When Social Media became ‘a thing’, and businesses began to really care about the conversations happening there, the timeliness - it’s ‘liveness’ - posed a real change to the way companies had to think and operate.
Citizen journalism grew, customer service and complaints became integrated with marketing and communications departments, community managers became key to maintaining control of the messages being sent out. Businesses may open and close their doors, but social media is open 24 hours a day.
Add to this our currently insatiable appetite for video and you have ‘the new live’: instantaneous, authentic, unedited content.
To meet this demand new platforms have emerged and the ‘old hats’ of social (facebook and twitter for example) have created new offerings to meet the demand.
If it’s even possible, social media is ‘more live’ than ever.
So, here’s your update on what ‘live’ looks like in 2016 - what platforms have emerged, how platforms have evolved, and how to use these features to grow and support your business.
Facebook recently made it miles easier for people to broadcast videos to friends and groups via the Facebook Live feature. There are two elements to this: the way everyday people with regular profiles can use this feature, and the way verified business pages can use it.
The thing to be aware of in terms of each individual of facebook being able to ‘go live’, is that if your customers have a customer service issue, they can now show you in real time through live video.
As a verified business page (not verified? It might be time to start the process, live video streaming gives a great opportunity for people to get to know your brand personality and people better. The world of social media has seen the growth of the personal brand and the success of the solo-preneur, as people get to know them on a personal level. I think that more and more we’ll find that brands that have recognisable faces and people at the front of them will succeed.
Live video really caters for these people and businesses that take this approach.
One of the great things about Snapchat is the removal of vanity metrics. There’s no easy way to quickly see how many friends another user has, or what their reach is. It’s incredibly personal; you follow someone because you really engage with their personality - not their products or the style of their images. It’s being held up as the golden child of true, real, deep and meaningful engagement - and I think that’s a fairly accurate depiction.
By capturing short and sharp videos with a short shelf-life, it’s got the ‘live-ness’ factor that the modern audience seems to prefer, but isn’t so live that you need to be right on top of answering questions or responding to comments immediately (see Periscope).
If you’re already an avid snapper, I found this great roundup of tools to up your Snapchat game you might be interested in.
Periscope’s brand promise is that it allows you to explore the world through someone else’s eyes. Given that Twitter grew through it’s place really as the cornerstone of citizen journalism and emergency information collation, it is not surprising that Periscope is their answer to the ‘new live’. In Australia for example, many people experienced the Black Saturday Bushfires through twitter as their key media source, and many an #auspol #spill has been well followed through the twittersphere.
Periscope allows you to go live anytime, anywhere. It creates a truly interactive event, with hearts and comments appearing on the screen through social integration and interaction on the platform itself.
All that being said and done, our pick in this ‘live’ world is currently Blab. I say currently, because that may all change with the next round of updates, new products or just Facebook Live behemoth really ramping up.
Where Facebook Live is like a broadcast, and Periscope is like a real-life status update - complete with interaction tools - Blab is a shared conversation.
Mashable once described it as ‘Pericope for a group of friends’ but we think it has much broader applications.
At the outset, you wouldn’t think it would add much more than Google Hangouts or Skype. There is a four person chat set up in a grid on the screen (yes, I agree it’s very Brady Bunch). Other users can request to join a Blab, and the creator can accept or deny their entry.
As a creator you can let the live chat disappear once it’s over OR you can let it live on by hitting record. We have used Blab, in preference to Periscope, because of the easy integration to twitter (ironic, we know), what we see as a better user interface for viewers and creators (no hearts! Conversation with real people, not a stream of comments!) and the ability to pull in other users to join the conversation...if we wish. Plus for business can you do this at your desk, no fiddling with your phone to get started!
We’ve hosted conversations on Blab with other users, and even extracted the audio and re-purposed the content as part of the Out in the Big Blue Podcast.
These platforms may not include live video streaming, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have something to offer the ‘new live’ game.
First, they introduced video, recently they extended these videos to 60 seconds and now, Instagram has just announced they’ll support featured video channels.
Owned by facebook - who have also made recent changes their video offerings - Instagram is known for introducing change slowly, with staged roll-outs to gauge community feedback. This is another step in the monetisation of the platform, and a great way for users to access more of the kind of content they’re seeking across other platforms.
You can’t ignore good old Twitter in terms of enabling real-time connections - although monetisation is still a struggle for the platform.
Aside from better video features, there’s not a lot that has changed in why and when twitter is great. It is still the best tool to support real life events with digital interaction. This is a niche I think would be difficult to fill if there became a world where twitter did not exist.
After some years in the commercial conference industry, I know how much value an online conversation can add to a real life one, but also how difficult it can be to juggle getting people talking online, in the room…all while making sure the air con isn’t too cold/hot/loud. Whether you’re hosting or attending an event find out what the hashtag is and get involved. Hear the opinions of others, connect with speakers and generally add an extra layer of value to the event. Pro tip for an event host - set your hashtag early, make sure it’s a relatively clear space and promote, promote, promote.
All these changes are overwhelming evidence that this is the type of content that people are craving. We would be remiss to ignore it.
If you want to discuss how live elements could be integrated with your digital strategy, get in touch with our team today. I for one love talking about this stuff; it would be great to speak with you.