Looking to reboot your business’s marketing strategy? Maybe you’re wanting to try something different to give your business’s voice a kick in the pants. Perhaps you’re looking for a way to engage more intimately and directly with your audience. Well look no further, live video is here and easier than ever!
Keeping your audience and customers engaged can be a constant challenge. Providing them with compelling content is just one way to keep them coming back. But creatively getting it to them and mixing it up is another great way to do that, and live video offers an exciting and more engaging way to connect with your audience, and lets them have in on the fun, too.
Lou Mongello is proof that live video engagement can be an effective and creative tool for keeping your audience interested – and more importantly – coming back to you time and again. Live video is just one of the ways he has helped build his business and brand by keeping his content fresh and engaging.
Rich: Lou Mongello is a former attorney who left the practice to pursue his passion, and is now a Disney expert, author, podcaster, speaker, entrepreneur and host of WDWRadio.com, named “best travel podcast” for the past 9 consecutive years. He’s the author of books and audio tours of Disney parks, and founder of DreamTeamProject.org, which has raised more than $250,000 to date to send children with life threatening illnesses to Walt Disney World through the Make A Wish Foundation of America.
He provides mentoring and consulting to those looking to build their businesses and brand, and is a keynote speaker who shares the magic of Disney and/or the power of new and social media, podcasting, live video, and community entrepreneurship and how to follow one’s dreams and passions. Lou, welcome to The Agents Of Change.
Lou: Thanks so much for having me.
Rich: Obviously we can tell from your bio, you’re the podcast guy, or at least one of the big names in podcasting these days. But when you and I chatted, you told me you wanted to talk about live video. Why live video?
Lou: So it’s interesting. When we record this now, a lot of the big buzz has really been over the past few months about live video. It started almost with Meerkat and then Periscope was the next big thing, and now Facebook Live and Blab and some of those other things. It’s not only so much more accessible to people and easier to do on desktop or phone, but it’s really becoming an integral part of people’s content and really sort of their marketing strategy.
Rich: Alright, ok, you’ve made your argument. Now I can see how live video would work for the Lou Mongello’s of the world, the Amy Porterfield’s, the John Lee Dumas’s. People who have big personalities and they already built up followings, but is live video the answer for small businesses that don’t necessarily have information products to sell?
Lou: Absolutely. I think that there are so many different ways that you can apply a live video to your personal brand or to your business. I don’t think that you have to necessarily have to or be a big personality to do it. If you’re a business, sometimes you can use live video to just let people get a peek behind the curtain at how things work. Interview some principals in the business, it’s not just about an individual that you’re trying to connect with, but sometimes some really unique opportunities, depending on what your business is.
Rich: Alright, so why live video then instead of on demand video? It just feels like the opportunity for me making an ass of myself is so much greater when it comes to live video.
Lou: And that’s the beauty of it, right? The fact that it’s live, the fact that it’s so relatively raw and organic and anything can happen. I think that’s one of the things that appeals to us. Look, reality TV – as real as it is or was – that’s what it was, you didn’t know what could happen because you weren’t necessarily following a script. And I think as a content creator, as long as you’re comfortable with the medium, you like that freedom and flexibility to not just sort of go to where you want to go, but because you’re interacting with the audience in real time, they can help direct the content and the visuals and whatever it is that you’re talking about. You’ll have a real authentic conversation with them.
Rich: Let’s talk a little bit more about that, that sounds interesting. So in my mind – because I haven’t done any live video – so in my mind I’m doing some live video, maybe I’m talking to my computer camera or whatever it may be, I’m not really thinking about interacting with my audience. What are some of the experiences that you’ve had interacting with an audience, like how does that exactly work and is it platform dependent?
