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Originally published by 4imprint on February 09, 2016

The ability to capture live moments in life gained traction in spring 2015 when two social media apps—PeriscopeSM and MeerkatSM—debuted, allowing users to stream live video to their followers. While not the first or only live steaming platforms in existence, their “mobile first” strategy led to a phenomenal response, especially for Periscope, launched by Twitter® and named the best Apple® operating system app in 2015.[1]

Within five months of Periscope’s debut, 10 million users established accounts (compared to 6 million users during the first two years of Facebook’s® debut), and 2 million daily users were watching the cumulative equivalent of 40 years of video every day.[2]

The apps basically allow you to shoot and live stream video from your smart phone. Followers watch as you record in real time. In Periscope’s case, the video is not saved for later viewing; Meerkat saves the footage for 24 hours. Viewers may comment and give feedback on the video as they watch.

While the live streaming apps—much like any social media app—are hugely popular for sharing personal adventures and time spent with friends and family, they have a place in a business’s content marketing tool chest. This Blue Paper® will provide ideas for live streaming business content, compare live streaming apps, give tips on how make the best of live streaming and outline factors to consider should you decide to hit record on this emerging medium.

The question—to stream or not to stream

With new technology sometimes comes hesitation when it comes to being an early adopter, especially when businesses are already grappling with limited human resources and perhaps resistance by legal or brand departments that show concern over the inability to edit content. Others may consider live streaming to be just a passing phase.

But, experts don’t believe live streaming is a fad that will go away soon, and they point to potential advantages that can enhance business’ reputations rather than tarnish them. Live streaming, they say, is an easy and exciting way to show transparency in your business.[3] While this video footage may make some feel a bit defenseless because it’s live, the in-the-moment element also humanizes a company. Followers will see the people behind the front door, creating a deeper bond with the brand.

Live streaming also creates an opportunity to build a community with your followers.[4] With the ability for commenting, businesses can gather feedback and suggestions from customers. And, if you live stream regularly, you could build a greater following and expand your community even more.

Why may followers be apt to engage with your brand during a live stream? The reasons have to do with the content that bodes well for a live stream (more on that next). Live stream audiences engage because: [5]

  • They are curious. We as humans like to learn and discover new things. Live streaming allows you to show content they may not otherwise see.
  • They crave recognition. You can seek feedback by calling on viewers by name or user ID.
  • They want to belong. You won’t get thousands of viewers to your live stream; however, because of the viewership’s small size, the people who do watch will feel a greater sense of belonging and kinship to your brand.
  • They like being in control. Audience interaction allows them to take an active part in the broadcast.
  • They like exclusivity. No one else except the audience participating at the time of the broadcast will have the ability to interact so closely with your content.

Live streaming ideas to get you started

“But what exactly would I live stream to my followers?” you may be asking. Lots of things about your company—no matter what the industry—are worth sharing. Not only can live streaming, when done well, enhance a reputation, it can build brand loyalty and help recruit new employees.

Let’s take a look at just a few ideas to get you started:[6],[7],[8]

Question and answer sessions: Establish yourself as an expert in your field by hosting a Q&A session. Choose a specific topic based on common questions you receive about your product or service.

Sneak peek: Do you have a new product or new office space? Are you a store with new merchandise? Give your followers the first behind-the-scenes look at whatever is new at your company.

How-to: Do you often get questions about how to use your product? Do you give live demos? Live streaming is a great way to provide how-to advice. Service companies also have options at their fingertips—bakeries can show how to frost a cake or fitness studios may demonstrate a fitness routine.

Show your process: Rather than answering how to do something, show your followers how something is done. Are you able—without revealing secrets to your competition—to give a behind-the-scenes glimpse of how you make a product or deliver a service? Doing so can build trust among your customers. GE® gave viewer access—with the help of drone cameras—to its manufacturing facilities, something the vast majority of followers would never see any other way.

Get client testimonials: Live customer testimonials are even more authentic when viewers know they are not edited.

