Photo Credit: Google Images
Live streaming video has become a popular way for brands and small businesses to connect with customers and fans. But there are now so many different options – Facebook Live, Twitter Live (Periscope), Instagram Live and YouTube Live – that it can be hard making sense of which one is the best for your business. Here’s what you need to know to get started.
In many ways, Facebook Live has become the default live streaming platform – it’s just so easy to start streaming live right inside the Facebook app. Since most people check Facebook at least once a day, and Facebook live streams remain on your Facebook page even after the live feed is over, it’s a natural choice for many small business owners.
You can use Facebook Live anytime you need (or want) a large live video audience. You simply can’t achieve the same scale with the other live video streaming options. As a result, you might use Facebook Live for important corporate events like a live product launch, or a live interview with the company’s CEO at a major business conference.
While Periscope (and its early rival, Meerkat) was the first live streaming service, other rivals – such as Facebook and Instagram – have largely eclipsed it. The best use case for Twitter Live video is anything impromptu and spontaneous. Some have compared the Twitter Live video functionality (which has been integrated with Periscope) to “live video news” because it feels much less scripted than a Facebook Live experience.
But that’s part of the charm of using Twitter – it has much more of an unscripted, spontaneous feel to it. For example, you might mention an upcoming Facebook Live event in a weekly corporate email newsletter (“join us live next week from the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art”), but a Twitter live video is something that feels much more like a random tweet.
Keep in mind – Instagram Live was largely a response to Snapchat, and that means that Instagram Live videos are meant to be much more casual and limited in scale to a much smaller circle of friends. Moreover, videos disappear after viewing, so that limits their appeal for many small business owners who want to create an archived, searchable record of their video stream. And there’s one more aspect of an Instagram Live stream – it can only last for a maximum of 1 hour. That limits its appeal for large corporate events that might extend for hours at a time.
So what exactly would you use Instagram Live for? You might use it as a “premium” chat feature for VIP fans or customers. You could also use it for a short product demo designed to last less than 30 minutes. The idea behind Instagram Live is that it’s really just intended for “people in the know” or “a close circle of supporters” – it’s not meant to be a mass broadcast mechanism.
As you can see, there’s a time and a place for each of the live video streaming options. It’s not a case of choosing “the best” platform – it’s really a case of finding “the most relevant” platform that matches up with the unique needs of your small business.