I didn’t give live-streaming video much thought until my sister, who lives down in Florida, sent me a link to watch her roller derby match on Periscope. The technology gave me the chance to “spend time” with her despite being 1,000 miles away. We connected in a way that texting or a phone call doesn’t allow. She didn’t have to give me a recap of her derby match because Periscope let me experience it firsthand.

Live-streaming video makes the world feel even smaller than it already is. It creates connections that span time zones. It lets us explore parts of the world we might otherwise not. As Periscope puts it: live-streaming lets you “discover the world through someone else’s eyes.”

Though live-streaming is still relatively new, brands are already clamoring to incorporate it into their content marketing strategies. Just as it allows people to foster genuine connections across the globe, live-streaming video can help brands reach new audiences and build relationships.

How do you incorporate live-streaming into your content marketing strategy? We’ve got 5 examples of brands dominating in the live-streaming space.

GE

Always a leader in the content marketing world, GE was one of the first companies to embrace live-streaming video. They kicked off their Periscope channel in the spring of 2015 with a behind-the-scenes interview series featuring StarTalk Radio hosts Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye. The interview was recorded and later uploaded to GE’s YouTube channel, where it’s garnered over 200,000 views since May.

In an effort to give their audience a transparent look at what goes on within the company, GE announced #DRONEWEEK, a 5-day look at the facilities crafting and testing jet engines, locomotives, and wind turbines. Launched on Periscope this past July, drones gave audiences the opportunity to explore areas often inaccessible to the public. GE used the handles @GeneralElectric and @GEDronePilot to respond to viewers’ questions in real time.

GE’s use of live-streaming video allows the brand to open its doors to an audience interested the company’s innerworkings. Despite being such a vast brand, GE is taking major steps toward transparency with the content they’re producing on Periscope. Sam Olstein, GE’s Director of Innovation, says of choosing to launch #DRONEWEEK, “We’re always trying to tell the full picture of the GE story, which is a complicated one, so any time we can talk about the various industries and variety of expertise and disciplines, we try to find unique and innovative way to do that.” By using Periscope to create an approachable, open narrative around their brand, GE is ensuring its audience is well-informed and able to easily follow GE’s latest technological advancements.

Spotify

Spotify on Periscope

Source: Spotify on Periscope

Using live-streaming video to reach audiences is a no-brainer for a company that lets consumers stream music. Spotify has used both Meerkat and Periscope in its marketing endeavors. Last year, Spotify used Meerkat to give their audience a chance to experience SXSW even if they weren’t able to attend in person. Followers were treated to live performances, interviews, and more festival content they could immerse themselves in without having to leave their houses.

Spotify didn’t stop there. They’ve amped up their live-streaming video efforts with the help of Periscope. In March of last year, Spotify live-streamed a jam session with Conor O’Brien of the Irish indie band The Villagers. It garnered 380 live viewers, as well as over 1,500 “hearts.” With over 90,000 followers (and growing), Spotify continues to use Periscope to give their audience exclusive access to live performances.

Like GE, live-streaming video allows Spotify to connect with their audience instantaneously. Performances feel real, not manufactured. There’s no editing, little production quality, and no buffer between the audience and brand. This creates a space where companies can truly connect with their viewers on a much more intimate level.

Royal Caribbean

In November 2015, Royal Caribbean launched their “Come Seek Live” campaign. For 7 days, YouTube’s High on Life and Periscoper Dan Moore visited 5 islands and provided 13 live broadcasts (ranging from 8 to 40 minutes) for Royal Caribbean’s Periscope channel. These broadcasts were then streamed to billboards across NYC, connecting Royal Caribbean with millions of people.

The brand’s choice to live-stream their campaign rather than hold fast with traditional marketing tactics stems from Royal Caribbean desire to reach a younger demographic, one that might believe cruises are boring and stuffy. Royal Caribbean’s Creative Director John Kearse told Fast Company, “…[T]he Periscope idea came from the desire to show these adventure seekers the real Caribbean that Royal Caribbean can bring you. We liked Periscope for this because of its immediacy, and we liked the challenge and the novelty of bringing these broadcasts to a very traditional medium.” Kearse knew they’d have to use a unique platform if they wanted to prove Royal Caribbean wasn’t the same type of cruise younger people have come to expect. By using Periscope, Royal Caribbean ensured their campaign would garner attention.

Royal Caribbean took their use of live-streaming a step further by using the content created via Periscope to fuel other parts of their “Come Seek Live” campaign. They edited down some of the broadcasts for their billboards, and also reused this footage across social channels. By discovering inventive ways to utilize live-streaming video, brands can further the shelf-life of their content.

Benefit

Benefit Cosmetics

Source: Benefit Cosmetic’s Twitter

Makeup tutorials dominate a large chunk of online how-to videos, particularly on YouTube where influencers give their fans lengthy product reviews. It makes sense for Benefit—a top cosmetics company—to harness live-streaming video to reach customers. Benefit focuses on providing educational and entertaining information for existing customers, hoping to provide viewers with experiences similar to those they could expect when visiting a Benefit makeup counter or store.

Along with makeup tutorials, the brand also features Q&A sessions hosted by in-house experts (like Maggie Ford Danielson) and other influencers. Benefit has seen major love on Periscope. They average roughly 2,000 viewers each live-stream and have driven over 19,000 hearts on a single session.

Live-streaming video doesn’t have to be just about reaching new audiences. It can be used as a tool to engage with customers already using your products or services. Benefit uses Periscope to provide their customers with a helpful, interactive experience they might not otherwise have access to. By using live-streaming as a means to reach your current customers, you’ll be able to foster brand loyalty.

Taco Bell

Taco Bell on OxBlue

Source: Taco Bell’s OxBlue Channel

Always ahead of the curve when it comes to experimenting with both new social platforms and deliciously absurd food, Taco Bell was one of the first to jump on the live-streaming bandwagon. Understanding Twitter feeds move fast and audiences often need a compelling reason to engage with tweets, the brand live-streamed a mock press conference announcing the arrival of their Biscuit Taco and offered viewers a free Biscuit Taco on Cinco De Mayo.

In November, the company livestreamed the moving of their original Taco Bell store, Numero Uno, to Taco Bell Headquarters. Using OxBlue stop motion construction cameras, viewers could follow Numero Uno’s 45-mile journey from Downey, CA to Irvine, CA.

Over the past couple years, Taco Bell has risen to the top as one of the most frequented (and talked-about) fast food brands. The company’s product certainly has a lot to do with this, but their content marketing program drives much of their success as well. Taco Bell’s Director of Public Relations, Rob Poetsch, says of their decision to live-stream, “We’re always looking for new ways to engage with our fans and saw that they were using Periscope…We played around with the app and immediately saw the potential.” Using live-streaming video to engage with their customers is a slam dunk for a brand that already places a high value on finding new ways to connect with their audience.

The Bottom Line

What makes live-streaming so unique is its versatility. Not just a way to reach new audiences, live-streaming video also can be used to engage with current customers who are interested in learning more about using your products and services. Live-streaming helps you chip away at that wall between your brand and your customers. You’re able to create content that rely less on glossy, high-quality videos and more on genuine connections. With a little creativity, any brand can utilize live-streaming in their content marketing program.

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