In recent years, video has taken over the marketing scene. But don’t take my word for it. Wyzowl reports that 87% of businesses use video as a marketing tool.

With so many businesses closed in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, brands need to find ways to stay engaged with their customers. Without an in-store presence, there’s a distinct lack of human connection. Video has emerged as a way to fill that connection.

One specific form of video I’ve seen used very effectively is live video. Live video allows businesses to put a face to the brand in an engaging, personal way. It’s not pre-recorded in advance. It’s in-the-moment, real-time marketing.

For faceless social media pages, live video adds an entirely new dimension of personality. People don’t often think about the faces behind the brand. That direct interaction can foster engagement and loyalty.

Here’s eight quick tips for using live video to boost social media engagement.

Go in with a plan. It’s easier than ever to just go ahead and start a live video. Anyone can do it at the push of a button. Resist the urge and come up with a plan. Before setting up a live video session, you need to consider a few factors. Consider how long your video is going to be. How’s the lighting? Have you checked your audio? Planning is paramount, especially when you’re dealing with a live situation.

Leverage your brand. Any live video you record needs to represent what your brand stands for. Whether your video is featuring a live tutorial, Q&A session, social trivia, or something else entirely, its purpose should be tied to your brand values.

Seek to provide value. Is your goal to entertain? Inform? Both? Aim to provide value. If you want your followers to postpone their Netflix binge, their needs to be some sort of incentive. Give your customers a reason to watch. If you really want to sweeten the deal, you can provide viewers with an exclusive promo code or even feature a sweepstakes. Don’t just start your live video without establishing value.

Live stream your podcast. Does your brand already record a podcast? Try doing it live. Not only are many popular podcasts recorded live, they’re also done on camera. This might be something to consider if you haven’t before. The show can, of course, still be posted on podcast feeds afterwards.

Promote in advance. If you’re hosting a live video, you’re going to want to let your followers know about it in advance. Your social media followers will get an alert that you just started a live video, but that may not attract the audience you’re looking for. When you promote in advance, it becomes appointment viewing.

Real-time engagement. Because your video is being live streamed on social media, your followers can comment and engage in real time. Make use of that. Interact with your followers. Ask them questions. Engage. Even if just a few followers are watching, directly engaging with them can be very effective toward deepening brand loyalty

Promote impulse visits and sales. Want to fuel impulse visits to your business (after the pandemic)? How about purchases? With live video, you can highlight current sales, ongoing/upcoming events, and more. You can show off products that are on sale, demonstrating them to followers in real time.

Humanize your brand. Like I said, live video lets you put a face to the brand. If you’re making live video a consistent thing, use consistent faces. If your business’s regulars are familiar with your staff, consider featuring someone that frequently interacts with customers. Use the format to show off the personality of whoever’s on camera. Your followers will love it.

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Have your social media pages tried live video? Sound off in the comments!