Why live video is the easiest growth hack for your content strategy

Photo by Redd Angelo on Unsplash

It’s like boosting a post — for free.

Live video is nothing new, it has been slowly taking over our social media for the past few years. Although YouTube Live has been around since 2008, Instagram only added live video to stories in 2016. That same year was when Facebook announced it was changing its algorithm to prioritize live video.

Content kings used to offer spaced out, quality content. Consistency was more important than quantity. The traditional logic was to post regularly and keep subscribers and followers coming back for more. But, that’s no longer the case. So, why is live video the #1 growth hack for content?

1. More content = More views

Using live video, you can create your content faster by eliminating the need for extensive editing. The more content you can create, the more chances you have to increase your view count, attract new viewers to your account and grow your following.

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

Viewers understand content is live, so expect less video and audio quality. They also anticipate live videos will consist of easy-to-make content such as interviews, behind-the-scenes sneak peeks and vlog updates. So, the thought of creating live videos shouldn’t fill you with dread. Ultimately, these videos are easier to stage, film and post.

This does not mean that a live video should turn into a ramble — there needs to be proper planning and practice in advance. It’s important to note than more content doesn’t mean ANY content will work. Try to strike a quality balance in between your weakest post to date and highest-quality content.

2. Live video shows up higher in the search

As the algorithms of many social media sites prioritize live video, your content has the potential to show up much higher in the search results than it would normally.

Many content creators are finding ways to hack their content for more views and exposure. Especially on YouTube, creators can hack the algorithm by uploading pre-recorded videos as part of a live stream. Their content then shows up higher in the search — even though it’s not really live.

A pre-recorded live video also results in a higher-quality video as it was properly filmed and edited. Thus, the content creators have an advantage over other streamers as theirs is the best quality of the current live video offering.

There are disadvantages to this which can have a negative affect on a following. For example, subscribers are less inclined to tune into your live stream, because they are not sure if it is actually live or a pre-recording. With a pre-recording, subscribers lose the opportunity to interact with the content creators through the chat or social media.

The “boy who cried wolf” effect can result in less views from loyal subscribers although it offers the potential to capture more newcomers.

Overall, I wouldn’t recommend using this YouTube hack. While it is a valid technique for the short-term, it isn’t in the long-term because your users are going to become less engaged.

Also remember that live video won’t magically put your content at the top of the search results without effective SEO techniques. You still need to put a lot of thought into the words you choose for your title, tags and description. If you just post a live video without detailing what you will show, your results will be dismal. Before the live video, continue to do the same as you would for any video — by maximizing impact through SEO.

The main take-away here is that live video gives you the potential to massively increase your reach. There is incredible potential to engage a lot of new viewers and attract people to learn more about your company.

3. Social media platforms notify followers when you are live

Social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Instagram notify your followers when you are live — and they do this for free! Why pay to boost a regular post, when you can get the same exposure for nothing?

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

Filming a live video can act as a push notification for your business, as many social media platforms send a notification to a follower’s mobile when you are live. It’s free advertising — take advantage of it!

If you can get your loyal following to not only watch, but immediately begin liking and commenting on the video, the social media platforms will reward you by recommending this content to other viewers. This helps you engage your current following while driving new traffic to check out your content.

Ultimately, live video needs to be a central component of your content strategy. Arguably, it is even easier and simpler to create compared to traditional content. So there’s no excuse. Live video can also help you hack the algorithm by showing up higher in the results.

Just remember to use live video for both growth and engagement. The two go hand in hand if you want to ensure long-term success.

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