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Sunday
Feb262017

Why live video is hot


EVERY social media-savvy person I speak to tells me that the hot new trend for this year is live video. Online video has been around for some time now.

It’s easy to record a video and post it on YouTube or Vimeo for others to watch. You’ve probably done it yourself. But until recently, live streaming was not easily achievable and certainly not affordable. Now it’s easy to do and it’s free.

The company that sparked the whole live video trend was Meerkat. After its launch in early 2015, it generated a lot of buzz but is now defunct. It wasn’t that it was ahead of its time. The demand for live video has been growing consistently. It’s just that when the big boys enter the scene, the small players get squashed.

In this case, the big boys are Twitter and Facebook, and to a lesser degree Instagram (which is owned by Facebook). Each has launched its own version of live video.

The appeal of live video, as compared to on-demand video, is that precisely because it’s live that the audience feels more connected, more involved and more emotional about it. There is something about a live broadcast that makes it feel more authentic.

A really big differentiating factor is the fact that the audience can post comments and engage with the broadcaster as well as with each other, making the live stream a truly interactive experience.

For organisations that have long wanted to utilise video for branding or marketing purposes, social media’s live video offerings are like manna from heaven. Not only are these services free of charge, they’re easy and fast to make.

Unlike pre-recorded videos, where there’s an expectation of higher quality, there’s almost no pre-production, no editing and no post-production involved. Live video is a very time- and cost-efficient way to do videos.

Let’s look at three of the top live video services out there which are super easy to use:

TWITTER

Twitter’s live-broadcasting app is called Periscope. It used to be a standalone app but in December last year, it was incorporated directly into Twitter. So you can now live-stream directly on Twitter from your smartphone (there’s no need to download the Periscope app, although if you do, you’ll have more functionalities available).

To launch your live video via your Twitter app on your smart phone, tap the “Compose” icon, tap “Live”, tap “Go Live” and off you go.

Being that this isn’t just live video but live social video, there’s interactivity built into the offering. So, during the live stream, the audience can comment and send hearts. You can (and of course should) respond and interact with your fans. To end the live stream, just tap the “End Video” button.

FACEBOOK

Facebook’s live video is just as easy to get started on. Like Twitter, Facebook’s live video functionality is incorporated into Facebook’s app.

Just open your Facebook Page and click on the “Status” button. There, choose the “Go Live” video icon and you can start broadcasting. It’s as easy as that.

As the video streams out to your audience, you’re able to see who is viewing your video and read their real-time comments. All videos are automatically saved but of course you can delete them if you want to.

INSTAGRAM

Not to be outdone, Instagram also offers a live video option. But unlike its parent company’s (Facebook) offering, its live stream cannot be recorded.

In that sense, it’s truly live video where once the broadcast is over, it’s gone forever. You can of course use a third party app to do the recording if you really need a copy for archival purposes.

To start offering live video via the Instagram app, tap on the camera icon on the top left corner of your screen and tap “Live” followed by “Start Live Video”. That’s it. Your broadcast will appear in your Instagram Story.

Note that Instagram also offers two other video options: “Normal”, which features videos that disappear after 24 hours and “Boomerang”, which offers time-lapse-style videos created from a bunch of photos.

BRANDING AND MARKETING

If you run an organisation or are just someone who wants to bolster your own personal brand, there are many reasons for offering live video.

The social media-savvy generation are all into it, so if you want to tap into this valuable demographic, you’ll need to offer them what they want.

Because it’s live, it naturally creates a sense of urgency in your audience. When a video is available on demand, people have a tendency to procrastinate, telling themselves they’ll watch it later. But that never get around to doing that. This is less likely to happen with a live video because the target audience will know they’ve got to catch it while it is streaming.

While it’s possible to use live video for lead generation or even for creating content that could later be sold (you could save some of these videos and offer them for paid download or paid video-on-demand) but live video is really ideal for branding and marketing purposes.

Here are three live video ideas for you to consider:

• Broadcast a live event. This could be a performance, a demonstration, a product launch, a competition, a speech — anything that your target audience would be keen to watch live can be streamed.

Remember that live social video should be interactive in nature so talk to your audience and get their feedback during the broadcast.

• Show some behind-the-scenes situations. Your audience will naturally want to know more about how you or your organisation does things. They want to see the chatter and the interactions between staff members and so on. This is great for making your audience feel a lot closer to you.

• Have a live Q&A. Take questions in real time and answer them in real time too. This kind of interactive experience makes the brand feel more authentic and down-to-earth.

Oon Yeoh is a consultant with experiences in print, online and mobile media. reach him at oonyeoh@gmail.com

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