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How can Live Stream Shopping help brands and influencers?

Live-streamed content is captivating young audiences more than ever. Twitch, the world’s leading live streaming platform for gamers has proved there is a big market for watching other people play video games in real-time. On the other side, influencers that partner up with brands to promote different products is nothing new. However, presenting those products within a live stream and enabling viewers to purchase featured items is a real success, especially in Asian countries. This is where Live Stream Shopping and influencers can do the magic.

In this article, we’re going to place the focus on influencers and brands in a Live Stream Shopping context. This partnership can revolutionize the way we shop and transform it into a social experience.

Live Stream Shopping for brands and influencers

An increasing number of brands begin to realize that live stream shopping is a powerful way to connect with consumers. As a result, Alibaba’s Taobao Marketplace has dominated so far, selling more than $15.1 billion in gross merchandise volume in 2018. Such platforms are great for fast-moving and practical consumer goods. As with any sales environment, as a marketer, it is truly important to find the most efficient way to reach potential buyers and therefore guide them through the purchasing process.

Beyond unboxing videos and try-on hauls, influencers can form partnerships with various brands and act as hosts during live-streamed shopping sessions. It can be looked at as the next step of making shopping a social experience. Influencers, also known as ‘key opinion leaders’ drive live shopping in China. Their role is to showcase products, try them on if possible, describe them for viewers, and answer live product related questions.

For brands, it is not enough to find an influencer with many followers to act as a host. Instead, the focus should be placed on finding influencers that inspire trust to their audiences. In China, Viya is the most known female Chinese influencer, with over 12 million followers on Taobao. Her followers trust her and are confident that she will never feature a product in her live stream unless she carefully tests it with her team. A successful influencer will most often have a team behind that success. In Viya’s case, her 200 employees filter products and strictly allow her to promote high-quality items from brands with a great reputation.

Another important aspect is to find an influencer with a follower base that matches your product and culture. Let’s assume that you own an outdoor brand. At first, you might think that an influencer with 2 million followers will be more efficient than one with 100k followers. That’s not true at all! If the one with 2 million followers is not passionate about outdoor activities, it is very likely that his/her followers are not either. On the other side, if the one with 100k is passionate about outdoor activities and apparel, his/her followers will most likely be as well.

Popular Live Stream Shopping solutions and Campaigns

Lazada (owned by Alibaba) – in South East Asia, Lazada has coined the term ‘Shoppertainment’. It is a term meant to highlight shopping with entertainment and social experiences, so that customers (viewers) can watch, play, and stay. Within this platform, live shopping streamers apply its ‘See Now Buy Now’ feature to complete sales. So far, 3000 live stream sessions were hosted on this platform in Thailand, the Philippines and Malaysia. Among these sessions, there were streamed fashion shows involving both local and international designers. One of the most important events hosted by Lazada was its one-month Woman’s Festival (May 2019). It focused on female consumers aged 18 to 24 to support and highlight their roles as digital influencers.

Tmall (operated by Alibaba) – Tmall, formerly known as Taobao Mall is a Chinese online retail website for business-to-consumer. It serves local Chinese and international businesses to sell branded products to customers in mainland China. On 6 November 2019, Kim Kardashian partnered up with the famous Chinese influencer (Viya) and hosted a live streaming session on this platform. The main purpose of this partnership was to help Kim sell her KKW branded perfumes. It was a real success and the pair sold 150,000 units during a live streaming session. The partnership between Kim and Viya kicked off a bigger initiative, called the Wall of Fame program. It was created to attract Western brand founders to partner up with Chinese influencers and sell products within live stream shopping sessions.

Amazon LiveAmazon launched its Amazon Live Creator app, which enables sellers to live stream their own products available on the Amazon platform. Shoppers can buy featured products in real-time without leaving the stream and they can discover brands hosting live-streaming sessions on the product detail page and other placements where shoppers browse. The platform is intended for US professional sellers that are part of the Amazon Brand Registry and for US vendors.

