The power of going live and why you should care.

Reim El Houni is an award winning Executive Producer and CEO of Ti22 Films, with extensive experience in the worlds of broadcast, corporate media, events and online. Reim worked on several IVCA winning projects and international live broadcasts in the corporate realm before moving to Dubai and creating the first English Language TV show at Dubai One - Out & About. Winner of 10 New York Festival Awards and a Cannes Award, Reim is also the founder of Dubai on Demand a growing lifestyle online presenter led channel. At Ti22 Films Reim consults multinationals, government entities and organisations and supports them with their video requirements.
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We are an impatient people, and it does not get any more impatient than the Middle East. Everyone wants everything yesterday.

When it comes to video content, this impatience has gotten exacerbated. It used to be acceptable to film your event and edit your highlights video to share a day or so later.

But producers were then asked to start editing onsite and make content available hours after an event ended. Some wanted the content ready onsite! But there is a solution for that now…just stream it live on social media.

Make no mistake, live video is here to stay. While the quality of such video services is questionable, there is no doubt that engagement levels of a live video are significantly higher. A feature, witnessing something as it happened, that was once reserved for large, popular events and broadcasts with massive budgets, has now become available to anyone with a phone and an internet connection.

Communicating your brand message through video content, live or not, will get you a significantly higher level of awareness, there is little in doubt there. Some statistics report video posts showing a 135% increase in reach over photos.

How much does that number increase when the video is live? People spend three times longer watching video content that is live compared to video content that isn’t.   

When a video is live and ‘in the moment,’ it gives the viewer the feeling of experiencing an event in real-time (alongside you or your brand). That is an irreplaceable feeling for fans. They are the first to know. It’s instant gratification.

But what are the tools and rules of live video? What works and what does not? And how do you get a return on your (small) investment?

The original players in this space Meerkat (now non-existent) and Periscope (by Twitter) have not had as big an impact in the Middle East as they have in other parts of the world.

However, Facebook Live is worth paying close attention to.  About 80% of social media users in the Middle East use Facebook, a number that is seeing an increasing uptake with live video. Facebook too has confirmed that they are giving greater prominence to live video on the platform.

As of mid-November, Instagram too has combined the best of Snapchat and Periscope with Instagram Live, which lets you broadcast video to your followers in real-time, but not after the video has ended (unlike Facebook Live). Time will tell if Instagram will successfully pull in viewers in the same way that Facebook has.

As a brand or an organization, the key thing to remember is that this is an opportunity for you to connect with your customers and audience in an entirely new way. The old rules of video don’t apply here. Try to avoid the temptation to over-produce the content. You need to be raw, authentic, and (at least look) spontaneous.

With live video, brands get the ability to communicate directly and get live feedback from their audience through questions and comments. This adds incredible value and improves the overall engagement levels.

Also, allow this video content to be an ‘extra’. Don’t overdo them. Perhaps use live video to create a sneak peek, or to run a Q&A—anything that will further cement the relationship you are trying to build with your brand’s loyal fans.

Don’t ignore what live video can offer your brand. Listen to your followers, look at what they are watching, and ask them for their insights to craft what could be your best marketing strategy for years to come.