UK Prime Minister David Cameron has announced that he will be taking part in his first Facebook Live video this week, to discuss the imminent EU referendum. It’s clear that live videostreaming is gaining massive traction among brands and well-known figures right now. Over the past year, digital marketing has moved on from scripted tweets and scheduled Facebook posts, as audiences have begun to demand something more real and authentic, which they can relate to and engage with. Businesses have recognised what’s possible with live video through its ability to capture the moment and convey genuine insights and reactions, particularly during a live event. If they have the opportunity to capture a celebrity or influencer within the video too, it’s likely to gain even more attention.
Early trials by prominent brands such as ITV, BMW and McDonald’s, have been phenomenally successful, massively surpassing expected engagement figures. When Southwest Airlines faced disruptions and delays earlier in the year due to extreme weather conditions, its social media team jumped onto Twitter Periscope and Facebook Live to keep passengers updated on the situation. More than 100,000 viewers engaged with the video at the time. It’s easy to see why these videstreaming platforms are really taking off among brands and businesses. To date, Twitter has been the go-to place for politicians, business leaders and celebrities, when they’ve had important announcements to make. When Kanye West wanted to ask Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to invest $1 billion in his ideas, he publicly tweeted his request. But increasingly, Facebook Live is encroaching on this space, and in quite a bold move, David Cameron has agreed to take part in his first Facebook Live video on Friday 10 June. We believe it’s a smart move on Cameron’s part, who is clearly hoping to grab the attention of the UK’s new generation of voters who are spending much of their time on social platforms. He’ll be setting an important precedent, as it will be the first time a voice from either side of the EU referendum has given an interview on the subject through livestreaming. Cameron has so far only agreed to appear in three other televised EU Q&As. The interview will be streamed through Buzzfeed’s Facebook page, and be conducted by its UK deputy news editor and former political editor Jim Waterson. BuzzFeed has said its ‘town hall’-style event will give audience members a chance to pose questions to politicians in a series of separate Q&A sessions across the day. It’s an opportunity for Cameron to be truly authentic with his younger voters. Live videostreaming is still in its infancy, but younger audiences clearly have an appetite for this mobile-friendly form of broadcast, which boasts viral immediacy. Last month, Buzzfeed aired a live interview with Obama on Facebook, which had to be moved to YouTube after the link crashed, at the point where it had amassed 35,000 viewers. Let’s hope Facebook is geared up to cope better with the Cameron interview next week!