March 2016 Newsletter: Tips for Going Live

Live video made its advent last year when Periscope and Meerkat launched moments apart (okay, it was more like a week or so).

As Facebook gets ready to launch live video to a wider group, it’s clear that live video in social media marketing is here to stay. Facebook is even considering the use of live video for streaming Thursday night NFL games next season. If it’s successful (we’re guessing it will be), it’s going to change marketing, or change marketing more than it has already.

Live video may be for verified pages and celebrities only now but it'll be coming to the masses soon.

Live video may be for verified pages and celebrities only now but it’ll be coming to the masses soon.

According to this survey from Brandlive, 44% of brands are already using live video as part of their marketing and 20% plan to adopt it this year.

Everywhere you look, video is on the rise- Entrepreneur Magazine

Earlier this month, an article from Entrepreneur Magazine (quoted above) shared some predictions for marketing trends in the coming year, and the first two are all about video. Number two is what we’re actually going to be discussing here: “Live Streaming Platforms Rise to the Top.” The platforms that currently support live streaming are Google, Periscope, Meerkat, and Facebook (still in beta, but the fact that they’re jumping on board should be enough to convince any nay-sayers that live video is here to stay).

You may have heard of Youtube or Vimeo but live video works a little differently. Driven primarily from mobile devices and discoverable by location and topic as it happens, live video is a way to do video that even a year ago wasn’t possible.

Meet the Apps


periscopeWhat You Need: Periscope app and Twitter Account (this is optional but really helps)
How it Works: Periscope is a mobile-only app. Once you are logged in, all you have to do is record. Anyone who is connected to you on Twitter (who you also follow) is notified you are broadcasting and can view your live stream. People can also find you via search (#workingout) or by location (browsing the map of recent or live broadcasts).
FYI Fun Link: Periscope around the world day:

Google Hangouts

What You Need: A Google account. Bonus points if you also have a YouTube account integrated with your business page.
What Happens: Using Google Hangouts on Air, you can stream video from your computer. Like Meerkat, you can host using either your desktop or mobile devices. Scheduling and inviting your connections via your Google+ circles (so there is more control).  Once you’re done recording, the video automatically publishes to YouTube for you to repurpose later on.
FYI Fun Link: Hosting Free Webinars with Google Hangout:


meerkatWhat You Need: Meerkat App and Twitter Account
How it Works: Meerkat broadcasts are also published on Twitter once finished, but one significant difference is that Meerkat will also record via desktop (Periscope is mobile only). Some people report that recording via desktop doesn’t have the same quality that the iOS app does. You can either start streaming immediately or schedule for later (which will give followers a warning in advance). Full disclosure: we have not used this (see fun link below)
FYI Fun Link: Meerkat is pivoting away from live streaming and towards social networking:


What You Need: A Facebook profile and celebrity status or a verified page (at least for now)
How it Works: Right now, Facebook live is only available for public figures like Martha Stewart or Ricky Gervais, or other verified pages (the ones with the blue check mark next to their names). When they go to Publish something on their page, they have a live video option in addition to status updates and photos. Like Periscope and Meerkat, comments are available in real time from viewers. Once the stream is over, the video is automatically published on the page’s timeline, or it can be deleted.
FYI Fun Link: Martha Stewart in a live video with her gardener (who looks a little uncomfortable but also kind of adorable):

Best Practices

Before You Go Live

  • Announce and market in advance. If it’s a bigger event that you want to make sure people are there to see, plan ahead. Every now and then, off the cuff is fine.
  • Think a little about your main messages. The idea with a live broadcast is you want to be responsive to listener feedback but should you have a few or relatively silent listeners, you should have something ready to say.
  • Test it out- sound, lighting, make sure the space is going to work.
  • Make sure you have a strong internet connection. The last thing you want during recording is for the stream to shut down because you lose internet connection.
  • If you think you want to save the video after the fact, make necessary arrangements. 

While Live

  • Try not to get too fixated on the number of viewers. This can be a bit distracting as you’re trying to record.
  • Respond to comments as they come in.
  • Go long. Although it’s recommended that video posts be short and sweet (2-3 minutes), live streaming is a beast of a different nature. Although there’s no real time limit, one recommendation is between 10-60 minutes.

After Going Live

For an in-depth look at how different organizations can use live-streaming apps, check out our blog post from this past month:


Our first in-person workshop in 2+ years is happening September 24!