For business’ looking for a new way to tell their story, live streaming is a powerful way to connect with your audience from a different perspective. From behind the scenes experiences and off-the-cuff Q&A sessions to industry news and live product demos, video has the ability to connect us beyond an image or a text blog post. Though video is not a new concept to marketing, this year we’ve seen exciting new products and improvements. Beyond Youtube and podcasts, in general, the top video live-streaming tools that are currently battling for marketers attention are Google Hangouts, Meerkat, Periscope and Blab. Google Hangouts has been around for a few years and is one of the surviving products created as part of Google+. Meerkat and Periscope joined the video world and entered the scene this past winter. Blab is even newer, but has marketers really excited! Facebook and Yahoo are getting in on the video bandwagon too with Facebook Live and Livetext.
In the past, live-streaming tools have mainly focused on carefully curated webinars and often were computer-based. As cell phones continue to take over the world and wifi networks grow and improve, live-streaming becomes more accessible and mobile. While each of these networks warrants their own post, for the sake of your time, I’ll dive into a brief overview of the two top trending live-streaming video marketing tools (in my opinion) – Periscope and Blab. In a future post, I’ll share an overview of ways your business and personal brand can use these tools to connect and form relationships.
Periscope is a social media broadcasting video platform that allows you to live-stream your experiences and share them with others all over the world. Acquired by Twitter in February (before the platform even launched), Periscope’s Twitter integration allows you to take advantage of the network you’ve already established. It’s easy to log in using your Twitter credentials and update your account right away. Periscope has a clean interface that makes it easy to join broadcasts or start your own. Here are some of the best practices I’ve seen used successfully:
Use a Concise and Descriptive Title
What will your audience get to see or learn during your broadcast? Will it be behind the scenes at one of their favorite companies or a Q&A with an industry leader? Sharing a clear message will help your audience be prepared for the broadcast and potentially get them to click, watch, and continue to watch the whole time! Your title and username is all that is seen when Periscope users scroll through the broadcasts, so you only have a moment to capture attention. A unique title or an exclusive behind the scenes can draw attention and a great call to action and hashtag can help encourage conversation during the broadcast.
Answer & Ask Questions in Real Time
Since Instagram video and other video social media networks like Vine & Snapchat are pre-recorded, there isn’t focus on interactivity like Periscope provides. When all the questions and comments come after you post the video to your network, you don’t have the ability to respond in real time. Follow-ups either have to be made through comments or with additional video posts. With Periscope, your audience can type questions to you as you go, which can influence the direction of the broadcast. It makes the experience more authentic because you sometimes will speak off the cuff. Conversely, as you video your experience, you can pose questions to your audience to engage them in the discussion. Read the name of the user and answer their question directly. If you seem to have a quiet audience, ask them to share the love by giving your presentation hearts or props if they like what they see or hear.
Promote Your Periscope Broadcast In Advance
When you begin broadcasting, Twitter will send a tweet to promote your live stream and the replay (if you choose to record) will be available for 24 hours on the platform. This will change in the near future as Periscope users have shared they want continued access to their video. I recommend scheduling a time to Periscope in advance, so you can give your audience some notice. Your other social networks, like Twitter and Instagram, are great places to promote this content.
Still in Beta, Blab is a newer video live-streaming service, but it has so much potential! I’ve had a ton of fun blabbing (new social media term in my book) over the past few days and getting to know this product. Unlike Periscopes where one video is shared to many, Blab allows up to 4 users to take the spotlight. Sometimes I find that Periscopes can drag on because most often there is just one person talking to an audience, while Blab is a true conversation between people. One Blab-er (I’m making these terms up as I go!) creates a title, adds a few tags, schedules the Blab or goes live… however once the Blab begins, 3 other people can join the hot seat. But be aware, these 3 people don’t have to be the same the whole time!! In some of the Blab’s I’ve joined, a “moderator” can boot speakers out and bring in new participants. This keeps the conversation flowing and doesn’t limit audience participation to just tweeting, commenting or giving props. The moderator does have control so if any guest gets out of hand, they can be booted. I will admit, Blab is a little buggy as it is a new platform and has a tendency to freeze up – check your wifi signal and power level before joining. Here are some initial best practices I’ve observed; though I’m sure there will be more as additional people and business’ adopt Blab as part of their marketing mix:
Schedule Your Blab in Advance (and Promote on all Social Networks)
You can set up and schedule your Blab in advance. There is a page on the site showing the scheduled Blab’s, so users can register and have notifications sent to them when your Blab goes live. I absolutely love this feature because you can promote your talk in advance and have an actual link to share with your audience. I’ve signed up for a few for later in the month — there are so many to choose from. The only downfall is you can only search by category. I’d love to see a feature to sort by most popular!
Record Your Video For Viewing Later
At any time once your Blab is live, you can start recording the presentation. These replays are available on a replay tab on the site and add content to your arsenal to promote on social media. It’s also good to watch the recording to improve your presentation for next time! A great tip for creating a good recording is to mute your microphone when others are talking so there isn’t any feedback. That platform is fairly user-friendly, so it’s easy to navigate your way around on the site.
Engage with the Audience During Presentations
Blab is a very interactive platform with a strong focus on social networking. You can have up to 4 people within the video screens and then engage through Twitter on the left side pane and through the chat window on the right! When you set up your Blab, you can select up to 3 topics or categories and include a hashtag in the name of the event. Stay true to this topic and encourage use of the hashtag if anyone is following along on Twitter. Ask questions to your audience and let them know to give you props if they like what they are hearing and to follow you on Blab by clicking on your username! Here are some shortcuts to use in the chat window:
- /question or /q to ask a question
- /topic to change the topic if you are the host
Video live streaming has great potential for your personal brand or business. Experiment with different tactics and don’t be afraid to ask your audience what they want to see! These platforms are still developing, so watch how other businesses are taking advantage of these resources and try something new. And as always on social media, be aware of the rules.
Have you used either of these platforms for personal or professional use? I’d love to hear what best practices you’ve discovered. I’ll share some ideas for video live-streaming your business in a future blog post. Stay tuned…