Weather personality Al Roker announced the launch of live-streaming network Roker Media this month to give marketers a way to tap into emerging personalities in food, music, gaming and sports on platforms such as Meerkat, Periscope, YouNow and Facebook Live.
But the secret sauce could be the commerce. Roker’s partner, Ron Pruett Jr., is a long-time direct marketing and infomercial veteran, most recently with “As Seen on TV.” He predicts real-time commerce is where the action will emerge this year.
Sid Wainer & Son, a 102-year-old specialty food company in New Bedford, MA, has enlisted fourth-generation family members Jamie and Allie Wainer to star in “Sid in the Kitchen Live.” The sisters are young, attractive, personable and authentic — the latter a quality that works best in this rapidly evolving arena.
Last month, Sid Wainer tested a 13-minute Facebook Live show and the sisters offered special prices on foods that could be purchased directly through the “Shop” button on the company’s Web site.
Viewers were encouraged to share the video for a chance to win a package of free chocolate mousse mix. (They got 47 shares.) A behind-the-scenes producer shouted out live questions coming in through the Facebook feed during the show and the sisters answered.
Because a show is archived on the Facebook page, it can continue to attract viewers. “Sid in the Kitchen Live” now has more than 15,000 views.
Pruett says people did buy products as the show aired. But full-fledged ecommerce, he believes, will emerge only when the platforms integrate a “buy now” button into the experience. He’s working behind the scenes to accelerate this adoption. Given ecommerce giant Amazon’s entry into the field with an eSports league on its live-gaming platform, Twitch, it seems inevitable.
Pruett says it takes a special kind of person to sell in a live environment. All of HSN and QVC have only 60 people who are are actually on camera selling, he says. “When you’re live, No. 1 you’re live, which is scary enough, but now people can respond to you in real time. It’s in-your-face marketing.”
Marketers just have to start playing with the various platforms, Pruett adds. Depending on the target segment you have, look at what each platform offers. Facebook has so many users, how do you carve out your audience? Target the people who are following you.
If you have a younger more Millennial audience, YouNow is a better platform, he says. They’ve built a better machine for commerce, a built-in tip jar gives a way to pay the creators and keeps the talent coming back. (Here are the findings of a research deep dive into behavior on YouNow.)
“As brilliant as so much of traditional social media was, it is static,” Pruett says. “This is live television on people’s cell phones and they are watching it.”