Lou: So it’s actually a big part of the reason why I started. Just a little bit of history, I’ve been doing weekly live videos since 2007, and the idea was that as a content creator and blogger and podcaster, everything that I was doing was a one way push conversation. Yes, you can get emails and social media helps with that conversation, but there was nothing like being able to interact real time with people. And when I did my first what I thought was going to be my 10 minute ended up being a 5 hour live broadcast back in 2007. I love the ability to not just get instant feedback and conversation, but to allow people to really feel as though they were a part of it, as opposed to me just pushing content out to them.
Rich: Alright, ok, so you’re making it more conversational. Earlier you just kind of blew through a bunch of different platforms that are big right now for live video, can we just talk a little bit more about them. What are the big players right now when it comes to live video if we’re going to choose a platform, what are some of the choices that we have?
Lou: So back in September I got an email from Facebook and they verified me and said, “Here, you can have access to the live video”, and for a while I was testing it out. And I went all in very quickly on Facebook Live, having gone from uStream to Meerkat to Periscope to a few others in between. And I just think that Facebook Live is going to win, it is going to be the dominant platform for so many reasons. It’s very easy to do as a content creator, it’s very easy to consume. It is where people are, the fact that it exists in your timeline and the replay is right there, and you can target and share and the engagement. I mean, there’s just so many reasons why I think Facebook is not just going to win, but it’s going to win big. And I think in the next 6, 12, 18 months, the amount of video that you’re going to see is really going to be starting to dominate your newsfeed.
Rich: I want to come back to Facebook Live, because it does seem to be the one that people are talking about most at Social Media Marketing World. You mentioned Blab, I’ve been on Blab a few times and it kind of looks like the Brady Bunch with only four people on it, and basically you’re doing almost like a live talk show. That’s how a lot of them work, although I know that some of them that aren’t related to business may be about watching people sleep, but that’s a whole other type of thing. Have you used Blab, how might small businesses use Blab?
Lou: So I’ve been on Blab as a guest. In terms of making it very simple to have a group communication broadcast, there’s probably nothing easier to do that. You can do it on Facebook but you need your desktop and third party software and a lot of other things and steps to get there right now, although I think that’s going to change very quickly.
So as a guest it’s been great to sort of have that group conversation where the viewers can watch all the participants. But I just think Blab has definitely found its space in the tech and marketing space almost, and a little bit probably less – I’m not sure if it’s bled through to everybody – in the same way that Facebook has.
Rich: You’re not going to find your mom on Blab, is what you’re saying.
Lou: I hope not. That would be horrific.
Rich: Alright, so we talked briefly about Blab, Periscope is obviously owned by Twitter, a seemingly popular platform, as well. Have you used that much at all?
Lou: Yeah, so I was in on Periscope literally day one. I was like finally, Twitter is getting in the game and they’re making it eventually native to Twitter. I love the platform, I didn’t think that it evolved as quickly as it could have or should have. I think now what’s happened is – again, there are certain niches that use Periscope a lot – but I think I keep coming back to Facebook is because the problem with things like Periscope and Blab and Meerkat is that you need to tell people that now you need to go out and get another app and another account and you need to check here. Whereas, pretty much all of us are on Facebook, so it’s right there, it’s not something else that you need to open and follow and learn from. And I think that’s why it has started to and will continue to just dominate the live space.
Rich: Alright, so let’s say that you’ve convinced me that it’s time for me to start using live video in my business and Facebook – for most of us – is going to be the safe bet to get into. Literally walk me through what I need to do to broadcast?
Lou: It really is the simplest way to do it. So assuming that you’re using the regular Facebook app – there’s also a Mentions app that certain people and verified accounts can use – but it really is as simple as clicking on your status update, choosing live video, hopefully picking a compelling title,a dn then the nice thing too is that you can determine who you want to see it.
This is great too, you can either make it a public video, so if you are a moderator or a member of a group, you can only broadcast to that group if you like. So the fact that you can really target that is great. It’s really as simple as clicking the “go live” button. The chat is right there, there’s lots of new updates that have recently come in terms of the commenting, and similar to Periscope the hearts and the way people can sort of react to things. The beauty is that when you hit “finish”, it is instantly published to your timeline, and that to me is a really big compelling reason why I love Facebook so much.
