LinkedIn Live is here and you want to use it for marketing.
But before you dive in and start going live, make sure you get all the information you need.
Good news. It’s in this post.
First, What’s the Big Deal About Live Video?
I think I can safely assume that, as marketers and business owners, you’re aware of the impact video’s had on marketing.
Specifically, it’s what your audience wants to see, no matter what industry you’re in.
But as the video phenomenon continues to grow, one type, in particular, has received a lot of attention: live video.
Live video, as you can imagine, is a video that hasn’t been pre-recorded, edited, and uploaded. It’s a video done totally live, in it’s rawest, and purest, form.
And audiences love them.
According to a study by Livestream, 80% would rather watch a live video than read a blog, and 82% prefer a live video from a brand to social posts.
Moreover, an experiment by Agora Pulse revealed that when uploading live vs. pre-recorded videos to Facebook, live videos had an incredible 222% higher reach than uploaded videos.
And reach wasn’t the only major discrepancy. Engagement for live videos also proved to be through the roof. Live videos on Facebook saw 240.87% higher reactions, 1389% higher comments, and 425.7% higher shares.
In the day and age where engagement on social media is everything, it’s no surprise that LinkedIn decided to get in on the action.
LinkedIn Live: An Introduction
LinkedIn hasn’t exactly been on top of the video craze.
While other social networks were experimenting with the format as early as 2013, LinkedIn didn’t roll out videos until August 2017.
“Video is the fastest growing format on our platform right now, and the one most likely to get people talking,” director of product management at LinkedIn Pete Davies told TechCrunch.
With millions of people using videos and a general boost in overall traffic to the site, I think it’s safe to say that video on LinkedIn has proved as popular as on other social channels.
But until now, it’s been missing out on one of the most valuable additions to social videos – the live video.
Davies continued to tell TechCrunch that live video has been the most requested feature from LinkedIn users.
And now, LinkedIn’s delivering.
Much like Live video on similar social platforms, users will be able to interact with the videos by liking, commenting, and asking questions in real time, while hosts will be able to moderate.
As of now, LinkedIn Live is in beta and only available in the US. It’s also strictly invitation-only, meaning that the feature isn’t open to the public yet and, for the time being, will require an invitation to partake.
LinkedIn has stated that they will be posting a contact form for users who want to start using LinkedIn Live.
Though it undoubtedly will do big things for overall LinkedIn engagement, some suggest that monetization is the ultimate goal for the big wigs at LinkedIn and Microsoft (who owns the platform).
There are no plans to include ads in the live videos just yet, though TechCrunch also reported that LinkedIn insiders say that will likely come “down the road.
TechCrunch also makes the interesting point that the new feature could present an opportunity for LinkedIn to monetize instead by charging a fee for access to certain industry events, etc.
Why Brands Should Care About LinkedIn Live
Though its invitation-only for now, it seems reasonable that before long, the Live feature will be available to all LinkedIn users.
Which means brands that start brainstorming now will have a major leg up when that time inevitably comes.
Capitalizing on a new trend – before your competition does – is a major win when it comes to marketing.
It positions you as a front runner and innovator in your niche, and needless to say looks very good to your audience.
And, the fact that this is LinkedIn we’re talking about represents a big opportunity for business.
Not only is it home to over 600 million users, but it’s one of the only social platforms where brands and the people behind them still have center stage.
While Facebook, Instagram, and the like focus more and more on personal relationships and less on brand reach, LinkedIn’s audience still come to the platform to find industry and business-related content.
And as we’ve seen, video is one of the preferred ways to consume that content.
In fact, a survey by LinkedIn found that 62% of B2Bs report video content builds more brand awareness, and video engagement helps them identify higher-quality leads (78%) and drives more leads overall (57%).
Given the popularity of Live video on other channels, it stands to reason that LinkedIn Live will be a similar hit.
And, though still business-focused, Live video offers a way to bring a more personal touch to your brand.