News: The era of citizen journalism is here. If you have news to share about your company, but reporters aren’t beating down your door to cover it, become your own news outlet. Even if the media attend your announcement, live streaming the event spreads the word farther and faster.

Show off employees: Engage your employees by having them play host to a type of “moment-in-the-life-of” live stream. One or more employees or entire departments could conduct a Q&A session about their jobs and how they interface with customers.

Events: Are you hosting an event like an open house or community gathering? Live stream event activities for those who may not have heard about the event or could not attend in person.

The ideas are numerous. Essentially, if you can think of a way to share content that viewers may not normally see, it’s likely a good fit for live streaming.

Live stream app comparison

If you’ve decided that live streaming would be a great addition to your content marketing strategy, you may be wondering how to choose the best app for you. This side-by-side comparison may make your decision a little easier:[9], [10]


If you are still unsure which app to use, a good practice would be to try more than one or all.[11] As you get used to live streaming and seeing how your audience is connecting, you may find that one app stands out among the crowd.

Live streaming best practices

Admittedly, as easy as live streaming sounds, more should go into the production than pointing your smartphone at a subject and hitting record. A successful live stream takes time to plan, and brainstorming what may go wrong and how to fix it on the fly will go far in creating a live stream that your audience will enjoy.

Check out these seven tips to get you started:

  1. Plan ahead. Like anything you do in business, live streaming should start with the goals and objectives you want to accomplish through the new medium.[12] And, like a good communication plan, it’s best to identify the people within your organization who can best carry out an unscripted, in-the-moment presentation.
  2. Be compelling.[13] The real-time nature of live streaming is exciting, but also keep in mind that you are your viewers’ eyes and ears, so show more than tell. Periscope’s creators say they “wanted to build the closest thing to teleportation.” Consider how you can take advantage of this concept.
  3. Don’t try to be perfect.[14] If you lose your train of thought or stumble over words during a broadcast, that’s OK. Your audience wants you to be real, and if your content is compelling, they will be more interested in the topic than whether you give a perfect pitch.
  4. Consider a format other than story-centric:[15] Your viewers will be able to join (and drop out of) your live stream at any given moment. Using a story-telling, linear approach may leave them hanging. Try to be more spontaneous by using viewer feedback.
  5. Fit your brand without making it all about your brand.[16] Remember that an important aspect of live streaming is its authenticity, so try not to self-promote your brand. Let your content subtly sell your product or service. At the same time, shoot in a style that reflects your brand and its voice.
  6. Include audience interaction.[17] Communicate with your audience and encourage feedback in the form of questions or reaction to your content. Acknowledge audience members’ feedback, and if you get more questions than you can answer, select the most interesting or most pertinent to incorporate into the live session.[18]
  7. Consider that not everything is a good fit for live streaming. Some things may have a better shelf-life and greater reach when they are not streamed live. A how-to video that customers may want to access again and again is far better living on your website and your YouTube channel verses a live stream video that can’t be re-watched.

Finally, when you’ve identified a topic and day you plan to live stream, talk about it. Invite social media followers—on all your platforms—to join the conversation. Use your email database for further outreach.

Legal issues to consider

Because of its very nature, live streaming can open the door to legal issues if a person or copyrighted material is inadvertently included in the broadcast without permission. Unlike editorial content, business or commercial content has limitations no matter whether the live stream is done in a public setting or within a company. It’s called “right of publicity,” according to PC World®:[19]

“That means that any video recorded requires the permission of those shown in the video before it can be used for commercial purposes, whether it be for a social media post or a digital ad.”

Having people—even those who work for you—sign a release is a good practice. Two other tips may keep other legal issues at bay:[20]

  • Plan where you will be live streaming and alert anyone who may be captured in the frame, or avoid areas where people may inadvertently walk into the video frame.
  • If you are venturing into the real world (or even if you’re not), take care that copyrighted information doesn’t creep into your video stream. Plan your shots to keep brand billboards or signage from showing up in your stream, and take care to ensure copyrighted music isn’t playing in the background.

