Live Streaming: Coming to an Ad Campaign Near You

Just when you thought you had a handle on this whole social media thing, something new is thrown into the mix: live streaming. It’s not all that surprising. Blame it on whatever you’d like, but we as a society crave instant gratification. While patience is a virtue, we definitely seem to have it in short supply.

The term social media is thrown around all the time. You know you’ve got to have it, so you’ve tried to embrace it. You’ve decided on your brand identity, all of your posts have pictures, and you’ve figured out how to tell a story with your content. Now everyone is telling you to incorporate live streaming. Before you do anything drastic, like jump off a bridge or pour a pot of coffee over your computer, take a deep breath. This latest trend in social media might be a lot simpler than you think.

Social media is very similar to high school pre-calculus.

Bear with me for a moment. At the beginning of pre-calc, you were following along pretty well. You understood the basic principles and could actually put them into practice. Then, you ran into a formula that you couldn’t quite grasp. Apply that whole math analogy to social media. If you let live streaming stump you, chances are it isn’t going to fade away. It’s possible that all future social innovations will build off of the live format. Try to incorporate it now, while there is still a little bit of a learning curve. You’ll be at the head of the pack in no time.

What is live streaming, and why do we need it?

Live streaming is content that is broadcast to your social media audience in real time. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have all embraced live video, altering their platforms to encourage companies and consumers alike to record up-to-the-moment social posts.

We need it because live video satisfies our need for that above-mentioned instant gratification. It also provides measureable engagement from followers and real results. Millennials and Gen Z-ers are into authenticity. Live streaming feels authentic, candid, and credible.

How do you implement it?

All Hands In

Having everyone involved in the live campaign present is important. It creates a sense of unity, and it allows you to make split-second decisions with confidence. Anything could change with live content, but if everyone is on-site the flow of communication stays smooth.

Phone a Friend

If #1 is impossible and not everyone involved can be in the same place, then set up specific lines anyone who is off-site. Those same split-second decisions will pop up even if a few key players are absent. Having them accessible means faster reaction time, and most likely less of a headache when all is said and done.

Tag Team

Successful live social media marketing isn’t over in an hour. Some live campaigns can last for 2 days. Utilizing a rotating team of support makes sure that someone is always available, and that everyone is on top of their game.

Content Management Systems

If you have access to them, CMS tools will be your best friends through any social media live streaming. Try to include a quality-assurance system in your campaign. Everyone has the best intentions at the offset, but sometimes things go awry. Give yourself a fraction of time to double-check content before its posted for the world to see.

Do You See What I See?

Wherever you set up home base for your live campaign, give yourself access to what everyone is accessing from social media. You want to know what they are seeing, when they are seeing it. It generates a sense of purpose to the team, and pride in the experience being created.

A Few Ground Rules

Sure, you might think avoiding obscenities, nudity, and violence is common sense. And for the most part, it is. However, it turns out there is a lot of grey area on where to draw the line. Its important to find a general consensus on where that line is before the live campaign begins. Smack dab in the middle is not a great time to be hashing out what is or isn’t appropriate. Drawing up mutually agreed on ground rules can solve all these problems before they happen.

Better Together

Build a solid team to help you with your live campaign. Having experienced and calm professionals on your side can make or break your live stream. Once you press record, there is no turning back. Make sure you have a group you can rely on.


It’s safe to say that social media is the risky, cutting edge of marketing. Trends are constantly evolving, tastes are very particular, and it’s easy to get left behind. But social media is the best place to challenge your audience. You can try new styles and techniques that might not fly as well in more traditional media. So brush the dust off of your imagination and dive into live streaming on social media. You won’t be disappointed.



Shannon Curtis, the author, hates pre-calc but loves social media. Shannon is the Project / Social Media Coordinator at Marketing Keys, a boutique media management firm in the heart of downtown Chicago.