Meerkat debuted this spring just in time for SXSW and Periscope arrived about a month later, just in time for Social Media Marketing World. The apps, installed on your smartphone, allow you to broadcast live video to your followers and allow anyone watching to comment on your video, allowing for real-time on-the-go engagement.
Why Live Streaming is Big Now
Visual content, and especially video is hugely powerful in marketing. And while there have long been ways to live stream video, these apps make it dead simple. Also, most of us have all the equipment we need right in our hands with our smart phones. AND, fast data connections make broadcasting accessible to more and more people.
Customers and potential customers crave a behind-the-scenes look into businesses, and this real-time sharing fits the bill perfectly.
Think Like a Fan
Anyone can start a blog in 30 seconds. Even podcasting is becoming easier. Now that live streaming is this easy, are we going to get more crummy content? Yes. But that doesn't mean you can't do it well! Think like a fan. Give your people what they want. Have a strategy. Tell a story. Show the store before it opens, the hard-working employees no one sees when they come through the door, fun interactions at lunch or in the break room. But just because it's easy and lots of people are creating content that wastes everyone's time is no excuse for you to do so.
Some Great Examples of Live Streaming for Business
Brian told us about the "Follow the Sun" campaign by HootSuite. They had employees from locations all over the world broadcast moments from their days. Showing their company culture
Mashable Meerkats often, sharing their account with bloggers and speakers to talk about their content inspiration. It really allows readers to form a connection with writers.
SportsCenter gets on Periscope to answer questions from the audience during commercial breaks.
The Funky Fairy is a UK embroidery shop. They broadcast before opening, showing any new items and then throughout the day they show projects they're working on and why. This has resulted in inquiries from around the world from businesses that are interested in their services.
Brian's own father had a frozen yogurt shop when Brian was a teenager. It only lost him money, but it allowed him to hire Brian and his friends to work there so he could keep an eye on him. There is the kind of story to show! What would people like to know about you?
"The future of marketing is social good."
Don't Worry About Perfection
The nice thing about these live streaming applications is that they are meant to be raw and authentic. People do business with people because they like people. Being yourself might lose you some business, but it will also draw in the people who relate with you and are OK with you being yourself.
If your audience is likely to require you to be professional, you can check your lighting and your sound and make it a little more polished, but you are allowed to be human! Being relatable makes you likeable. We are all on the same team here.
What is the Future of Live Streaming?
Creating great content will be rewarded. Those who provide value (that is, not just showing something we could watch on tv) will be successful. Do a recap, do a one-on-one interview. "Piracy was not invented by live streaming."
A Couple of Technical Things to Note
The video should be taken vertically, as opposed to horizontally. It's a little limiting, but it looks great on Facebook! Speaking of which, make sure you save your videos to your camera roll so you can upload it to Facebook or YouTube later. If you don't want to share your video, you might find that reviewing it gives you plenty of material for a blog post, slideshare, or something else of value!
Brian suggest that politicians get on Periscope or Meerkat and just be ready to say, "I don't know" or "We don't do that." People crave transparency and honesty. Amplify what is good and you'll change the world!
I love social, but I don't get SnapChat. When you post, you are posting one to many, but when you reply it's one-to-one. I loved Brooke Ballard's recent post on the subject for the Grow blog.
Brian tells the story of how a moving company reached out to him in a personal way and actually won his business! He suggests you don't dismiss it immediately, thinking that your customers aren't on SnapChat. If young people are influencing family members to purchase your product or services (he cites the example of Mom Jeans whose customers are 45+ but whose influencers are 13-15!).
About Brian Fanzo
You can find Brian at iSocialFanz , as isocialfanz on pretty much every network. He's a speaker, an IBM and EIU Top 25 Social Leader and a devoted husband and father to three girls under the age of five! He's also a big fan of "Frozen." You'll have to listen to learn more. :)