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The 5-Minute Guide to Live Video Streaming

Live video streaming might just be the next ‘big thing’ when it comes to internet marketing. In fact, it might just be the next big thing when it comes to mobile technology and the web in general.

This is an upcoming platform that presents a ton of amazing opportunities and that every serious marketer should be all over at this point. This is the definition of getting ahead of the competition – and if you can start making waves here before everyone else gets involved it could potentially set you up for huge success in the future.

In this blog, we go over every last thing you could possibly need to know about live video streaming. We look at its possibilities, its uses and the best strategies for finding and growing your audience. In this five minute guide, we’re going to recap on all that and give you a quick ‘crash course’ in this fascinating new topic. Read on and by the time you’ve finished your cup of coffee, you’ll have a good grasp of what this subject involves.

What is Live Video Streaming?

First though, what is video streaming? And how is this anything new? In truth, video streaming of one kind and another has been around for a long time now. Of course we stream videos when we watch Netflix and video conferencing tools like Skype and Google Hangouts also allow streaming of a kind.

But what’s got everyone so excited right now is the advent of three new apps that are just brimming with potential. These are Periscope, Meerkat and Blab. While these apps have their differences, they essentially all perform the same basic function and offer the same appeal. Using one of these apps, anyone can now start recording footage from their phone for people to tune into anywhere around the world and watch live.

When you load up any of the apps, you’ll immediately grasp the concept. You’ll be presented with a huge number of different streams to watch from users all around the world and when you select them, you’ll be shown a live feed from their camera.

This unlocks a world of completely unique content, from vloggers talking about things that matter to them and offering information and tips, to people walking down the road on their way to buy coffee. Meerkat describe it as the ‘closest thing to teleportation’ and it certainly does feel very much as though you’re able to see the world through the eyes of strangers.

On top of watching the feeds though, you’re also able to comment on them, to ask questions, to like your favorites to follow the top content creators and in the case of Blab even to join in with discussions and be featured in the videos yourself.

Why is it So Exciting?

So why is everyone so excited about this concept and what makes it such an appealing ‘next step’ for this kind of software? Mostly, the appeal lies in the fact that live streaming helps to bring us closer together and make the world that bit smaller.

This is what technology has been doing for the last several decades and its part of the big appeal of social media in particular. With these streaming apps though, this is taken even further and we’re now actually invited to become a ‘fly on the wall’ and even to interact directly with the people on camera.

This has huge possibilities and promises an even more connected world going forward. Imagine being able to watch any concert that you like by finding someone who is streaming it live. Or being able to take place in a chat around a campfire from hundreds of miles away.

Or being able to see the Eiffel tower through the eyes of a tourist – or somewhere who works there. Imagine being able to see multiple views of the same world event as it unfolds, or security guards being able to see through the eyes of their colleagues.

At the moment there aren’t enough users for this kind of game changing usage scenario but it will only take for a large event to be covered on a feed for people to rush to these platforms and for them to truly explode in popularity. Our job as internet marketers is to anticipate that rush and to get there before the crowds!

Why it Matters to Marketers

If you’re a marketer looking for a way to build an even bigger audience, then you will quite likely be interested already in video streaming based on what we’ve discussed. What makes this so exciting is its potential – and the fact that it hasn’t yet taken off in the massive way that everyone expects it to.

This means that there’s still time for you to get there ahead of the crowds and to position yourself as a leader on the platform before there is any real competition to speak of in your niche. At the same time, the fact that it’s such a new technology means that there’s a real buzz around it at the moment that you can use to your advantage.

If you upload any video right now on the platform then you can almost be guaranteed that it will get seen by a large audience and lead to a large number of new subscribers.

Quite simply, that’s because there isn’t all that much technology here yet. When you sign up to one of these platforms and look at the homefeeds, you’ll find that there’s normally about 10-20 streams at any one time on Meerkat or Blab and maybe 60 on Periscope. In other words, there’s a good chance that you’ll see most of them.

And because the community is so small and tight-knit, you’ll find that people are very supportive and will join in with your streams. Every time you go live, you can expect a few new subscribers – even if your content isn’t that good! What’s more, live streaming offers some opportunities and potential for marketers that no other platform does.

