Live-streaming is becoming a larger part of how content is distributed and digested. Having begun with smartphone apps like Periscope and Meerkat, live-streaming is now a key feature of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, and becoming more mainstream by the minute.
Currently utilized most often by celebrities, thought leaders and media platforms, livestreaming has morphed into a way for the average Facebook user to engage with their interests in real time, providing a unique experience and level of accessibility that trumps status updates and Twitter replies.
Facebook Live currently leads the charge on this front, as users are able to leverage their smartphones to live-stream when and where they want, immediately connecting their friends and fans to the current moment. As part of this rollout, Facebook has added quite a few features that can be helpful for brands and those running a live-stream. For example, comments on the live-stream are shown at a slow, readable pace, allowing the live-streamer to read them and answer viewer questions. Comments using vulgar language are automatically filtered out, and the live-streamer can add users to a ‘blacklist’ preventing those individuals from engaging in the future. After the stream is over, users and fans will be able to access the content, similar to how they can view older posts. The video will lose the ‘Live’ tag, but it will be available to everyone as an archived piece of brand content.
How Will Live-Streaming Play a Role in the Pharmaceutical Industry?
The possibilities are endless. Live-streaming should not be looked at as a new channel, but rather a technology or vehicle to disperse content that is already being delivered through other means. Have a KOL speaking at a conference? Live-stream it. Running an earnings call for this quarter’s results? Live-stream it. Sponsoring a walk during a disease state awareness month? Live-stream it.
Why use Facebook Live over other tools such as Meerkat and Periscope? As many celebrities, brands and thought leaders already have established fan bases on Facebook, Facebook Live lets them utilize an already existing audience rather than trying to migrate fans to a new platform. This is extremely important for pharma brands, considering that Facebook reaches 93.7% of US desktop users age 55-64 and 88.8% of those same users age 45-54, more so than any other social platform. (Source: ComScore, June 2016) In fact, Facebook users are adopting Facebook Live video content very quickly, according to several industry statistics:
- The amount of videos shared by Facebook users has nearly doubled in 2015, a 94% increase from the prior year. (Source: Social Media Today, April 2016)
- Video posts receive 135% more organic reach to users on Facebook than photo posts, a format that was once typically the most engaging kind. In fact, Facebook is making a small update that will make live videos more likely to appear higher in News Feed, compared to after they are no longer live. (Source: Social Media Today, April 2016)
- Facebook now serves over 8 billion video views per day, which is double the amount the video content users were consuming in early 2015. (Source: Social Media Today, April 2016)
Here are a few tips to get your brand or company started on Facebook Live:
Prep your brand for user engagement and MLR considerations
- As with all social platforms, it is recommended to fully describe and vet all aspects of Facebook Live with your MLR team, including how users can engage with your brand.
- Exercise proactive methods in keeping the live conversation and user responses on-topic. Be descriptive in your accompanying livestream post, and clearly state the purpose of the livestream as soon as it starts. Additionally, clearly communicate the expectation from fans watching live that their questions will be monitored, and as such, any abusive language will be reported to Facebook, and the user will be blacklisted.
- Again, even though vulgar language will be automatically blocked, these extra steps will ensure that potential threats from community engagement will be limited.
- Since some questions or adverse events may arise from users that are not vulgar, many brands may feel more comfortable in leveraging Facebook Live for unbranded, community-building, or disease awareness opportunities.
Let your audience know you are going to be streaming
Leading up to the live-stream, be sure to leverage your social media profiles and other outbound communication to let your audience know when and how to tune in. Just as with any content promotion on social media, building up an audience can help increase shares and the reach of your live-stream.
Engage with your audience
Your audience will be able to comment, follow and engage with you while live-streaming. It is important acknowledge them, their comments and engage with them while live-streaming.
Encourage your audience to follow you
A great feature of Facebook Live is the ability for your audience to ‘follow’ you. This feature will alert them whenever you ‘go live’ and begin live-streaming. As you start a live-stream, fans of brand pages will receive pop-up notifications notifying them that a new live-stream video has started. This alert provides urgency to fans, and breaks through the clutter of posts in the newsfeeds. When live-streaming, it is a good idea to remind those watching to follow you.
Notifications for Facebook Live video sessions
As mentioned above, there are many opportunities for pharmaceutical companies to leverage live-streaming. But do not be afraid to step outside of the box and give your followers a behind the scenes look.