People gravitate to a live experience. Playoff hockey and presidential debates allow us to huddle around a screen with friends and family.

But what makes this experience live? What gives un-edited live content its visceral appeal? Urgency, suspense, fomo are all driving forces of engagement for real-time events.

Will the RedBull skier make the jump? Will Kanye do something outlandish at Bonnaroo?

This is the new brand of suspense in the era of live media. However, live is often canned.

Canned content

What about live experiences around non-live events? Shows like Stranger Things & GOT have turned pre-recorded content into live experiences themselves. Fan talkshows and chatrooms bring real-time engagement to post-live content. If you don’t watch your favorite show live, you’re missing a crucial part of the fan experience and the memes that come with it.

Community building around specific moments is essential to establishing a live experience. Brands need to engage viewers on multiple channels before, during, and after live events in order to create a cohesive narrative.

Pokemon Go created a community around a live scavenger hunt. Amazon Prime Day created a community around flash sale commerce. Live community channels can be erected on top of branded events to drive engagement and loyalty. But community building must take place on multiple media touch-points to succeed.

Before, during and in-between live

Community grows in live moments. It happens in the comment sections of Twitch, Periscope, and Facebook Live streams. Adding concentric circles of dialogue around a live event makes for a richer media experience. Cross-platform narratives also mean better distribution. Conversations that spill over from Instagram Live to Twitter lets your story take on a second life after the stream has ended.

“Complementary channels allow for more engaged eyes and voices joining the conversation, which makes a richer social and creative environment,” says Eddie Vaca, CEO of AmpLive.

Keep the conversation going

An essential engagement layer to live is influencer commentary. Having select voices intermediate and amplify a B2C relationship brings a level of authenticity to your live messaging.

Personality-driven content like a Reddit AMA or a roundtable after Real Housewives of Atlanta brings intimacy to the storytelling. We remember the faces and personality on Morning Joe, not the nuances of the debate itself.

Platforms like Thinkwire offer expert commentary that can be layered onto any live stream. These structured influencer discussions promote the brand’s narrative through their personal social channels – building community and engaging audience on new channels.

Live experiences are all about driving conversation up to, during and in between events. Streaming is a key piece to this narrative and should always be paired with other live media channels.



Tal Schwartz is founder and CEO of Thinkwire.