For starters, it allows your audience to communicate with you directly. This is a great way for you to make more of a lasting impression on those viewers and it’s also a great way for you to get feedback about your products and services so that you can enhance them. Live video also has a very innate appeal to it, in that it feels unique and exciting.

This is a ‘one off’ chance to see footage that will subsequently be gone forever and it has the appeal of being more organic and natural than something staged and edited. This is perfect for building hype around a launch or a product.

And on top of all that is the simple benefit that this form of marketing requires so little investment on your part in terms of time and money. Compared with regular video marketing – which requires the creation of high quality videos that have been filmed on top-end hardware and edited in Sony Vegas or Adobe Premiere – live streaming is considerably simpler and allows you to just point your camera and start rolling.

You can even create ‘passive’ content which might just consist of you doing a workout (for a fitness channel) or working in the office (for a productivity channel). In other words, you can create new content and build new followers by just going about your usual business – of course this can be perfect for optimizing your marketing ROI!

The Big Three Platforms for Live Video Streaming

With that in mind then, let’s take a closer look at the big three platforms available and which one might be best for your marketing activities.

For general video streaming your best options are Meerkat and Periscope. Each of these platforms allows you to simply point your phone and shoot to create new footage and this will then be viewed full-screen by your audience who can then comment, like and share if they’re enjoying it.

Blab though is slightly different. Blab’s main focus is on communication and essentially this acts like video conferencing software except where other users can watch the videos if they like. The idea is that you can use this service to find interviews, discussion and conversation on ‘the topics that matter to you’.

This has a very specific use case scenario then and will mainly be used for vlogging, conferences, seminars and interviews – as opposed to streaming things like concerts or events. So out of Meerkat and Periscope, which is right for your business?

Well, in terms of pure numbers, Periscope is certainly the more appealing option right now with a larger viewership and more footage. Periscope is also owned by Twitter, which gives it a lot of prestige and increases its likelihood of success. And some of this calibre can be seen when you load up the app which is beautifully designed and very slick.

Periscope also has some very useful features that Meerkat doesn’t offer. Chief among these is the ability for videos to be stored on the service and then replayed for a short period after they’ve been filed. This means that people who missed your content will get a chance to watch it later – particularly handy if you have an international audience. In comparison, Meerkat can feel a little empty, underpowered and cluttered.

That said though, Meerkat does also have its advantages. For one, it lets you updload pictures during your stream which is a nice touch. More importantly, it appears to have attracted more marketers and vloggers.

Whereas much of the content on Periscope feels somewhat voyeuristic (people sleeping, walking to work, eating breakfast), the content on Meerkat is slightly more well-put together and feels more like a podcast platform.

Interestingly, Meerkat also lets you ‘schedule’ your streams so that people can mark them in their calendar if they think they sound interesting. Blab, while different, does also offer a number of advantages of its own.

For starters, the platform saves all of your videos so that they can be replayed instantly. Most impressive of all though, is the ability for you to join in with conversations that other people are having. If you’re accepted by the user who started the stream, then up to four people can chat at once which is a great tool for influencer marketing.

The biggest downsides to Blab are the lack of an Android app and the small size of the videos. The former issue though can be solved by using the website at Blab.im.

How to Succeed In Live Video Streaming

Such is the buzz about these platforms right now that all you really have to do to be successful is to sign up.

Do that and you’ll be one of the only content creators – it’s very easy to stand out. At the same time though, it’s still important to look after your brand and that means making sure that you’re delivering some really interesting and unique content that’s relevant to your niche.

Good ideas for things you can film include unboxings, product reviews, top tips and discussions. You can also provide tours of your offices, or film yourself working out if you’re in the fitness niche.

These are all good options that will engage your audience and offer quality footage for those who are interested in the platform. Promote your live video streaming on Facebook, Twitter and through your email list.

Twitter is particularly powerful as it is integrated with all three of the big streaming platforms. This means that as you build Twitter followers, you will likely build followers on the streaming sites too. Make sure that you write great titles, get involved in other people’s Blabs and engage with your audience when they comment ask questions.

Most of all though, just have fun with it and experiment. These are the early days of these platforms so really there’s no ‘right way’ to go about it. Just offer value, communicate with your audience and sell your products and services.

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