Should your business take the leap into live-streaming? The short answer is ‘maybe.’ While not a new concept – gamers have been doing it for years – live-streaming moved past video games and to the masses in March of this year when the Meerkat app launched at SXSW. A few months later, Twitter made headlines when it purchased Periscope, another live-streaming platform. And Facebook recently joined the trend with the roll out of live-streaming capabilities for celebrities.
As these platforms fight for market share, businesses find themselves weighing whether they should dive in. It’s an important conversation. The ability to engage clients in real-time is invaluable and live-streaming provides the accessibility, transparency and trust equity that today’s consumers demand.
There are some factors to consider before deciding whether to go live.
Have a plan
The word ‘live’ sends tremors through legal departments and instills fear in CEOs, often resulting in corporate paralysis. Companies that can move past their initial fears, identify strong company spokespeople and outline clear goals and guidelines can reap rewards.
Create access points
Big companies with deep pockets may be the early adopters, but the beauty of live-streaming is its cost effectiveness and the fact that it’s available to anyone with a smartphone. A strong social media following doesn’t hurt. Pre-promotion on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn is key to driving views to your stream. Without these access points, there’s a good chance you’ll be talking to yourself.
One of the biggest downsides of live-streaming is its mortality. Unlike a website or blog, streamed content doesn’t usually last forever. For example, there is no option to replay Meerkat streams after they have aired. Periscope provides access to the videos for 24 hours. Interestingly, Facebook live-streams can be accessed at any time and become part of a user’s history.
A useful tool in crisis mode
Live-streaming can develop camera-ready employees who can quickly act during a crisis, enabling companies to share the spotlight with mainstream media and citizen reporters in a time of crisis. This can be a useful method for setting the record straight and getting your message across.
Look beyond the lack of data
Live-streaming apps are still new and don’t yet provide analytics, so gauging success is tricky. But this lack of measurement hasn’t stopped large brands from testing the waters. DKNY provided viewers a tour of its fashion closet; Red Bull brought them into their Miami Music Week guest-house; and Doritos incentivized views by offering prizes during its #DoritosRoulette Periscope session.
Al Roker has compared the current state of live-streaming to the early days of radio, when content creators found their voice and developed an understanding of the communication medium.
The beloved weatherman is on the right track. Businesses should embrace live-stream technology while proceeding with caution, understanding the risks and rewards – and creating a clear game plan before going live.
Katherine Doble is the Director of Digital and Branding for Schwartz Media Strategies, and is an award-winning blogger, journalist and social media influencer. Katherine melds her public relations and marketing background with today’s technology landscape to create innovative and integrated campaigns for national brands and businesses. Follow Katherine: @KatherineDoble