Unlike uploaded, pre-recorded video, Live video gives you the opportunity to interact with your audience in real time. You can reply to questions, give shout outs and ask for interaction during your video, without having to wait for the comments to come in on your post.
LinkedIn Live Considerations
LinkedIn’s biggest difference – and benefit – has always been that it caters to a more business-oriented crowd.
In a way, it’s the least “social” of the social media platforms.
Unlike its counterparts like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., LinkedIn isn’t rooted in casual conversation and showing off the fun, lighter site of a brand.
Instead, it’s focused on highlighting business connections, networking, and spreading thought leadership and expertise.
As such, it will be interesting to see if what makes Live video so popular on those other platforms – namely it’s raw, down-to-earth appeal – will translate to the LinkedIn.
I think it’s fair to say that the rise of Live video has also given rise to a lot of poor quality, hasty videos.
And while brands can (sometimes) get away with that on other channels, LinkedIn is a place where brands strive to come across as professional as possible.
Which means that the nature of Live videos may be a bit different on LinkedIn.
Now, it’s far too soon to say what exactly this feature will look like, but LinkedIn seems to be preparing for a more polished approach to Live video.
Its sister company, Microsoft Azure Media Services, is providing cloud services for LinkedIn live streaming, and the platform is partnering with third-party live-streaming services like Wirecast, Switcher Studio, Brandlive, etc. so that the video creators on these platforms can use them to produce polished live videos on LinkedIn.
It also means that you may not enter with LinkedIn Live without a solid strategy. While Live videos are often done on the fly, it’s incredibly important that everything you produce on this platform exists to add value to your audience.
My advice: take the “live” part loosely, and never enter into it without clear intent. Always have something planned and relevant to say to your target audience.
Getting Started With LinkedIn Live
As I mentioned above, now’s the perfect time to start brainstorming how your brand can take advantage of LinkedIn Live.
Though we don’t have any case studies or examples to pull from, we do know that LinkedIn plans to feature content that’s very on-brand with what’s typically produced on the platform.
Here’s what you can expect to see as LinkedIn Live grows.
This type of video has become a social media staple and caters extremely well to a B2B audience.
These are great for establishing thought leaders in your company or even featuring a few special “guest stars” to field some questions with you.
Tip for this one: make sure you have a large enough following that you can guarantee enough questions will come through; or, launch a campaign to gather questions beforehand.
Beyond that, try to give your viewers a theme to adhere to when submitting questions. Rather than “all your digital marketing questions answered,” stick something more focused like “leveraging social media for business.”
Conferences and Events
If you regularly attend industry conferences and events (*cough* which you should), bring your LinkedIn audience along via live stream.
Again, it will highlight your own investment in your industry as well as expose your audience to industry leaders and major events, meetups, awards, etc.
It doesn’t hurt that behind-the-scenes videos are some of the most sought-after on social media. Livestream reports that 87% of those surveyed would prefer to watch video online if it meant more access to behind-the-scenes content.
Breaking News or Industry Highlights
Being among the first to break or highlight a story is something every marketer dreams of, regardless of industry.
A live video format offers the perfect way to do that; after all, it’s all done in real time, so the time-consuming recording, editing, and uploading time is all eliminated.
This is also one occasion where it’s okay to bypass the polishing part. Breaking news is usually done off the cuff, and will look more legitimate without any edits.
Similarly, you may see brands begin to host regular industry chats to cover a news roundup or spotlight a particularly interesting new trend or development in their niche.
Another video staple, product demonstrations and releases aren’t going anywhere.
A live release can help create excitement for a new product or service, especially if you run an exclusive live showing just to your LinkedIn audience. For this one, you could easily launch an entire release campaign teasing the unveiling via live video on x date.
It’s also a great avenue for live demonstrations, as it allows you to get real time feedback and go over any aspects or features your audience has questions about.
Wrapping Up LinkedIn Live
Linked in Live is the logical next step for the social platform, and it seems clear it’s pulling some inspiration from the success of Facebook Live, etc.
Though still in (very) early days, I think it’s fair to say we’re all interested in where LinkedIn Live is going.