Live streaming offers great opportunities, but without planning, you could be flirting with disaster.
You wouldn't be alone if you hadn't winced once or twice because of a social media blunder you'd seen unfolding or read about in the press.
Perhaps you've spotted an offer that has gotten out of hand, seen an ill-thought-through initiative that's simply jumped on the bandwagon, or read about the totally inappropriate handling of a relatively simple error.
Whichever it was, social media mistakes are easily done without proper planning.
And let's face it, things move quickly in this industry.
With the constant conversation and rapid developments amongst the different platforms, it's pretty likely that you'll have missed an update before you've even finished your morning coffee.
So as we head into another year of exciting enhancements and who-knows-what new launches, we've launched a new free guide of 10 common social media marketing mistakes. We believe that it's even more paramount to have an effective social media marketing strategy in place to avoid mistakes that could be costly to your brand.
One notable trend that we feel requires strategic caution is in live video.
Facebook has been giving users the chance to 'go live' for a little while now, following closely on the heels of Twitter's acquisition of Persicope. Snapchat has also been an app used by brands to reach an audience with real time exclusive content, albeit suited to a younger demographic.
In December 2016, however, we saw the announcement that Twitter was testing a native offering known as 'Twitter 360' video that claims is not just connecting with a following, but is more about "letting them in to experience something". Users will be able to swipe up and across to change the angle of the view.
We also heard the news was that Instagram would be rolling out live video and disappearing photos through its 'Insta Stories' feature. Both will be available to people who follow an account.
Great, we hear you say! More opportunities to get down and dirty with a brand and offer followers a reason to continue to take an interest in your brand.
What could possibly go wrong?
Well, without proper planning of this functionality, we believe that these services could be a license to kill.
Imagine, for example, that someone in your organisation thinks of a good idea to start broadcasting live from your brand's profile. Whilst it's brilliant to be agile enough to capitalise on moments of buzz around a topic, what processes are in place to ensure the content is on brand? Might it cause controversy or offence? What happens if it gets out of hand? Who should really be responsible for the live broadcasting schedule? And with specific reference to the panoramic type functionality, who even knows what might be going on in the background that a user will be able to see?
These are all key questions that we address as part of our social media marketing toolkit.
Understanding your current situation in light of social media objectives is an important step in the correct planning of how, when and why you should be using the channels for branded communication. They also throw up the importance of what to do if any issues arise.
So if you want to give yourself the best chance of not being the next social media PR disaster we're reading about (in real time), read of our new guide to avoiding social media mistakes.