Lights, Camera, Live Action

With every new trend in social media comes another chance for companies to take advantage of it. Specifically, this new trend is live video streaming. Almost an expansion upon Twitter’s ability to send comments and messages in real time, live video allows users to

Video itself has become extremely popular recently. It’s hard to compete with such a dynamic form of storytelling. More than just a stagnant picture or status update, video gives companies the chance to speak from its unique voice, establish a desired brand, and shorten the social distance between the company and the consumers it serves.

Periscope, an app from the creators of Twitter, is but one program in a growing list of new services that are rapidly increasing in popularity. Others include Meerkat, YouNow, and recently Facebook Live. 

These benefits are only amplified with new live video features. Consumers appreciate a company that feels real and human, that they can personally relate to. Video that is live is difficult to make overly produced and edited. For consumers, feeling like they are an insider, experiencing something in the moment is powerful. Seeing exactly how a product works in real time is very convincing. Even the chance to potentially see a mistake occur live, a feeling of “I saw it first,” draws increased engagement and interest. The emotion live video provokes is raw and organic. The service also strives from word of mouth attention (again, very organic in nature), which is probably the most powerful advertising possible.

Not to pull politics into this discussion, but we are living in an age where grassroots efforts are crucial. From Bernie Sanders’s political revolution, to the countless Kickstarter and GoFundMe pages, the public craves organic action, and live video streaming is the technological equivalent.I even think of the streaming website Twitch, where many video game players utilize live streaming and have viewers watch them simply play a game, real people in real time. Or when online video chatting like Skype first arrived and how revolutionary to was to talk to someone as if they were sitting in the same room, seeing every expression and hearing every tone in their voice. When modern technology first developed, it felt robotic. Live streaming helps technology become more like a personal connection between others rather than a cold barrier, a middle ground prone to miscommunication.

Since now, television has dominated all video services. With live video online, brands can reduce the pricey costs and save time associated with making, editing and producing videos and commercials. What’s more, once the live stream is finished, it still exists on a page as a regular video, so if a brand wants to download it, edit it and reuse it, it can. Many different social media platforms have been experimenting with live video, demonstrating how accessible the transition is as people crave it more.

Companies using the new live video services for marketing purposes is still a new concept. The technology is open to many various purposes for brands, as some have already shown. These include hosting question-and-answer sessions with customers, giving customers an “exclusive first look” at a new product or service, and showing live events and giving viewers a “behind-the-scenes” look into different aspects of a brand. Before companies should approach live streaming, they should keep in mind how to plan a strategy for attracting an audience without becoming too produced, take risks with increased participation and remain flexible, and convey to people the company’s pride and sincerity. Companies who prove they can successfully live stream content reflects on their adaptability and awareness of customers’ wants.

Company GE is but one of many companies experimenting with new ways to reach audiences using live video streaming. Others include a live giveaway from Doritos, live summer-themed broadcasts from Nestle, and a real-time chat from Wendy’s.

Now that the capability of live video is within our grasp, we must utilize it. Accessing it unlocks a new world of opportunities for people and companies for dynamic storytelling. Rather than trying to read a few phrases or stare at a picture, a video can capture an audience within seconds and stay with them long after the screen goes dark. This is especially important when our attention spans desire the shortest, most visually engaging messages possible.

Personally, I have yet to really dip my toes into the world of live video streaming, but as someone working in the media, I know for those in business and even journalism, this is the direction we are going. It’s crucial to start taking advantage now of these services in their infancy and grow with them in the coming years.

Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie


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