Live video streaming via social media really entered the mainstream in 2015 with Meerkat and Periscope exploding onto the scene. Facebook , YouTube and Instagram have all followed suit to keep up with their competitors.
While live video streaming is not at all new, the ease at which it can now be facilitated is undeniable. In the past, trying to organise the live stream of an event required the coordination of an audio visual crew and multiple prayers to the internet gods, and if you were lucky, those viewing remotely may be able to watch without any buffering or the entire feed (or sound) dropping out completely.
That’s not to say that these new live streaming apps are not without their technical flaws (there are still drop outs and the sound at times can be questionable) they seem to be much more reliable and accessible than their predecessors.
However, with any new technologies there are pros and cons, and it’s important to explore these before jumping into using live streaming video technology.
- Accessibility: Anyone with a smart phone and internet access can live stream video. This makes it easy to connect in a new way with people and provide them with a behind-the-scenes view of your life, organisation or brand.
- Ease of use: Generally these platforms are extremely user-friendly and of the point-and-shoot variety. It doesn’t take a technical genius to live stream video to the world.
- Cost-effectiveness: Research has suggested that video is a much more effective communication medium than print, however, traditionally it has been expensive to produce. Live streaming apps are cost-effective to use and to feed the content hungry beast that continues to have an ever-growing appetite for video.
- Accessibility: Anyone with a smart phone and internet access can live stream video. Therefore, it may be challenging to protect an organisation’s and/or client’s reputation (and your own) when anyone can live stream less than flattering incidents to the public. I’m definitely not condoning being nontransparent. However, the new trend in live streaming needs to be a consideration in terms of reputational risk aversion strategies.
- Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should: While live video streaming may be the reasonably new shiny toy of social media content, think wisely before using it. Always consider your audience first. Ask yourself, who am I trying to connect with? What am I trying to say? And, most importantly, are they actually going to be interested in this? Don’t overdo it.
- Video production skills really do help: While live streaming apps are easy to use, the video feed can look extremely amateurish if you don’t have a clue about video production. Learn about the composition of shots, what environments allow for the best sound quality and what makes for visually compelling content. To achieve this test, test, and test some more. Ask people for feedback about what worked well and what didn’t and keep improving. Don’t be mediocre. Always aim to create something amazing and creative for your audience and they will thank you with their ongoing support.
Live streaming video is an innovative addition to the ever-growing list of communication channels available. However, as with the selection of any communication tool, it needs to be used in a strategic way to enhance reputation and to build and maintain strong relationships with the people that you’re trying to connect with.
Embrace this technology, but always aim for excellence and never stop honing your skills and improving your content and your audience will keep coming back for more.
Do you have any questions or experiences to share about live streaming?