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6 awesome live video campaigns and what you can learn from them

The era of live video thus far has been both an exciting and scary time for marketers.  The business case is glaringly clear: video posts have 135% greater organic reach than photo posts. People spend 3x longer watching video that’s live versus pre-recorded (SocialMediaToday). What this means, though, is sharing raw, unedited content with hundreds, thousands, potentially millions of watching fans and customers.  Um… talk about pressure!

The great news: beyond the basic logistics of set up, there’s no “right way” to do Facebook Live. As long as your video campaigns are driven by a foundational understanding of your brand and your customer, live video is a chance for your team to have a bit of fun and let your creative flags fly.  

Whether you’re just starting out with live video or are looking for a bit of inspiration for your next campaign, your best available asset is the brands that are getting it right. I’ve put together a few examples below - and what you can learn from them. 

1 - Benefit gives makeup tips over a glass of wine

The cosmetics brand launched their own weekly series named “Tipsy Tricks.” In each episode, host Stephanie enjoys a glass of wine with her guest as they demonstrate makeup techniques around a particular theme. 

The Benefit brand knows their audience well. The casual conversation and the fun personalities of both guests paired with makeup tips and product recommendations makes for a great show. Benefit knows exactly what their customers come to Facebook for - to kill time and to be entertained - for which this show works perfectly.  

Why this show is successful: Yes, Benefit ultimately hopes that users will visit their website - but the show is not driven by any sales metrics. Rather, by creating unique content for the Facebook platform and broadcasting the same time every week, their fans know they’re tuning in for content that they won’t find anywhere else.

2 - BuzzFeed bursts a watermelon with rubberbands 

How many rubber bands does it take to burst a watermelon? I doubt anyone had ever asked themselves that question before now, but when there’s a live video of 2 people trying to see how many it takes… you know you’re intrigued.

The stream ran for 45-minutes as thousands found themselves watching in anticipation.

Buzzfeed reported that the video reached 807,000 viewers. And at the time of writing this, the video has been viewed 11,115,665 times. 

(And because I know you want to know - it took 686 rubberbands.) 

Why this was successful: It was something extremely entertaining that you wouldn’t expect to be - along with the silliness of it. One of the key tenets of successful content will always be to inform and educate - but entertaining is equally as powerful.  BuzzFeed’s video is also a prime example that a big budget isn’t necessary to create great live content.

3 - Dunkin Donuts gives fans a peek inside their kitchen

The iconic donut brand welcomed viewers into their kitchen in anticipation of Valentine's day for their first ever Facebook Live video.  Their announcement about the broadcast geared up viewers for a surprise: “Our first-ever LIVE TOUR of the DD test kitchen + big announcement for engaged Valentines!”

Within 13 minutes their live stream had pulled in 21,000 viewers. 

The video was clearly rehearsed, but it was the perfect balance of structure and that unpolished feel that comes with live videos.

Why it was successful:

  • They gave a brief backstory of the brand’s long history – brand loyalty
  • They showed their viewers how they made their famous donuts – curiosity
  • They answered their viewers’ questions – engagement
  • The announcement was that they were giving away $10,000 for the best engagement story that their viewers shared with them – incentive + value

5 - Grazia publishes a week-long issue via Facebook Live

In June, the popular Italian fashion magazine published the Grazia x Facebook Live Edition: throughout the week they streamed live events including a mix of fashion tips, behind the scenes info on cover shoots, a music performance - among other videos - culminating in a live stream Brexit debateone week before the historic EU referendum. 

The magazine was able to test the popularity of different video lengths and topics - their videos throughout the week ranged from 10 minutes to hour-long broadcasts - using these insights to inform editorial.

Why this was successful: Facebook Live was particularly powerful for Grazia because it was a new and refreshing way to engage live with viewers via the comments section of each Facebook broadcast that just isn’t possible through their normal publication. They drew in their readers to have a peek into aspects of their brand that they wouldn't normally see - a common theme among all of the campaigns on this list. Regardless of the fact that it’s live and public, the "sneak peek" factor still adds a feeling of exclusivity that viewers love. 

The team and talent involved also made sure to create buzz about each broadcast through announcements across other social channels. Even “unplanned” content needs to be planned for. 

6 - The Voice: Drawing Board games, live pre-show parties and more 

The Voice has gotten really creative in the different ways they’ve used Facebook Live, from playing a Drawing Board game with their Top 11 while viewers give them live feedback through comments, to Facebook live pre-show parties, and real-time reactions with the show’s contestants

While The Voice has the benefit of having successfully built a very dedicated fan base, they’ve fine-tuned how to leverage and engage this fandom. The Drawing Board game in particular is a great example of a clever way to let viewers see the contestants’ personalities outside of the show through a fun game in a casual setting - making it feel personal. 

Why this is successful: Facebook Live is about much more than just watching. As a marketer you must ask yourself: how am I making my viewers part of the experience? Without a defined engagement plan, even the most creative live video campaign is bound to fall flat. Successful brands plan their live video broadcasts around this critical point.


Interested in hands-on learning to build and execute your video strategy? Check out our upcoming Social Media Strategies Summit programs for dedicated sessions on video strategy, case studies and more at www.socialmediastrategiessummit.com.


Breanna Jacobs photo

Breanna Jacobs manages GSMI’s conference production team and is the lead for the company’s digital marketing conference portfolio. She produces 8+ conferences per year, working directly with senior level speakers and collaborating with marketing and sales teams to drive event publicity and content marketing initiatives.

She’s researched and launched several new, successful programs from scratch including the UX Strategies Summit, Mobile+Web Developer Conference and the Brand Strategy Conference.

Prior to GSMI, Breanna was an ESL teacher, studied and taught abroad in Spain (Olé!). She graduated with a BA in Global Studies from UC Santa Barbara. She’s a runner, bookworm, and traveler.

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