Although live streaming content is not a new trend in the digital media realm, as of late it’s certainly receiving a major push from the big players in social media. To stay on top of this trend, banks must find a strategy that enables them to participate in live streaming (via social media) in ways that keep them both within industry regulations and still relevant to consumers in a world oversaturated with click-bait marketing content. My recent BANK ON IT Podcast guest, Ian Cleary, is the president of RazorSocial.com, and he took some time to discuss live streaming content strategy with us.
For social media professionals, platforms like Periscope, Blab and Meerkat are familiar names that specialize in live streaming content. But for companies that look to use these platforms for branding purposes, it is important to understand why the scales of these services are important. Currently, one of the most popular live-streaming-only services is Periscope with 10 million users, which at first glance does seem like a significant amount. That is, however, until you consider that the membership is 10 million users across the world. For social media giants like YouTube or Facebook, that figure is minimal, with each boasting well over a billion users worldwide. Those are figures that yield better results when it comes to branding efforts geared towards a specific demographic. Fortunately, both Facebook and YouTube are gearing up to enter the live streaming space – and that presents a tremendous opportunity for banks.
Facebook is known to constantly change its algorithm in order to promote one type of content or another. Currently, Facebook has already enabled live streaming via mobile application, and they are actively promoting live streaming more so than traditional forms of content such as blog posts and photos. According to Ian Cleary, financial institutions utilizing live streaming on Facebook can easily obtain extra views just by virtue of participating in this post format, which is currently prioritized to appear more often according to Facebook’s algorithm. Those extra views count as organic traffic, which can potentially convert into extra “likes”, and ultimately extra customers. YouTube, similar in size and premise, is set to release its live streaming option via mobile application over the next coming months.
Banks should also mix their live streaming content between planned/scripted “broadcasts” and candid live moments. A weekly Q&A session can be a great way for banks to connect with consumers by helping them strategize financially for the week or answer general questions for both current customers and potential clients. This is a great strategy for building consumer relationships. For a more spontaneous live session – a bank can live stream a ribbon-cutting ceremony and welcome local customers into their new branch. Banks are not strangers to public events, fairs, and promotional outings – which are all prime for live streaming content. However, any bank should exercise caution to stay within regulations while live streaming. An impromptu stream of customer service interaction can violate a customer’s privacy and create more problems than the opportunities.
Ian Cleary believes that financial institutions should try to stick to boosting content that they know customers already like. Promoting or boosting a post that isn’t getting very many likes organically will result in more of the same problem. If your audience didn’t care for something organically, they will care for it even less when it is pushed up their news feed. Facebook offers analytic tools for live streaming that most social media professionals are already familiar with, which means they can analyze the data collected for live streaming the same way they analyze the data of a common blog post. When Google releases the YouTube Live app, banks will be able to advertise their live streams against key words that could easily connect a customer, searching for content on personal loans, to a financial expert discussing personal loans via live streaming.
If a bank is not already equipped with live streaming content that could be popular with their audience on Facebook and YouTube, Ian Cleary suggests to analyze what type of content your customers are searching for in order to build live session topics from that data. Then, turning those topics into regular weekly sessions so that you’ll be able to leverage and commit to careful targeted advertising. If a viewer watches 90% of a stream about refinancing their home, the likely-hood that they’re planning to refinance their home is pretty high. At its core, the idea behind live streaming is not necessarily about inventing new content or awkwardly challenging your audience to participate in unfamiliar ways. In fact, Ian Cleary believes, it is just the opposite.
“It’s not a completely different world. It’s just a new way of building that relationship and we need to invest a bit of time figuring out how do we do it as a bank,” says Mr. Cleary. “We’re still [in] relationships… where banks got business through relationships and now we’ve got other opportunities, and different ways of building relationships and we can build relationships at scale.”
One last bit of advice Ian Cleary shared for the banks looking into live streaming content is to use an application called Wirecast. It allows users to use one live stream and broadcast to both Facebook and YouTube simultaneously. It also allows swapping sources between mobile and PC cameras, so linking people in different locations is very manageable.
What’re your thoughts on live streaming content for a financial institutions marketing strategy? Let us know in the comments below!