Because most live streams have an extremely short or no shelf life and because the medium is so young, experts don’t quite know how legal issues will play out if they arise. But, like any communication, it’s best to err on the side of caution and be aware that video has more potential to stream unwanted and unintentional content than other forms of communication.

With large brands as early adopters of live streaming, it’s likely the medium use will grow among businesses, large and small, in all industries. Now that you have a few ideas and tips to get you started, consider giving live streaming a try.  With very little investment, you may find a greater kinship with your customers and build more brand advocates.


Notes de fin

[1] Hackl, Cathy. “Periscope vs. Facebook Live: Is the Battle over Live Streaming Heating Up?” The Huffington Post. The Huffington Post, 10 Dec. 2015. Web. 05 Jan. 2016. <>.
[2] McMillin, David. “3 Staggering Statistics That Show Why You Need To Get Ready For Periscope.” PCMA. Professional Convention Management Association, 16 Aug. 2015. Web. 09 Jan. 2016. <>.
[3] Holmes, Ryan. “Weekend Read: Do the Latest Live-Streaming Apps Make Sense for Business?” Le journal de Wall Street. Dow Jones & Company, 3 Apr. 2015. Web. 05 Jan. 2016. <>.
[4] Idem
[5] Calero, Antonio. “6 Ways to Use Live Streaming Video for Business.” Social Media Examiner. Social Media Examiner, 05 May 2015. Web. 05 Jan. 2016. <>.
[6] Goldstein, Joel. “Marketing Your Small Business With Live Streaming.” Business 2 Community. N.p., 8 Dec. 2015. Web. 05 Jan. 2016. <>.
[7] Fuller, Alice. “Mobile Live Streaming for Business: Periscope and Meerkat.” Social Media Today., 14 Aug. 2015. Web. 05 Jan. 2016. <>.
[8] Battles, Ryan. Using Periscope for Business: How to Engage Your Audience with Live Streaming. Self-published. Printed by CreateSpace, 2015.
[9] Dougherty, Jim. “The 7 Commandments of Video-Streaming Apps.” Cision. Cision US Inc., 31 Aug. 2015. Web. 09 Jan. 2016. <>.
[10] Fuller, Alice. “Mobile Live Streaming for Business: Periscope and Meerkat.” Social Media Today., 14 Aug. 2015. Web. 05 Jan. 2016. <>.
[11] Idem
[12] Doble, Katherine. “Spreading The Word: Does Live-streaming Make Sense for Your Business?” Miami Herald. Miami Herald, 12 Dec. 2015. Web. 05 Jan. 2016. <>.
[13] Dormehl, Luke. “How Entrepreneurs Can Leverage The Power Of Live-Streaming Apps.” Entreprise rapide. Fast Company & Inc., 08 May 2015. Web. 05 Jan. 2016. <>.
[14] Battles, Ryan. Using Periscope for Business: How to Engage Your Audience with Live Streaming. Self-published. Printed by CreateSpace, 2015.
[15] Dormehl, Luke. “How Entrepreneurs Can Leverage The Power Of Live-Streaming Apps.” Entreprise rapide. Fast Company & Inc., 08 May 2015. Web. 05 Jan. 2016. <>.
[16] Idem
[17] Idem
[18] Calero, Antonio. “6 Ways to Use Live Streaming Video for Business.” Social Media Examiner. Social Media Examiner, 05 May 2015. Web. 05 Jan. 2016. <>.
[19] Miners, Zach. “Live Streaming Apps like Meerkat and Periscope Pose Legal Risks for Users.” PCWorld. IDG Consumer & SMB, 20 Apr. 2015. Web. 09 Jan. 2016. <>.
[20] Sloane, Garett. “4 Legal Issues Brands Need to Understand Before Livestreaming on Periscope or Meerkat.” AdWeek. AdWeek, 31 Mar. 2015. Web. 09 Jan. 2016. <>.

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