When live-streaming first entered our Internet world back in the early-to-mid 2000’s, it was really a tool for individuals’ personal use. Today, live-streaming is a very different tool – one that can be used by marketers in engaging and very effective ways. And being able to record in HD and stream in Wi-Fi or 3G has really moved live-streaming into the world of marketing. Think about introducing a new product via live-streaming to an audience that can even ask questions, versus pictures and text. There is just no comparison at all. There are a few well-known live-streaming tools that marketers can use right now, and more are being developed. Choosing the right one for your needs will require that you understand the details of each option.
How Live-Streaming Fits into a Marketing Strategy
Before we look at the details of your live-streaming options, it is important to look at what marketing strategies you want to incorporate through one of these tools. Here are the things you can do.
- Q & A’s
If you use a tool with a built-in conversation feature, your audience can ask questions about your company, your brand, products and such. If you have other experts to bring in, they can also answer questions.
- Release of New Products
Not only can you demonstrate new products, but you can also request and receive feedback from your viewers, giving their opinions and what they do and do not like, and what they might like in the future. This is like free market research for you.
Viewers who cannot attend your events or events you are attending can be there. And viewers can ask you for clarifications, to zoom in on a booth or speaker with a slide.
- Show Your Business Personality with Behind-the-Scenes Action
Establishing relationships with your audiences is a critical piece of marketing today. Nothing can do that better than introducing them to the people behind your brand – friendly people who look just like them, who work hard, who play, and who have a commitment to your organization.
- Re-Purpose Your Live-Stream Video
After your broadcast is finished, you save it to any device you want. You can then upload that video to YouTube, to Facebook, and to your website. And you can then promote that video anywhere else.
5 of the Most Popular Live Streaming Apps
- Periscope (iOs and Android)
One of the best features of Periscope is that a broadcast is held for 24 hours, and this allows any audience members who have missed it to view it at another time with that 1-day parameter.
One of the issues with live-streaming has been that the stream may be promoted on Twitter or Facebook, and once someone links to it, it is already gone. This won’t happen ever with Periscope because, even after the 24 hours is over, the producer can save the stream to his/her device and then upload it to any other place.
While Periscope has unlimited uses for individuals who want to live-stream for personal reasons, marketers can make great use of it, especially if they use Twitter as one of their major content marketing platforms. Jimmy Fallon uses Periscope when he rehearses for his monologue.
In February, 2015, Twitter purchased Periscope. Posts promoting any live-stream Periscope video can be automatically accomplished. This exclusive connection with Twitter does give the Periscope app an advantage over the others. And viewers who download the Periscope app can have full access to any live-stream that has been published within the past 24 hours. This gives Periscope a bit of an edge over other Live-streaming.
- Meerkat (iOS and Android)
The best element of Meerkat is that your audience can text chat with you throughout the broadcast. Here is an example from a New York fashion show being streamed by an attendee. The text chats show up at the bottom of the stream, and those who are viewing are shown at the top.
The added chat capability of Meerkat is certainly a way to connect more with your audiences and for them to connect with one another.
While Meerkat does not have the 24-hour “save” that Periscope does, there is a way for videos to be saved. By using the Katch Kats app with Meerkat, the video will automatically be saved to YouTube. From there, it can be uploaded to other platforms, so that viewers who missed it can still see it.
Because Meerkat’s use of Twitter is somewhat restricted, Meerkat has looked to find other ways to promote itself. It now allows viewers to re-stream its content on their Facebook pages, and this can be done easily and seamlessly. This is not yet possible through Periscope.
- Hang w/ (iOS and Android)
Here is a unique take on live-streaming. You receive a web page for your videos and then can send your followers/users/visitors to your web page to see them all. Live streams can be promoted well in advance in being filmed, and your older videos are saved on your page. Here is an example of Jared Leto’s Hang w/ page with all of his videos.
You can check out all of his videos at: https://www.hangwith.com/user/jaredleto/nEp2r5caUf
- Stringwire (for iOS and Android)
The unique feature of this app is that you establish your own channel and then invite others to live-stream to it. They can then choose which broadcast to view. The other thing you can do is connect your Stringwire to YouTube. Users state there are some advanced features but you need to be pretty tech-savvy to use them. This app is owned by NBC, and it encourages users to live-stream breaking news they witness and upload it for possible use. This app is probably not suitable for marketers.
The best feature of Blab is that the “Blab” (live-stream video producer) can invite as many viewers as possible but can also set up video conversations with as many as 4 “blabbers.” Neither Meerkat nor Periscope off this feature yet.
This is a really useful tool if a marketer is attempting to conduct some market research when a new product or service is introduced, giving customers an outlet to discuss its benefits and drawbacks. This certainly encourages conversation and thus relationship and trust-building. And the 4 blabbers can see each other as they converse.
Which to Choose?
As usual with these types of apps, all have features that are attractive to a marketer (except, perhaps, for Stringwire). The option that may work for you will not work for another, and many live-stream users have said that they experiment with a couple before they settle in on one. You may need to do this too. As well, new updates and features are being added all of the time, so you will need to stay informed. Not adding live-streaming to your marketing plan, however, should not be an option. If you competitors are not already using it, they will be soon.
Some Additional Thoughts
- Live-streaming should be added to your content calendar. The more often you stream, the more opportunity you have to grow your audience and the more content you have for re-purposing in other media ways.
- Try doubling up – If you are producing a podcast or an interview, stream it on one of the apps.
- Remember as well that not all of your live-streaming should be just about your products and your business. Your audiences enjoy a plethora of things, and if you know your audiences well, you can live stream many things that may hold their interest – a concert, a sports event, or any newsworthy item that you have caught. If you support a cause, live-stream an event in which you and your team members are involved. All of these things begin to show your brand’s personality and, more important, that you understand everyone has interests and want to validate them.
- Live-streaming is new. But the “big boys” are already heavily involved. When Taco Bell decided to add a new breakfast item, called the biscuit taco, they use Periscope as one of their marketing techniques. They held a mock press conference and invited people to visit their local Taco Bell for a free biscuit taco. Immediately, they began to collect hearts (the same a “likes” on Facebook) and there were 453 replays within the first three hours of publishing. Getting ahead in the use of this new tool can give you a definite edge, especially if your streams are entertaining
- Front-End Promotion. One of the things that will make your live-stream campaign successful is to build up anticipation on the part of your target audience. Invite everyone to tune in, providing the date and time, of course, and promise great stuff (of course, you then have to deliver that great stuff).
- Back-End Promotion. And of course many of your targets will have missed the event. So, you summarize what they missed and encourage them to attend your next event. Or, you point them to YouTube and anywhere else you may have uploaded it and invite them to watch.