere, but include some behind the scene content.
  • Demos & how-tos: the best way to convince people to buy your product/service, is to give a live demonstration – even online. No pauses, no cuts, no montages, just your product and all its functionalities, as is. Tip: giving a live demonstration? Talk to your audience! Ask for their opinion, what else they’d like to see, and so on.
  • AMAs (ask me anything)/Q&As (question and answer): a Q&A or AMA is a perfect way to connect with your followers! The most popular method for this is a Live video, but it works just as well on Instagram stories through question stickers. Tip: prepare some questions in advance to kick off the Q&A or to use during lulls.
  • Updates & announcements: got some exciting news or a new product launch to share with the world? Why not announce it live. Take Apple for example, their live launch events attract thousands of people online. Tip: of course you know you’ve got something new and exciting to share, but your audience doesn’t. Prepare a few teasers the days before your announcement, that way more people will tune in the day of.
  • Behind the scenes: showing a unique, behind the scene look of an event, a ‘day in the life’ of someone from your team or a production process in your company shows a lot of transparency and helps your followers connect with your brand on a more personal level. Tip: avoid lulls, be prepared! Prepare a sort of script in advance with key things to show, say or do.
  • Interviews: sharing conversations with employees, partners, experts or key figures in your sector is another great way of informing people about your brand or sector, and of having them connect with you. Tip: Once again: interact with your audience! If you’re just doing a one-to-one interview with predefined questions, you’re better off posting it as an edited video at a later time. The live option offers a great opportunity to interact with viewers and get them involved.
  • Social media takeovers: If you follow National Geographic on Instagram, you might have seen a celebrity takeover from time to time. More and more, brands are doing social media takeovers. This is when experts in the field of the company, or other influential people, take over the brand’s social media for a day or couple of hours. An interesting way to gain more credibility and to tap into a broader audience. Tip: to really create a win-win situation for both you and the person taking over your socials, choose that person wisely. Go for someone whose expertise, opinions, insights… reflect your company’s activities and/or values.

3. What’s in it for me?

Right, we’ve covered the basics. But the burning question on everyone’s lips still remains: what’s in it for me? Going live can have great benefits for your brand. These are some of the most interesting ones:

  • Interactivity: a live coverage creates a momentum in which you are speaking to your audience, and they are listening at the exact same time. Within this rare moment, you get to interact with your audience on a deeper and more meaningful level, and vice versa.
  • Transparency: no retakes, no edits, no enhancements. Live content is uncut content, more honest and real. It creates a personal connection that forms a level of trust in your brand. Especially when you include a behind the scene approach, and allow for a genuine and open dialogue with your audience.
  • Lead generation: going live is a great way to attract a larger audience, generate more traffic and create online visibility. Because of its immediate interaction, you reach and connect with more viewers than you would from a ‘normal’ post. You can afterwards retarget the people who interacted with your live content, for your other marketing objectives.
  • Building a Community: an audience that’s involved with your social content can become part of a close-knit community. Not only can you communicate directly and more honestly to your audience by answering questions, send updates and share real-time information, your community is more involved with you but also each other. They can see reactions and comments of other consumers, which creates a sort of referral effect.
  • Humanise your brand: behind the scene footage, a day in the lives of your employees or a Q&A with your CEO will (literally) put a face on your brand. Live communication is a lot less corporate, and shows the people and values behind a company.
  • Extend the lifetime value of an event: doing a live coverage of an event generates rich and original content, which can later be used for other marketing purposes. This valuable content could serve to promote future events, to use for your general branding, to present the event as a case study or even to attract new talent via recruitment campaigns.

All these different advantages help you grow your audience and build meaningful – and most importantly, trusted – relationships with your fans and prospects.

4. Dot the i’s with KPIs

Now that this article got you all excited about doing a live coverage, you still need to convince your boss that it’s a great idea. How do you measure the true success of your campaign, and prove its added value for your business?

  • Audience engagement: engagements such as likes, comments, clicks and photo views are the most obvious and clear way to tell what people think about your live content. For Facebook videos for example, the video engagement rate shows the percentage of viewers who took any type of action with your video. People who engage with your posts/videos show a higher level of interest in your content. Make sure to monitor closely whether the general feeling of your engaged audience is positive or negative. Of course, you want them to like your content, not dislike it.
  • Viewer retention: another significant indicator for measuring the impact of your live efforts is viewer retention. This can be determined through a few video metrics, such as 10 second views, video average watch time, minutes viewed and peak live viewers. Optimising your content according to these metrics is key for maximum audience retention and engagement, and for the success of your live coverage. So keep a close eye on these metrics during your live coverage, keep your content engaging and your audience involved.
  • Reach: old but gold, reach gives a great overall view of the performance of your content. Cross-referencing the exact number of people who have seen your content with audience engagement and retention provides an in-depth analysis of your live coverage. You can increase your organic reach in a few ways. When people like, comment on or share your posts, their friends and followers will also get to see them. Another approach to augmenting your organic reach is by creating interesting content that is tailor-made for your desired target audience. The Facebook algorithm usually aims to show users the content that’s most relevant to them specifically. The more targeted your content, the more likely you’ll boost your reach.
  • Hashtag monitoring: our final metric is to get a thorough view and understanding of the general opinion of your audience. Of course the easiest way for this is to look at the comments and shares of your posts, but don’t stop there. Dig a little deeper into the world wide web by monitoring hashtags on social media. For this, it is imperative to determine a few dedicated hashtags to use during your live coverage. This will make it a lot easier to find out how your content is being perceived.

Are you still not sure if going live is beneficial to your brand, or how to go about it? Ask us anything!

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