Live streaming is catching on, but what can it do for your business?
Developments such as Periscope, owned by Twitter, and Facebook Live have brought to the mainstream what was once a somewhat technical process reserved for high profile events such as sports matches. Now the process of sending ‘in the moment’ video to followers is both simple and affordable.
Whether it’s the future of social media remains to be seen, but it’s certainly an up-close way of reaching your audience with an enticing interactive dimension that is missing from pre-recorded video.
Live streaming fulfils the Millennials’ need for personal, transparent and instant content, but it has wider appeal than this 20 year age group. Periscope had 10m worldwide registrations in August 2015, with 2m daily active users, and Facebook Live reports 1bn monthly active users.
With 80% of bandwidth predicted to be dedicated to video traffic by 2019, streaming is likely to experience significant growth.
Harnessing the power of ‘live’
While only a small number of people and businesses are, as yet, creating live content rather than consuming it, this potentially offers a higher opportunity of being seen. AYTM reports in its September 2016 survey that 89% of people who have watched live video stream have watched content from brands at least once.
Consider using live streaming for Q&As, live demonstrations, behinds the scenes stories, instant business announcements or big company events and interviews with experts. Have a specific short term objective, but don’t be afraid to experiment. It doesn’t have to be highly polished – but it does need to be genuine.
When CJAM Group used Periscope to live stream the TyreSafe Briefing last year, it gained instant traction from those unable to attend in person. Using three phones, the CJAM digital team set up one on a tripod to film speakers, a second to enable instant response to comments and questions, and a third to share directly to Facebook and respond to Facebook users.
Due to the sensitive nature of some of the content, which could not be broadcast, four separate livestream sessions were created rather than one continuous session – attracting 400 viewers altogether.
Which service is best?
The AYTM survey found that the most popular platform was Facebook Live (59%) followed by Periscope (29%), with the now defunct pioneer app Meerkat trailing at 8%. Other options are Snapchat Live stories and Instagram’s Live Stories, launched in January, both of which disappear as soon as recording ends.
Courtney Hicks, CJAM’s Digital Manager, says: “All services have merits, but which you use will depend on your audience and goals. In Periscope users can browse live streams, then recommend them, creating a community. Facebook Live had not launched when we used Periscope last year, but both are a great way to engage with your audience and add value to their experience of your brand.
“If your business has a lot of followers on Facebook, and it has lots of engagement, then Facebook Live is a good choice and eliminates redirecting your followers to a live stream on YouTube. While not as sophisticated as YouTube, Facebook Live exists within the platform and the videos are stored on your page’s timeline.
“As it’s native video, uploaded or created on the network, it is preferentially prioritised and starts automatically as you scroll past it. Facebook Live can be found under the status bar on mobile, web and app versions.
“What is incontrovertible is that you need to follow some strong communication basics: ensure you have a good internet connection; alert people to the time and date of your live stream; create a catchy title or description; and interact with your audience during the filming.”