One social media trend that emerged last year and continues to gain traction in 2016 is video live-streaming via mobile app.
Live-streaming as a medium has been around a while but lack of decent bandwidth and suitable mobile technology have always been an impediment. So you could say video live-streaming’s time has come.
In recent years Google’s Hangouts On Air platform has enabled people to broadcast globally, in real-time and for free. Hangouts are pretty cool but they come with a number of moving parts and if you’re going to live-stream essentially you need to broadcast from a computer.
But now video live-streaming has moved to mobile and all it takes is a simple ‘push of the button’ and you’re broadcasting in real-time to the world! Of course, such ease of use also provides its own set of challenges, but more on that later.
There are five live-streaming options that people are currently talking about:
Meerkat was launched with much fanfare at last year’s SXSW event. Meerkat shone brightly for a few weeks, until Twitter announced it would be releasing a live-streaming app of its own, called Periscope.
Periscope continues to power along as the mobile live-streaming video app of choice for many. Periscope reportedly has 10 million users and they’re watching 40 years’ worth of streams a day.
Periscope replays (known as ‘scopes’) are only available for 24 hours after the live stream, although you can use a service such as Katch.me to archive your broadcast efforts.
Mevee was released this year and is currently in public beta. It differentiates itself in a few ways, including: (a) viewers don’t need to download the app to consume the live content; and (b) the streamed videos are archived online, unless you delete them. Both these factors help boost views of streamed content, which is something I’ve certainly experienced with MeVee, with two of my streams generating over 1000 views each.
Blab is a different beast compared to the other streaming apps but still falls into the same category because (a) it’s a mobile app, although it can also be recorded via desktop; and (b) it streams live video. But whereas Periscope and MeVee are geared towards one-person broadcast or filming of a live event, for example, Blab has a strong social element and is centred around public conversations. Up to four people are able to chat at any given time about a particular topic, while viewers can contribute via Twitter or a chat bar that’s integrated with the platform.
Facebook Live was recently released to the general public, enabling people to record live video via mobile device and stream it through their Facebook timeline. This app has tremendous upside given the huge built-in audience Facebook already has, although the same issues of throttled organic reach on the platform remain.
With the tech side covered, here are three ways you can use video live-streaming to build visibility, influence and trust in the marketplace.
- Reinforce your thought leadership positioning on topics relevant to your profession or industry by delivering a regular ‘riff’ – this can be as simple as once or twice a week ‘staring down the barrel’ of the camera and presenting on a particular issue or subject, as you would on a podcast, YouTube video or on stage;
- Demonstrate your professional knowledge and experience by answering people’s frequently asked questions relevant to your area of expertise. This is similar to the point above but rather than talk big picture themes or expand upon concepts and ideas, it’s more focused on specific pain-points your customers might be having that you can help them with through the provision of timely and relevant information. Melbourne SEO guru Jim Stewart is very active on this front through Periscope and Facebook Live; and
- Amplify your existing content efforts. For example, you might publish a podcast or a particular blog post and then go on Periscope or MeVee or Facebook Live to further explain the episode or article in question, with a call to action to drive people to listen or read what you’ve produced. For example, I’ve started using MeVee to chat further about a newly-published podcast interview with an expert guest.
The suggestions above are perfect for those mobile apps that favour one-way broadcasting. Another option is to set up a Blab with (up to) three other people – preferably they’d be relevant experts or industry commentators in their own right – and the four of you can chat around a pre-determined theme, with you as the curator, organiser and host of the streamed event (Sydney-based futurist Ross Dawson did this recently around the topic ‘The Power of Live Video-Streaming for PR’).
One last thing. With these live-streaming apps, when you hit the ‘record’ button, you’re instantly live-to-air with a potential global audience! Eeek! I recall listening to a PR expert chatting on a podcast about his first experience with Meerkat – he was in bed at the time and didn’t realise he was actually recording a live stream!
Trevor Young is a communications strategist and adviser specialising in ‘content-driven social PR’. He’s a keynote marketing speaker, personal branding mentor and author of the book, microDOMINATION. Trevor blogs at PR Warrior and hosts the podcast, Reputation Revolution. Follow Trevor on Twitter at @trevoryoung.