Should your social media marketing mix have live video as a component?
Social media marketing continues to evolve. And, yes. You probably should go live. On all the platforms. And, if you’re like me, you’ll have thoughts along the lines of:
“Why would anyone care about my shaky, dark, shitty, Facebook Live broadcast of grandpa telling jokes?”
“Oh, great. Another Facebook Live video of Seth juggling plates of mashed potatoes.”*
And yet we watch it. Sure, part of that viewership is due to the platforms surfacing content from their newest feature launches (live video). But they wouldn’t keep surfacing it if we weren’t watching.
As a strategist at a digital agency that provides social media marketing, I’m interested in what’s driving the behavior. My hunch is it has a lot to do with why TV networks gave Trump so much airtime this election cycle: there’s no way of predicting what might happen in a live broadcast– maybe it’s entirely mundane. But maybe, just maybe, you’ll be among the first to show or see something wild, crazy, or cool.
Social media marketing is– and always has been– chock full of garbage. But that’s ok (in the long run).
Early adopters of the major social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat posted some really dumb, really boring shit. Still do. But in the beginning it was cool because the platforms were new. And, by the time the platform novelty had worn off, we’d figured out (decided?) how, when, and why to use the platforms. I mean, how many tweets or Instagrams about my lunch or EDC does anyone truly need?
But it was that massive, self-directed experimentation that helped the platforms develop and helped us learn how to use them. There’s still a lot of inane garbage. But there are also some gems. So, if you think about Facebook Live– and Twitter Live, Instagram Live, and whatever comes next– with Clay Shirky’s cognitive surplus as a framework, it makes a lot more sense. We had pulp fiction and romance novels before we had science journals and literature. We’re going to have a lot of shitty, shitty, Facebook Live videos from the social media marketing departments at brands before we have whatever the live, user generated content version of broadcast video will turn out to be. Adweek thinks Snapchat TV is looking more like a TV disruptor than a social media platform.
A few thoughts for brands on how to go “live” on Facebook or the other social media platforms that offer live video:
- It’s ok to experiment, but make sure you have a testable hypothesis.
- Facebook and the other platforms are surfacing live video more often (too often?). It’s a great way to break through that Facebook ads paywall. For now, anyway.
- Cement has seen a direct correlation between social engagement and organic search rankings. The more engagement you can get from your social media marketing efforts, the better your organic search rankings should do. Right now, Facebook Live is an engagement machine.
- If you’re going live, understand that you’re now a performer. So set the stage for serendipity. Don’t fall for the traditional management trap of minimizing all the unknowns. Embrace them, adapt as they pop up. Live video is a great opportunity to surprise and delight your fans and customers.
*No, I can’t juggle plates of mashed potatoes. But I could go Live and try. And it’d probably be a mess and get lots of likes and views.