Livestreaming Your Content: Four Questions with Brian Fanzo By Brian Honigman

Repost from Reuters Content Solutions:In our monthly Four Questions series, we ask industry leaders their opinion on what it takes to drive long-lasting results with content marketing. For the second interview, we asked Brian Fanzo, Chief Digital Strategist at iSocialFanz LLC, @iSocialFanz on Twitter and live streaming advocate, to discuss how brands can build relationships with live streaming apps like Meerkat, Periscope, Facebook Live Video and others.

1. You recently participated in Applebee’s live streaming event called Taste The Change that was shared across Periscope, Meerkat, Livestream and on Applebees.com to highlight the free appetizers given away that day to celebrate the launch of their new menu options. What type of engagement were you and the other influencers involved looking to achieve on behalf of Applebee’s by livestreaming and how did the event perform?

BTC revolutions, the agency that hired Vincenzo Landino, Sunny Lenarduzzi and I, gave us a lot of creative freedom and trust which enabled us to engage and be ourselves on live stream.ApplebeesLiveStream

The goal was really to highlight the awesome mission of Applebee’s through the eyes of normal, everyday people. In terms of specific metrics monitored, we were looking at how many free appetizers were given away (2 million in total by the end of it) the use of the #TasteTheChange hashtag (which reached approximately a billion mentions) and overall views via the various live streaming apps.

The select influencers were supplied with Applebee’s gift cards to purchase food and then asked to share their experiences on live stream. All of the streams and social conversations around #TasteTheChange generated over one billion impressions!

Embracing new technologies and influencer marketing (guided by the team at BTC revolutions) allowed Applebee’s to take a smart risk. Applebee’s had confidence in their products and by allowing real people to tell that story – word of mouth marketing – amplified by live streaming applications equalled a huge success for them.

2. Why should a brand choose to spend time on Periscope, Meerkat, Facebook Live Video and other streaming channels etc. to reach their audience with valuable content over other types of platforms?

All brands want to be a authentic, want to engage with their audiences, and want to build a community. To do this they must be transparent. Engagement must be real, in real time, and they must find ways to “show you care.” Live streaming makes this possible like never before.

When I work with brands my philosophy is simple: “Think Like A Fan.” What that means is stepping back and putting your head and heart into your audience’s shoes and creating the experiences that they crave. Say you have a great company culture, you often talk about how great people at your company are, and you are confident you have a great product. Why not provide unique insights and share the stories behind these important elements that make your company great?

Live streaming doesn’t replace marketing. And it doesn’t replace sales. But, if a brand truly understands the importance of community and building relationships with their prospects, customers, and future employees – spending time live streaming is time well spent. There is nothing more powerful the allowing your audience and community to look you in the digital eyeballs.

IMG_67153. How does livestreaming help humanize the connection a brand has with its audience? What type of investment from a business does this connection require?

There’s no easy button when it comes to building relationships. The benefits for brands that allocate the time and resources to doing so are off the charts amazing. Brands are great because they have awesome people behind them. Nobody wakes up in the morning excited to hear from a logo or to have a relationship with the billboard.

But people do wake up excited to see the latest from brand employees, leaders, executives, and ambassadors. Brands that are willing to listen and show their community that they are heard -WIN!

Now, this does take time. And just because it’s real time and live doesn’t give a brand the excuse to not have a strategy. Much like building a traditional social media community, a content calendar and a plan to truly humanize your brand is essential. Live streaming requires commitment and you must be willing to fail. You must be willing to be authentic. You must be willing to listen.

4. What challenges should brands be aware of when investing in livestreaming moving forward, whether on a regular basis or at an event similar to the one held by Applebee’s?

Live streaming, like all technology, has its glitches. Live streaming will not reach all of your audience immediately and it will take time to truly understand its power.

I believe we are entering a new wave of influencer marketing. One that is linked to employee advocacy and brand storytelling which ultimately allows “real” people to tell the brand story through their eyes.

To make this possible brands must trust these individuals and ultimately they must have a story worth telling. Once those two criteria are met – the third and perhaps most important is the willingness to listen to the good, the bad and the ugly feedback from audiences.

Live streaming is new but brands who are early adopters are on the fast track to building relationships and communities of advocates and passionate fans at a scale we’ve never seen before!

Repost from Reuters Content Solutions http://solutions.reuters.com/livestreaming-your-content/