What you missed at SMMW 2016

Thursday, May 12, 2016
What you missed at SMMW 2016

The social media & content marketing team at ThomasARTS recently joined 3,500 other digital savvy marketers at Social Media Marketing World for a whirlwind weekend of total social media immersion. You can bet there were lots of tweets and plenty of selfies. We left the conference feeling refreshed, a little sunburned, but mainly inspired by this year’s speakers and their valuable information.

We’ve combed through our extensive notes and have summarized what we feel is the most important takeaway. Hopefully, this will help guide your social media marketing efforts for the rest of the year and give you food for thought as you plan for 2017.

The big takeaway: Live video is the next big thing

OK, we’ll admit it may seem like another social media fad and the next in a long line of “big things,” but we think it’s not overhype to say that live video is going to be a game changer. As marketers, we know it’s getting harder and harder to draw in an audience. How can we break through all the digital clutter and reach our target audiences? Most of the speakers at SMMW emphasized the attention-grabbing potential of video, and dubbed 2016 “the year of live video.”

It’s interesting to note that 73 percent of marketers are increasing use of videos in 2016, but only 21 percent claim it is the most important form of content marketing. Our prediction is that we’ll see that number go up in the coming years. Here’s why:

Along with growing apps like Snapchat and Periscope, new apps like Blab and Livestream are starting to infiltrate the market. Even the big players are getting involved, like Facebook, who’s live video component (aptly titled Facebook Live) debuted in November of last year. Facebook is putting such a big focus on live video that the algorithm is shifting to allow more organic reach for Facebook Live videos during their live broadcast.

Why is there such a big push toward live video?

The numbers tell an important story. Snapchat is taking on Facebook, and Snapchat users now watch 10 billion videos per day. Periscope users reportedly consume 110 years’ worth of video per day; and even on newer apps like Blab, the average viewer watches 80 minutes of content per day, according to a fact revealed at SMMW by Shaan Puri, CEO of Blab. This all means that people are consuming a lot of visual content.

Content — both written and visual — is still vital for brands. Ninety percent of consumers find a company’s content useful. Consumers still expect transparency from organizations. Instead of being communicated to with neatly packaged messages that create a wall between the company and consumer, people want to be talked to and interacted with directly.

Currently, only 14 percent of marketers are using live video, but 50 percent of marketers will increase use of live video this year. Right now, only 5 percent of marketers are using Snapchat, so there is a great opportunity for early adopters to figure out how they can leverage that visual platform to reach audiences.

How can marketers leverage live video?

Below is a list of eight practical ways that brands can start using live video.

1)      Product Demonstrations: Live video gives the opportunity to showcase products, from tech demos to new releases to store openings. There is a lot of potential here.

2)      Customer Service: We already see brands using live chat for customer service purposes, so it makes sense that live video customer service will follow shortly.

3)      Gigs, Entertainment and Demos: These types of events and entertainment place the viewer right in the middle of the moment, which is one of the main appeals of social media in the first place.

4)      Events and News: Though this obviously makes sense for journalists and bloggers, brands have events and press conferences as well. Instead of expecting third parties to cover your event, why not broadcast it yourself?

5)      Conferences: Certain conferences allow you to live-stream the proceedings, so consider sharing what you’re learning, live.

6)      Interviews: This is something any brand can do. Interviews can feature people within your organization, or you can reach outward and interview a fan or loyal customer about your products and services.

7)      Exclusives: Bring exclusive content right to your fan base. Everyone feels special when they get to see something first in a unique way.

8)      Celebrities and Other Spokespeople: Live video is a way to bring brand spokespeople right to the front. Sure, it’s great to have a written endorsement about your product or services, but what if you could show people actually talking about your products in a live video stream? That’s a win.

The easiest way to get started with live video is on Facebook Live, where your brand most likely already has a following. Explore a few of these ideas and try out a couple that you feel would make sense for your brand. There’s really nothing to lose!

Though live video is still in the early-adoption phase, the early signs indicate this is where the world of brand engagement is headed.  Remember back in 2007 when Facebook was first starting out, and very few dreamed brands would have their own pages and profiles? Sometimes the craziest ideas actually become part of the mainstream.



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