Rich: Alright. So we start the live feed on Facebook. And Facebook, from what I understand, is pretty good at promoting right now, they’re really pushing live video. So your friends and connections are going to get alerts that you are now live. And then they can go to your page, I guess, or click on the link and be able to see you live in that particular moment in time, and then also it’s being archived. Is that what I’m understanding?
Lou: Correct. So you can broadcast from your page or to your group or from your personal profiles – however it is that you want to go live – and people will get notified depending on how they have it set up, so notifications are really easy. And then as soon as you’re done, there’s no third party software, there’s no waiting period, that video and all the comments and all the reactions exists right on your timeline. So the rewatchability factor is so much higher as opposed to Periscope, where you have to have a third party app to recorder it and download it and reupload it to YouTube or Facebook or wherever you want to put it. The fact that it exists right away is very, very compelling, and honestly, it keeps the engagement going longer and I think much greater numbers.
Rich: Is Facebook giving us any metrics about how many people are watching and engaging with us other than for us to go to the original post and see we got 20 or 30 comments for this?
Lou: Yeah. So when Facebook gave me the ability to go live, they did it for my personal profile. I verified my profile, so I broadcast live from my personal profile as opposed to a group or a page. Now if you broadcast live from your page, you do get better analytics and insights in terms of statistics and numbers and things like that. But even if you do it from your personal profile, when you hit “finish”, you instantly get a visual that pops up that says, “hey, this is a conversation about it” or “hey, this one got the most ‘likes’ or ‘shares’ or ‘comments’”, whatever it might be. And you see a graph of who was watching when, so you can see when that sweet spot is for what do people like in terms of length, how many people were watching, and obviously all the comments as well.
Rich: Alright, so if I do this, I think one of my concerns – and the concerns of a lot of audience members – might be what am I going to do in the video. Is it just talking head stuff, am I walking around with my phone and I’m doing tours of my building, am I doing something like jumping off a bridge to get attention, what exactly have you seen out there that’s engaging and working that you think would be good for a typical marketer or small business person?
Lou: So I don’t think that there’s a standard answer because who you are and what your message is trying to be and who your audience is is going to determine what you should do. So I tell people when they’re starting that sometimes a simple Q&A where they no longer have to send you an email and wait for a response. They can actually have a Q&A with you, you don’t have a lot to prepare. If you’re a company, a Q&A with the CEO, the chef, a principal in the company, people want to see and hear from you or that person real time and very personal. Like, “Oh, Rich, thanks for the question.” And the fact that it’s unrehearsed, I think it helps to establish expertise and authority.
But you can take people behind the scenes, take them on a tour, do a “how to” video if maybe that’s in your business. Teach them how to do something, bring them value, take them on a first person adventure whether you’re going to Disney World or New York or on a cruise. If you have a product that you want to launch, let the people who are on your list have a sneak peek at a brand new product to generate some pre-sales and discussions. Do things that make people feel special, you’re giving them special access to something.
If I was a realtor, I would absolutely use live video, and before the open house on Saturday I’m going to take you guys through this house and I’m going to walk you through it and answer your questions. That is going to gauge interest, it’s going to get people there and it’s also going to weed out the people that might not have an interest. But you’re almost getting qualified people walking through the door before you even have an open house.
Rich: Very cool. I’m also just thinking I have a buddy of mine that’s doing a Kickstarter right now about a videogame with some real physical pieces to it as well, and I think they just ran a Reddit AMA with the designer who was one of the designers of the Cantina Creatures from Star Wars, and so the Reddit AMA is interesting for sure, but now I’m thinking how much more engaging might it be to ask this guy questions live on video.
