FOMO and the power of a great presenter: 5 tips for creating great live content

Primark’s Go Get & Gift event on Facebook Live

Creating great live content for social media requires a completely different approach from making a traditional brand film. To really hold an audience’s attention, brands need to think about interactivity, giving viewers control over a narrative and creating content that will keep them engaged for more than 30 seconds. Here, videographer Sophie Kostrowski and producer Sian Hainsworth share some tips based on their experience in digital publishing and live TV…

1. Use the power of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)

When it comes to live broadcast, it’s the oldest trick in the book: always tell your viewers what’s coming up, what they could miss and why they need to stay tuned. Use the power of FOMO to attract an audience and hold their attention. This can be done through building tension – the most famous example of this is Buzzfeed’s watermelon video, which has been viewed more than 11 million times.

Watch us explode this watermelon one rubber band at a time!

Posted by BuzzFeed on Freitag, 8. April 2016

BoohooMan used a similar technique to promote its Cyber Monday sale in November last year. Facebook Live viewers were invited to leave a comment with the word pump to inflate a balloon and whoever popped the balloon would receive £500 in vouchers. The video had over 380,000 viewers and 528,000 comments – proof of the power of FOMO (and the promise of some freebies).

????COMPETITION TIME ????Every time you comment "PUMP", the balloon will automatically inflate. Whoever's "PUMP" explodes the balloon over wins £500 worth of vouchers!To celebrate Cyber Monday, we're giving 50% off EVERYTHING at with code "SPECIAL50"!

Posted by boohooMAN on Montag, 28. November 2016

2. Scrap what you already know about video

Live has its own rules. If you try to take a regular video idea and live stream it, all you are doing is adding an element of risk – it will not translate to higher engagement. The main reason live videos get higher engagement is that the viewer can change the outcome. And if a viewer can influence the outcome, they will keep watching to see what happens. Tomcat animal repellent created an interactive story using puppets. This might have been amusing as a traditional video ad but allowing the audience to vote on each character’s fate via Facebook Live added an extra layer of engagement:

Tomcat Facebook Not Live

Tomcat presents Facebook Not Live. It's the Facebook Live event where you choose which fast way each mouse dies.

Posted by Tomcat on Montag, 31. Oktober 2016

Entertainment company Super Deluxe also created a new take on the classic Telenova format for Facebook Live. The action on-screen was paused at regular intervals while the audience voted on the outcome of each situation. This gives the audience a role in the content and creates an exciting piece of video with an unpredictable outcome.

This kind of content must be approached in a completely different way to a post-produced and polished video. It must be reactive and malleable to create an experience that the audience can have fun being part of.

3. Don’t do live for live’s sake

Some brands create live content because they want to use a certain technology or showcase a particular product – but it is vital that a strong idea is at the heart of what you produce. It might sound like common sense but creating entertaining content will ensure that your live video is both viewed and engaged with.

Here we see ASOS answer summer fashion questions from their Facebook Live audience:

Got dress stress? Don't worry, we've got you. Whether you're hitting up a summer wedding or heading out on a fancy mate date, our panel are here to solve your dress-up dilemmas. Join us for a masterclass in taking your fanciest threads to the next level.

Posted by ASOS on Mittwoch, 31. Mai 2017

The video works as it is brand centric but it’s also tailored perfectly for their demographic: women who want help finding the perfect outfit for a summer occasion, whether that’s a wedding, a prom or a trip abroad. Shoppers were able to submit questions for the experts via Facebook Live and receive an instant response. Some questions were also answered in writing to ensure that as many people as possible received a reply.

4. Use a range of platforms to drive engagement

There’s no point using the power of live without putting consumer engagement at the heart of your production. Use each social platform to ensure you are drawing in consumers and boosting the reach of your live content through meaningful engagements. We worked with creative agency Impero to create self-contained content for four different social platforms to engage Primark’s audience and promote the brand’s Facebook Live Christmas event Go Get & Gift last year.

The event was composed of five episodes and broadcast over 12 hours. Each episode combined product demos with games and challenges and viewers could win prizes by answering questions and leaving comments. Episodes clocked up hundreds of thousands of views and thousands of comments.

Additional social content should work well as standalone posts and be created with the relevant platforms in mind. Posts should promote and support the live social video and brands should utilise content from live events to create engaging content for other platforms.

5. Work with a strong presenter 

All live presenters have the skills to present other formats but not all presenters, vloggers or comedians have the skills to present live. There is always the chance that something could go wrong with live broadcasts and it takes humour and quick-thinking to stop a gaffe from reflecting badly on your brand or product.

Sophie Kostrowski is Head of Creative at live social content agency Live & Wired. Sian Hainsworth is Live & Wired’s head of production. Hainsworth has worked on live shows for BBC and Channel 4 and was a video producer for Northern and Shell before joining Live & Wired. Kostrowski has worked as a radio presenter and videographer for NME and Kerrang! Live & Wired is backed by Impero founder Michael Scantlebury.

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