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Brands like BMW, Southwest Airlines, Target and GE are increasingly experimenting with livestreaming, and some believe the medium will become an important part of the digital video marketing mix.

So what should brands looking to embrace livestreaming do to increase their chances of success?

Here are seven tips.

1. Pick the right platform

There are a number of popular livestreaming platforms. Celebrities like Madonna embraced Meerkat, which has since pivoted away from livestreaming.

Twitter's Periscope has been employed by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

And with Facebook's livestreaming push, many brands will no doubt be considering the world's largest social network for their next livestream.

Already, there is growing differentiation between platforms.

Periscope, for example, doesn't officially support archiving, and Facebook, which does, is incentivizing use of Facebook Live by ranking live streams higher in user News Feeds.

This means brands will want to be thoughtful about which platforms they adopt.

2. Recognize that personality matters

Livestreaming isn't television, and authenticity is probably a more attractive attribute in the medium than polish is.

That means brands don't necessarily want or need established personalities; they may well find success with virtual unknowns.

But whoever they put in front of viewers needs to be able to connect with the target audience.

3. Ideas are key

Last week, BuzzFeed broke the record for concurrent viewers on a Facebook livestream.

More than 800,000 viewers accepted the popular digital publisher's call to action: "Watch us explode this watermelon one rubber band at a time!"

Replicating BuzzFeed's success won't be easy for brands.

After all, most of them will find it hard to relate similar stunts to their wares.

But BuzzFeed's record-breaking livestream is a reminder that individuals willing to tune in to a live event are far more likely to do so when lured by the promise of content that's unique, fascinating, engaging or enlightening.

4. Understand that scripting isn't necessary, but preparation is

Livestreamimg doesn't require fully scripted content – in fact, in many cases that will even be undesirable – but brands shouldn't expect to achieve livestreaming success without some preparation to ensure events flow smoothly and keep viewers engaged.

Without structure, livestreaming events can quickly become boring, or worse, very quickly, reducing the likelihood a viewer will tune in again.

5. Look for co-creation opportunities

Livestreaming is a great medium for brands to take advantage of the magic of co-created content.

There are numerous opportunities for brands to involve influencers in their livestreaming content.

For example, Amazon is inviting high-profile guests to co-host episodes of its daily digital fashion show, Style Code Live.

6. Get the setup right

While brands using third-party platforms to livestream lack a good deal of control, they should do everything they can to ensure that they're not the source of a technical failure.

From selecting the right equipment to ensuring that they have adequate connectivity, nothing should be left to chance and Plans B and C should be established and ready to implement before an important stream begins. 

7. Take full advantage of the medium

To fully exploit the livestreaming opportunity, brands should look for ways they can tap the unique attributes of the medium.

Once again, Amazon's Style Code Live provides a good example, as the retail giant allows viewers to interact with guests via live chat.

It also created a custom video player that highlights products that are being featured on the show.

Patricio Robles

Published 13 April, 2016 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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