The advent of social media led to a new philosophy for marketers to get closer to consumers, engage in one-on-one conversations and so on, but the business case was often anecdotal. Then algorithms shifted and attention fragmented, leading to pay-to-play and content creation with paid distribution. Brands got a bit further from consumers, and social channels became avenues for delivering media. Could live video streaming change all of that?
Live video streaming started to take off about this time last year with the launch of Meerkat just prior to SXSW. It was followed quickly by Twitter-owned Periscope. Both allow users to quickly and easily stream video of what they’re doing to a community that’s able to ask questions and like content. Recently, Facebook got into the game, allowing users to live stream their experiences with friends. While the feature isn’t fully available for brands just yet, it likely will be in the near future.
Here to Stay but Will Brands Embrace It?
With Facebook on board, we can be sure that live video streaming is here to stay, and there really is no other social medium that is this intimate and unfiltered. Anything can happen, and it could potentially bring brands up close and personal with their audience again.
Live streaming offers significant potential for brands for product launches, demos, guides, exclusive content and so on. And all of that comes with the added benefit of immediate sharing that comes across as unfiltered and less polished than other brand content. The content is in the moment, and authenticity is more likely to show through.
All of this comes with risks. Accidents happen. Legal issues could come up (e.g., someone is caught on camera without permission), and whenever a brand goes live and other people can weigh in (e.g., Twitter chats, Reddit AMAs), unplanned actions and comments are sure to occur.
A Little Too Authentic?
Facebook getting into the live streaming game is no small thing. More people will see it, embrace it and try it themselves, and this may open them up to expecting more authentic, less polished social content from brands. The question for brands will be whether or not the risks outweigh the rewards, but the brands who embrace it early while consumers are growing aware of it, could stand out.