In the long term, it is important for brands and influencers to diversify and find new partnerships when hosting live stream shopping sessions. As an individual streamer (influencer), featuring the same list of offerings over and over again will overlap the audience and will have a negative impact on sales. Today, live streams are widespread and are not restricted by a single channel anymore. Besides budgeting for such campaigns, brands and influencers can stream on more than one platform simultaneously, spreading out the message as accurately and effective as possible. 

Creating a unique #hashtag for your event

In a previous article, when speaking about how you can use Twitter to promote your event, we recommended you to use the almighty event #hashtag in order to gain more visibility. Today I want to talk more about the #hashtag in particular, to see how and why you should create a unique one for your event.

But first, let’s remember what a hashtag is. Google dictionary informs us that it’s “a word or phrase preceded by a hash sign (#), used on social media websites and applications, especially Twitter, to identify messages on a specific topic”. In other words, it’s a searchable link used on social media platforms to categorize content, tying public conversation in one single stream.

hash sign followed by EventHashtag

Twitter was the first social media platform to use # as a searchable link. In 2007 user Chris Messina first brought it up on Twitter, but it took 2 more years before the feature went live. Twitter is not the only social platform to use the hashtag for grouping content anymore but it’s the platform where users use it the most, over 125 Million # being used every single day.

#hashtags are also used on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn (tested it, stopped using it, started using it again) Google+ or Pinterest. Even Snapchat users are using it, although on this platform it can’t be used as a searchable link.

What can I include in a hashtag? 

Although I’m sure almost everyone knows how they look there is some specific information we need to know. Hashtags don’t support spaces, so if you want to to use multiple words you can use capitals to differentiate them (example: #ExperienceTech). Punctuation marks and special characters are not supported either but numbers are, so #WAM18 can be (and is) used as an event hashtag.

Why should I create an event hashtag?

Twitter capture of GuinessWorldRecord account

source: Twitter.com

 

 

 

 

What would you say if I told you that one hashtag, #AIDubEBTamangPanahon, connected over 40 million tweets and comments in just 24 hours? Yes, this is a world record, but it’s a good example of how the snowball hashtag can roll, getting bigger and bigger.

Using the right hashtag (or combination of hashtags) will help you keep your followers close, and also reach new ones. Someone interested in your event will simply click on the hashtag and will “gain access” to all content where your # was used.

Your unique #hashtag can be used in combination with other ones in order to increase your reach but used wrong hashtags can also decrease it. These charts will show you the number of hashtags you should use on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for a better reach.

Twitter: it’s not recommended to use more than two hashtags per post.

Facebook: don’t use more than 3 hashtags in one post.

Instagram: Instagrammers love hashtags, so it seems that posts with 9 hashtags have the best engagement. But as you can see, the more the merrier.

You can check out Socialmediatoday to find out more about the recommended length of a hashtag for this 3 social media platforms.

How should my event hashtag be?

Simple and easy to spell. Try keeping it as simple as possible, so people don’t find it hard to remember (or spell).The goal is to have it used as often as possible and a very complicated one won’t help you (yes,  #AIDubEBTamangPanahon seems anything but simple, but why take the risk?)

Unique. Make sure that your branded hashtag wasn’t used by another company before (#eventplanning or not). You want your hashtag to be associated with your event, not with dog food (although let’s face it, dogs are damn cool).

Relevant. Don’t use a hashtag that might mislead users, it will backfire for sure. Use something that represents your event, like #ETA2017 for Event TEchnology Awards 2017 or #burningman for…well, guess this one.

P.s. you should also check your hashtags for double-meaning and also you should say it out loud before using it, it may save you a lot of trouble afterward.

How should I use my event hashtag?

Your mission is to create meaningful events and the event hashtag is closely connected to it, so I want to show you how to best use your hashtag before, during, and after your event(s).

Before the event: Before the event, you should use it to create a buzz around it. This way more and more potential attendees find out about it.  For this, it’s best to ask all your partners to use the event hashtag. You can also create contests where the followers using your hashtag can win tickets to the event, backstage passes or any other event related prize. This way you will encourage people to use and share information about your event, meaning you will reach more and more potential attendees.