Rich: So very cool idea, I also like that real estate example you gave us, too. So the other thing I’m thinking, and maybe if we’re just talking about Facebook Live this isn’t as much of an issue, but when I was trying to come up with the questions for today I was thinking that things like this always seem so overwhelming when you’re not starting with a built in list. You obviously had a following when you were jumping into live video, but some people don’t have that kind of list, and you don’t want to throw a party where nobody shows up. So if we’re starting from scratch, how do we attract an audience?
Lou: I think there’s a lot of ways. One thing that Facebook does do well – and it’s sort of native to the platform – is if you are seeing something that you like and you’re commenting and sharing, your friends are going to see it and wonder what this thing is that Rich is watching. Or now, you can actually share doing the live broadcast. So I say this all the time to people, if you’re watching and you like it, do me a favor and invite some of your friends. And you can do that, they can actually go in and invite people. So the “faberge effect”, they tell 2 friends and so on and so on, and it builds organically through the friendship network.
But the other thing too, on Facebook if you know that you’re going to go live at a certain time, maybe broadcast a live event that you’re doing, create an event. You can create an event page on Facebook and promote it there ahead of time, and then when you go live, people will already know what’s coming. I create a lot of branding with my colors and my logos and I send out reminders the same day. Lots of different ways you can promote it as if it’s an event, or if it’s a recurring thing, let people know that every Wednesday at 7:30 this is where I’m going to be, if you get a chance come on and tune in live.
Rich: I love the idea of creating a Facebook event, that’s so obvious and I hadn’t even thought of it. That’s definitely a great idea. And of course you can do that based on the people you’re already connected with as well as doing some Facebook advertising as well.
Lou: Yeah, and something simple I do is I create and do selective tweets or I create a “if this, then that” and say if I’m going live on Facebook and I use the hashtag #tw, it will tweet it out, too. So maybe people who aren’t paying as close attention on Facebook but still follow you on Twitter, they get notified as well, and they can come over when you go live.
Rich: Absolutely. Whenever I look at a platform or a channel in terms of trying to decide whether or not this is worth my time, personally I’m always thinking about how can I drive traffic to my website or how can I build my email list. Do you think live video plays a role with this, or is it just the goals of live video are different?
Lou: No, I absolutely think that you can leverage live video to do some of those things that you really want to do. So if you want to build your list, you can do it during the live video, incentivize them. Say, “Hey, if you’re watching us live, I really appreciate it”, and create a special landing page for them with a free offer, a coupon, a download, so you can use that. Say, “Hey, if you like this, get notified all the time, be part of some of the other things I’m doing.” Use the opportunity to have these engaged, connected people start to do some of the other things. Give then a single call to action at the end or during the show, so they know that one thing it is that you want them to do.
Rich: I’m loving that and I’m thinking now that if I create a live event, afterwards I can certainly put in the comments, “If you want to be alerted to the next one, click here”, and that could get them into your email list or whatever. Can you also be sharing links while you’re in the video? Do you know what I’m saying?
Lou: So you can’t do it now, obviously, from the app itself. There’s no interface where you can actually type in if you’re using the app on your phone. There are other ways that now you’re able to broadcast from your desktop using things like Wirecast to broadcast from your desktop, which will allow you to broadcast and participate in the chat if you want to. If you have somebody helping you, they can put special links into the chat, or certainly you can go back later on and edit the description and say, “here’s a link to the special offer I was talking about during the video.”
Rich: Very cool. And I was just thinking for my own Agents Of Change Conference, one thing that would be neat is just turn on Facebook Live for a little bit during the speaker’s dinner so people could see, “Hey look, there’s Chris Brogan, there’s John Lee Dumas, Sue B. Zimmerman”, and all the other great speakers we have and kind of give them all a moment to shine. I just wish that the speaker’s dinner was a month before the event rather than the night before. But maybe I’ll figure that piece out on my own.
