Live streaming video

Your Hottest New Weapon: Live Streaming Video

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Video-based content is on its way to becoming the most widely consumed form of media available on the Internet. With platforms like YouTube cranking out unfathomable amounts of video clips, users have become accustomed to absorbing content in a highly visual and more compelling manner than text alone. In every minute of the day, 300 hours of new video are uploaded and made available to YouTube’s billion-plus users. Vines are everywhere and GIFs litter the Internet.
But despite the awesome benefits of video content, an even more compelling form of media is beginning to take the Internet by storm; live streaming video.
Over the past year, several live streaming video sites and apps have emerged, making some serious waves. This type of real-time interaction provides businesses and consumers a dynamic and exciting way to engage and make profound connections. For this reason, businesses, influencers, and regular Joes are all converging on these sites for a piece of the action.
Check out some of the in-demand live streaming platforms that businesses and consumers alike just can’t stop talking about.
Periscope
The most popular live streaming service currently available is Periscope. The Twitter-owned live streaming service connects folks from all over the world with face-to-face digital interaction. In order to broadcast video through Periscope, users must sign up using their Twitter account. Users can then subscribe to the Periscope broadcasts posted by those they follow on Twitter and notifications will be provided each time one of these individuals begins a broadcast. Similarly once someone a user follows begins a broadcast, a link will be automatically posted to Twitter. Periscope’s defining feature is that streams can be saved for up to 24 hours once a broadcast has ended, allowing for those who were not able to attend to still gain the insights shared.
Brands can develop highly engaging live streaming campaigns through the use of how-to tutorials, sneak-peaks for upcoming product releases and celebrity Periscope takeovers. These types of broadcasts can not only reel in loads of views but can also help generate impressive levels of engagement.
MeerKat
First announced at SXSW, MeerKat has been Periscope’s arch nemesis since the beginning. MeerKat is often hailed for its simplicity; simply tap the Stream button and the broadcast is up and running. Don’t have the time to stream right now? No problem, with MeerKat streams can be scheduled for future dates. What really sets MeerKat aside from the bunch, however, is their leaderboard system where users and viewers are ranked on activity levels. While MeerKat’s broadcasts disappear the moment they end and the layout is a bit more cluttered than Periscope’s, this does not stop 20 percent of MeerKat’s two million users from consuming upwards of two hours of video per day.
Since broadcasts vanish instantly upon ending with MeerKat, brands should take advantage of this platform by engaging with audiences through Q&A sessions, flash sales exclusive to the stream, and behind-the-scenes looks at company operations.
Blab.Im
While Blab is the newest of the live streaming platforms, the site has elicited some major recognition over the past several months. Despite its current beta status, Blab is beginning to hit it big with many industry professionals and social media marketers. As opposed to Periscope or MeerKat, Blab allows for on-screen group conversations to take place with up to four participants at a time. In a Brady Bunch-style layout, participants discuss topics while viewers interact with the panel through a comment bar. As long as there are not four participants in the conversation, anyone can join in at any time as long as the host accepts the request. Streams can be scheduled out in advance as well as saved for later viewing once they are over.
Marketers can gain leverage through Blab by inviting industry influencers on to discuss insights, make intimate connections with audience members by allowing individuals to join on-screen and ask questions, and providing truly value insights to audience members through insider knowledge.
Stre.am
Stre.am is one of the lesser-known platforms, but is quickly making headway. While information on Stre.am’s user base is not currently available, Google Play shows the app has been download 100,000 to 500,000 times on Android devices alone. Part of what makes Stre.am unique is that users are given the freedom to open up non-intrusive live-chat screens during broadcasts which are displayed just to the left of the video stream. On top of videos remaining available for 24 hours after a broadcast ends, Stre.am allows for users to download video files. Stre.am has the most comprehensive social options available as it connects users with friends and followers across Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
As live streaming video services continue to explode in popularity, more and more celebrities, influencers, and popular brands are after a piece of the action. If you think that live streaming is a valuable engagement tool for your brand, now is the time to become an early adopter before the sites become too noisy and the competition gets too stiff.
Do you think that live streaming video is set to be the next big movement is social online interaction? Or is this movement just a passing trend?

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Digital producer, online marketer, community manager, and multi-faceted writer Tina Courtney-Brown has been managing cross-functional teams for online businesses since 1996. Tina has assisted many clients in maximizing online production and marketing efforts, and is a staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She’s produced and marketed innovative content for major players like Disney and JDate, as well as boutique startups galore, with fortes including social media, SEO, massively multiplayer games, community management, social networks, and project management. Tina is also a certified Reiki practitioner, herbalist, nonprofit director and spiritual counselor.  Learn more at her personal website, or find her on Facebook and Google+
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