Get up to date with live streaming, the latest social media trend
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Get up to date with live streaming, the latest social media trend

You’re at a festival, and your mate couldn’t make it. It’s a shame, but there’s not much you can do to commiserate, right? Well now, with the emergence of live streaming apps, you could stream performances from their favourite band for them to watch in real time. You could share streams of pets behaving strangely, gaming, or a friend making a cake. The possibilities of these apps are just being realised with the recent releases of Meerkat and Periscope, where anyone can set up a live stream with nothing more than their smartphone.

Live streaming apps are becoming the new ‘thing’ on the social media scene. The idea of streaming a live video of what is going on as it happens was first implemented in Twitter’s Periscope app, but its competitor Meerkat stole the spotlight by releasing its app first. Now that both apps are out on iOS, how mainstream will live streaming become? And how can brands use these apps to their advantage?

The initial popularity of Meerkat appeared to rely on it being the first app of its kind, garnering a substantial following of users before the release of Periscope. The extra time taken to develop Periscope shows in the extra features it exhibits, for example, Periscope allows for replay of live streams for up to 24 hours; useful if people happen to miss the brief period that a user has been streaming for, so possibly the best option for brands to use. It even lets you send a private broadcast to specific users. Periscope also has the option for Twitter sharing.

Meerkat, on the other hand, shares user’s streams directly on Twitter rather than creating its own feed within the app. As Twitter is needed for both of these current live streaming apps, it would be ideal for use by a brand that already has an active Twitter feed. Both apps allow live commenting on streams, which is very useful for the user as they can act on this feedback to immediately improve their stream.

Live streaming has potential to be very useful for brands, but how should it be implemented? This is a fairly new trend, therefore it’s likely that new methods for its use will come into focus, as it stands there are still a few ideas that brands could use to encourage exposure and gain a following.

• Behind the scenes access

If your brand has some interesting stuff going on behind closed doors, this is the way to share it. For example, Sky journalists were streaming before and after the Battle for No. 10 debate, keeping the online audience engaged by encouraging questions and gauging reactions in the app’s comment feature. Keep it interactive and interesting, and your audience will be drawn to your stream.

• Conferences and interviews

Conferences that are interesting and relevant to your brand could be streamed on your brand’s Twitter, which would allow your audience to gain some understanding of the brand and also interact with you via the stream. These apps have also already been used to stream applicable interviews; brands could interview their employees, executives, or other key people to give a further look at behind the scenes to generate more interest. You could even give tours of office areas or other engaging spaces.

• Live events or performances

When your brand is attending events or performances related to the brand, a live stream could help generate a following. As an example, Meerkat users attending the SXSW interactive conference were streaming the musical performances for others to enjoy. Users may already have an interest in the event or performance and stumble across your stream, exploring your brand further or simply remembering the name as a consequence.

• “How to” streams

If your brand is involved in providing solutions, you can engage with an audience by demonstrating how to perform a task. Making a cup of tea or ironing a shirt, anything can be demonstrated on here, and of course you could show tutorials in tasks related to your brand.

The open possibilities of live streaming will be a very tempting prospect for active internet users and brands alike. It may take time to figure out the most effective techniques for gaining interest in your streams, but as the live stream market grows, more users will be implementing their own ideas which can provide you with more ideas for your own brand. We hope we have given you some ideas about how to further expand your brand’s online presence, get busy and get going with some streams of your own! Please share your finding and comments with us - let's get streaming, people!

Written by Yasmin Caine
 

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