So especially because we’re focused here on Facebook Live – that’s where the conversation has gone, which is great – it seems like right now Facebook is so behind live video. But you know the Facebook algorithms change on a daily basis sometimes. What if Facebook suddenly decides that video isn’t all that important, or it doesn’t need the boost because everybody is doing it, and suddenly it’s harder to get found on Facebook for live video? What is the next step after that?
Lou: I just have a feeling that Facebook is really going all in on video for a variety of reasons, and a lot of the things they’re doing seem to indicate that, especially the F8 conference. But just for argument’s sake, obviously you want to try and stand out, and the overly simple answer is to do really good stuff. Like anything else – whether it’s a blog or podcast or video – if you create compelling content,that is the easiest way to attract people. Ask your audience to share it, ask them to invite their friends. But I just have a feeling, especially because of what Facebook has announced recently and the updates they’ve done including being able to go live in a group or at an event and the reactions and the comments, and the fact that there’s a destination on Facebook now to find live stuff that’s going on either round you or on the planet, I think it’s just going to be something that’s going to dominate the feeds a lot. Quality will win out, always.
Rich: Is there a way to download your video after you’ve recorded it from Facebook so that you can use it in other purposes, or is it really basically stuck on Facebook?
Lou: Obviously there’s always a way, right? Where there’s a will, there’s a way. You can always download it if you want to, but if you’re using the Facebook platform and you want people to stay and be engaged there, what I’ve done is a couple of things. The nice thing about it too, Rich, is once it’s done you can link to it and say, “Hey, if you missed the live broadcast..”, you can tweet out a link or repost it on Facebook or wherever you want. So you can bring people back to that video, you can also embed the video on your website. So if you want that to be your home, that is what I’ve done, so the people coming to my site know where to go to start catching the videos live.
Rich: That makes a lot of sense. So what are some of the mistakes that you’re seeing out there when you look at some people who are doing live video? And of course, not to name names, but are you seeing some people out there and you’re just shaking your head?
Lou: No, because it’s hard. It’s simple but it’s not easy. And what I mean by that is when you’re out with friends or whatever it’s great, but when you turn that camera on sometimes the little red blinking light puts a lot of fear into people. So believe it or not, practice is the best way to do it. Even if you just sort of practice with selfie videos, pretend that you’re talking to nobody and just get used to the platform. Ask people questions, give them something to talk to you about.
I think the most important things are 1) practicing, 2) interact with people, talk with them not at them, call people out by name and make them feel like part of the conversation, and 3) thank them and leave them with a call to action. But the more you do the more comfortable you’ll get.
Rich: Alright. Hey, if there was one thing you know now that you wish you knew when you got started in live video, what would it be?
Lou: Oh man, that’s such a good question. One thing that I know now that I wish I knew, I’ve never been asked that question before.
Lou: I think it’s probably – this is not like TV – don’t talk at your audience. Yes they are watching you, but they want to be connected to who you are and what you’re doing. So make them feel like they’re sitting in there or walking there with you. Answer their questions, ask them questions, call people out by name, have a real conversation with them. And also make sure that you bring some sort of value. The value is in entertainment or information or whatever it may be. We’re so pulled in a million different directions in terms of our attention, give them something of value so it will make them come back, and more importantly, tell their friends.
Rich: Awesome stuff. Lou, where can we find you online if we want to check you out?
Rich: Excellent. And we’ll of course have all those links in the show notes. Lou, this has been awesome, you have perhaps tipped the scales and maybe I will be jumping in to live video in the near future. Thanks, man.
Lou: Awesome, thank you.
- Want to learn more about Lou? Follow him on Twitter, head over to his website, and if you’re a Disney fan, go to his website dedicated to all the info you ever wanted to know about WDW.
- Check out Rich’s interview on the Entrepreneur on Fire podcast!
- Looking to boost your business’s search, social and mobile endeavors? Want to hear some of the industry’s leading experts on these topics talk about what works for them? Then purchase your tickets to the Agents Of Change Digital Marketing Conference now!