A beginner’s guide to live-streaming for business

Live-streaming is taking the social media and business world by storm right now. But what’s it all about and is it something your business should be getting involved in?

Social media expert Liz Melville explains the basics…
What is live-streaming?
Live-streaming is really nothing new, but networks such as Periscope and Blab have taken it to the masses. Now you can simply download their apps onto your smartphone, point your camera at something, and broadcast live from wherever you are.
The key difference between existing services such as YouTube and the newer live-streaming apps is this live element. Nothing is pre-recorded or scripted. You are live, on camera, giving viewers the opportunity to interact with you in real time. To ask questions, comment… and engage!
Is live-streaming right for MY business?
Live-streaming brings with it a whole new marketing philosophy. It offers the chance for your customers to see the real you – to hear your tone and see your facial expressions; the 93% of non verbal communication that is lost in written tweets and Facebook posts.
It is proving to be the fastest way to build online connections. For example, it took one Periscope user seven years to build a Twitter following of 20,000 people. But on Periscope he did it in three months! Just think what it would mean to your business to have that size of audience in such a short time.
Where should I start?
The first thing to do is to choose a network to start with. There are several live-streaming platforms to choose from and not all are the same. Periscope and Meerkat are app-based and work on the basis of one individual broadcasting to many.
With Blab, up to four people can take a ‘seat’ and be on camera in a broadcast at the same time.
First of all, consider your objectives for each broadcast. Is it an update on your business, a tutorial, or behind the scenes look? If so, Periscope might be. However, if you want to have a group discussion, interview someone for a podcast, or simply have someone else with you on the broadcast, then Blab might be a better choice.
So how do you get started?
Download the app
Periscope is available in iOS and Android for most smartphones. You can find the app in iTunes or download it from Periscope.tv.
Blab, however, is still in beta phase, so is currently only available in iOS. While the app is great, Blab is often best used on your laptop by going to Blab.im.
So, now you’re ready to broadcast, here are my five tips for getting started:
  1. Be you and face the fear
Terrified of going on camera? Just be you! As soon as you go live, you will see people joining your broadcast, and the comments will begin to flow. Talk to those people. A good idea for a first broadcast is to simply introduce yourself and tell everyone a little about what you do, and what you are passionate about.
  1. Choose an attention-grabbing title
If you want your broadcast to stand out amongst other peoples’, you need to give it an attention-grabbing title. Entice people to want to know more. Use a couple of hashtags and some colourful emoticons on Periscope too!
  1. Make notes
Make notes of the key points you want to cover in your broadcast. As you begin to interact with comments and other users, it’s easy to lose track of where you are. Your notes will get you back on topic.
  1. Interact
This is the absolute crux of live-streaming – the live interaction! Welcome new people as they join your broadcast. Respond to questions and comments. Keep the conversation going and interact with your viewers. Don’t just talk into the camera and ignore the live comments – that’s for YouTube!
Let Liz Melville know how you get on @lizmelv at Twitter, or visit her Facebook page. 
To find out more about Liz Melville, check out the website.