Live streaming video is on the rise. According to Feedly, “A recent study of 200 executives … found that 44 percent held a live streaming event in 2015 and 39 percent believe live streaming video will be important to their marketing efforts going forward.” Meerkat and Periscope were early to market, while Facebook Live rolled out last year, bringing live video capability to its billion-plus users.
YouNow.com, which launched in 2011, is an entire site devoted to live streaming video. With hundreds of thousands of users streaming live 24/7, you can tune in any time of day or night to watch people–mostly tweens–bare their souls (or simply go about their mundane business) for anyone with an Internet connection. You can even look in and comment on “sleep parties,” where groups of friends live stream themselves sleeping – like WiFi-powered sleepovers.
But unless you’re a social-media-immersed tween looking to share every waking (or sleeping) moment of your life, broadcasting live is scary. Brands are notoriously control-oriented, and video production is meticulously managed. Simply firing up a phone and going live is risky – but as we found out, it’s a heck of a lot of fun.
We at MRY have been following the live streaming trend for awhile now, and when inspiration struck–in the form of a fridge stocked with 5 years’ worth of leftovers and condiments–we decided to give it a go. Our resident Culture Czar (not his official title), Slate Donaldson, got fed up with the, quite frankly, disgusting state of our community fridges and spearheaded a massive cleanout. Once we realized the magnitude of the task at hand, we knew this needed to be shared.
So, we live streamed our entire fridge cleanout on Facebook and called it “The Big Ew.”
We broadcasted live for 45 minutes, and we consider it a resounding success. Here are 5 things we learned in the process:
START WITH A COMPELLING CONCEPT
Every agency has a shared fridge; we knew that a fridge cleanout was highly relatable – and the potential to discover truly gross things hidden inside gave the whole production a sense of drama and suspense. Anyone who’s ever opened a long-forgotten tub of hummus could imagine the kind of things our cleanout might reveal. The idea was gold – and green, and black, and … fuzzy. Ugh.
HAVE A PLAN – BUT DON’T BE AFRAID TO GO OFF-SCRIPT
Our event was hosted by our tuxedo-clad Senior Copywriter and aspiring voiceover artist David Bailey. We didn’t give him a script – we just made sure the funniest guy in the office was the one with microphone (which, by the way, was only a prop – the sound was entirely reliant on an iPhone mic). Bailey simply reacted to the horrors inside the fridge, giving running commentary to keep the flow of the event moving. It worked because our host was perfectly cast; so find the most hilarious person in your office and give them a stage – you won’t regret it.
PUT ONE PERSON IN CHARGE OF FILMING
Delegate one person to log into your brand’s Facebook account, set up the live stream post, and hold the phone. Technologically, it can be very simple: you just hit the “start broadcasting” button and go from there. But don’t forget: make sure the phone is fully charged!
If you prefer “It’s Complicated”, you can also integrate the Facebook Live API to certain devices.
DESIGNATE A COMMUNITY MANAGER
It’s almost impossible to both respond to comments in real time and keep filming, so have a community manager with a laptop nearby, logged in and ready to respond to incoming comments and questions. It’s a crucial part of the live streaming experience, and savvy viewers have come to expect live comment moderation.
GIVE THE PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANT
While you’re streaming, you can see how many people are tuned in at any given moment. As the designated “camera person,” I was monitoring peaks and valleys in our viewership. Any time we went in for a close up on something moldy, fuzzy, or mysterious (like the book [!?!] we found in a vegetable drawer), views spiked. When there was a lull in the action or we strayed from the moldy-leftovers porn, views dropped. So we learned as we went, optimizing for maximum live viewership.
After it was all said and done, we had a total of 9,000+ views of our video, a 45-minute unscripted peek inside the dirtiest place in any agency. (Who says long-form content can’t succeed?)
The bottom line? Next time something amazing is happening in your office, share it. Sure, something could go wrong – but it could also go very, very right.