The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (It’s already happening on Facebook Live)

You may have noticed that your friends on Facebook, and especially media outlets have started going live on Facebook (Instagram recently launched a similar feature).

It’s becoming the new way of covering live events – big and small. Linear TV is, as we all know, dying a slow and rather painful death. Entertaining or informative content, is not. We have completely changed the way we consume media. We still watch “TV”, but we do it on other platforms. And “bite sized” video content is becoming more and more popular, as we watch it on the bus, the MRT or at any time of the day when we’re bored (and lets face it, people in 2017 are bored a lot, our attention span has fallen dramatically).

The Live revolution has just begun. It is changing the news landscape, it is changing personal video blogging – and it is, and will be changing, branded content marketing. Now, with apologies to the late Gil Scot-Heron, this clear mis-appropriation of his seminal 1970 anti-establisment and anti-brand poem/song “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”, does end with a reality that is happening right now: “The revolution will be no re-run, brothers, The revolution will be live.” What he didn’t realise, was that even if it’s not on TV, it will be broadcast in social media. And people will, and can follow any happening around the world, whether it’s of an anti-establisment uprising, like Gil was calling for, or a brand demonstrating it’s products or services to a truly engaged audience (which I’m pretty sure, Gil was in no way would support).

Live services have been around for a year or two, most notably with Twitter’s Periscope and the now defunct Meerkat. (We wrote a blog post on this in 2015). But it wasn’t until Facebook integrated live video in its service that live video started to take off. Today, al the major news  outlets, from the traditional TV stations to the newspapers and net-based news outlets are taking advantage of the opportunity to be live where people are actually watching – not on their TV’s , but on their devices. 

Brands have this same possibility, and some are already all over this. In Asia, we are lagging behind a bit, so this opens up huge opportunities for brands that want to take a leading position, rather than being a follower. But just because you can go live (and unscripted), doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a plan for what you want your live presences and live persona should be. Any branded content efforts must be based on a strong digital strategy. What is it you want to achieve? What’s your purpose? How should your brand be perceived? And what is your idea when you go live. The key, as always, is to talk about something that interest the audience – not what you think you need to say. They don’t care about how amazing your brand is, or if you’re just showing them something they already know. Live is a real opportunity to connect. You can still do product demos, if they are interesting and relevant (think beauty brands, cooking ingredients etc.). you could do brand stories, interviews, anything really, as long as it’s on strategy – and interesting to the viewers.

It’s important to create the videos in a way that feels genuine and real, while still retaining a production quality that shows that you’re serious about using live. You don’t need a full pro set-up, but don’t just pick up your phone and start shooting. This is a representation of your brand, not a personal video. After the live segment, the segment must be made available to the audience for later viewing. you can also shoot in a way that allows you to edit smaller videos, behind the scenes, trailers etc. that you can portion out, providing you with video content that’s ready for syndication across all your chanels (web, Instagram, WeChat, Snapchat etc.You’re going to have to put some media dollars behind this, but it’s well worth it.

All in all, Facebook Live, is probably one of the best content marketing opportunities for brands in 2017. Time to get the content strategy ready to go! 

I’ll leave you with Gil’s powerful message, for context and out of respect for the real revolution he was talking about.

Erik Ingvoldstad is the Founder & CEO of Acoustic.
Follow Erik on Twitter @ingvoldSTAR, follow Acoustic at @AcousticGroupSG
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