During the event: Experience taught us that attendees will post/tweet during events, letting their friends/followers know what a great time they are having. Or who they have just met.

picture of Gary Vaynerchuk and a fan from brandmind_asia's Instagram account

source: Instagram, brandminds_asia account

You can expand your reach by reposting (or retweeting) their content with your event’s “official” hashtag.  You will also show your attendees that you appreciate their social media posting.

After the event: Being used as searchable links, hashtags are great when looking for user-generated content. And considering the fact that over 85% of the millennials say User Generated Content is a good indicator of the quality of a brand you should really use testimonials in your favor. Curated UGC can boost registration for your future events and your event hashtag is a great way to identify it.

How to use Facebook to promote your event management organization

“If you’re not on Facebook, you don’t exist.”

In my opinion, this is definitely false; I know many people who don’t have Facebook accounts and still have a very active social life (ok, maybe not so many, but I know quite a few). The real question is: it is possible for a business to exist without being present on Facebook? I don’t really know.

scrabble letters writing Facebook

But the fact is that Facebook can be a real game-changer, offering access to over 2 billion people around the world.

And I think it’s great if you are an event planner because it helps connect with so many potential attendees.

How to promote your event management business on Facebook? There are many ideas that could work so I am going to present you the basics of what you should do.

Create a page for your events.

Create a Facebook company page. It’s the first thing that you should do, although there are ways to promote your business on FB without actually having a page(but it will cost you). Facebook is sometimes used as a search engine so it’s in your best interest to offer relevant information for those looking. Use a relevant profile picture so people will recognize your brand and, very important, don’t let the “About” section blank.

Let’s say you plan a large annual music festival; use your logo as a profile picture, so people will associate your FB page with your festival from the first second. For the cover photo, a photo of people having fun at your events works great.

Share content

Although the number of followers that see your organic posts has declined in the last few years (so that you will need to put some money in it) it’s still important to share content on your page. Used as a search engine FB will redirect people to your page and a neglected one won’t do you any good. Create quality content for your followers but also use content created by your partners. Planning a festival? Share videos of the artist that will perform. Conference? I’m sure the main speakers would love it if you would share some of their viral posts. But remember that short posts with graphic content perform best on Facebook.

Frequency is important

As on all social media channels, FB also requires you to post with a certain frequency in order to stay “top of mind” with your followers.  But be aware that posting too often can do you more harm than good. It seems that there is a tight connection between your number of followers and how frequent you should post (once or more times a day), you can find out more about this here.

Reward your followers

A great way to show appreciation to your followers is to set up exclusive promotions,  only for them. Generate a discount code available for a certain period of time; offer free T-shirts to your most engaged followers; set up a contest with a substantial prize involved (I am not referring to the “like, share and tag” type of contests as I am not a big fan of them).

Create an event on Facebook

Another great way to create some buzz is by creating a public event on the platform. People can share public events, invite friends to attend and, most important, hit the “Interested” or “Going” buttons. This way the event will become visible to the FB friends of those that interact with it, helping you reach a greater number of possible attendees.  Offer as many information as you can, as FB has an algorithm that recommends events to users based on interests and behaviors.

Promote your event with Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads are a great way to promote your events. Before starting a campaign you can select your goals for the campaign (as app installs, conversions, brand awareness, reach, traffic etc) and then the targeted audience. The really great part is that Facebook helps you define your audience by both geographical and demographical criteria. You can create your audience by location ( the city in which they live), sex, age, interest; you can choose if your Ads reach your followers and/or their friends. This is a great info that can increase your conversion rate if you use ads to sell tickets for your events (as new clients are more likely to buy tickets for events where their Facebook friends will attend).

P.s. as I said at the beginning of this article you can use Facebook without a page – with Ads that are linked directly to your website, but I think that it works better when you are present on the platform.

As said before, I don’t know if it is impossible for you to make it without being online. I really don’t. But I see on a daily basis how event management businesses use it to reach their attendees and sponsors. I see how technology offers you the chance to sell tickets all over the world and have instant access to your revenues. I see how it changes the whole world.