Real-time drama on Facebook Live, Instagram Stories and, of course, Twitter, has some social media users turning up their noses at canned corporate content campaigns. No more smoke and mirrors—people want the real deal. And they want it right now.
Acknowledging the death of the perfectly curated feed, Instagram debuted “live stories” in November 2016, letting users share live videos for up to an hour. Then the content would disappear. Until last June. Now, once users finish broadcasting a live vid, they can share it to their story for 24 hours (or toss it).
Fashion marketers glommed onto the feature and continue the live content blitz. Makeup artist Pat McGrath regularly uses it to hype new products. And Brit retailer Topshop used its feed to tease its live stream during London Fashion Week in September.
Kohl’s used a similar countdown content strategy for its New York Fashion Week show with reality-star-turned-designer Lauren Conrad’s line on Periscope. Taking the concept a step further, the retailer figured out a way to monetize the live stream. Using the new Kohl’s mobile-optimized site, viewers could shop the fashion as it hit the runway in real time, according to a report in Retail Dive.
Yet despite all the tricked-out tech, even the slickest of brands are keeping it real.
“What the audience wants isn’t super produced,” Instagram head of fashion partnerships Eva Chen told WWD. “We find that people like that raw, ‘I am sitting right there’ feeling.”
Facebook’s massive investment in live video hints the pref for authenticity may have long-term legs. Last year, the social media giant partnered with nearly 140 media companies and celebrities to create videos for its live-streaming service. Together, the annual contracts totaled more than $50 million, with Buzzfeed’s $3 million deal topping the list, according to The Wall Street Journal. Celebrity partners include comedian Kevin Hart, chef Gordon Ramsay and NFL quarterback Russell Wilson.
It’s not just Facebook paying publishers and personalities to play in the space. Companies are jumping into the action, too. And for some early adopters, the ROI is real. In March, Tiffany & Co.’s streamed event with actresses Zosia Mamet and Zoe Kravitz, along with musician St. Vincent, racked up 4.7 million views in real time. The jewelry company also created 17 on-demand clips during the event and uploaded three recaps the next day—hitting 23.9 million impressions.
“Generating nearly 24 million impressions means 24 million ways to connect with millennials,” David Deal, a digital marketing consultant, told Adweek. “Tiffany has established a foothold that will allow the brand to do social media retargeting or display campaigns.”