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Live Video 101: What Platforms to Use and Their Benefits

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Pre-recorded videos have been around for ages, of course, and their dependability is something that couldn't be questioned. 

But in this age of 24/7 connectivity, they just don't feel "urgent." People can't do anything with them except fast forward, rewind, and skip- they become nothing more than passive viewers, with no say whatsoever in what's happening on the screen.

Why You Should Go Live

Live video is different. Think of it as your own personal broadcast channel. It provides a unique experience that is available only at the time of the broadcast. It is both urgent and interactive- two traits that you can't find in regular pre-recorded video and even live TV news broadcasts. 

With live video, you can DIRECTLY talk to your audience and engage with them on a more personal level. Your audience are not just "potential customers," but rather, they are your "community." They can like, share, read, and write comments- basically, exert influence on whatever they're being shown on the broadcast.

If you want to learn how to create live videos of your own on major social media networks, read on. 

Facebook Live

As Facebook have seemingly become the "default" social networking site of the Internet, it's not suprising that it also has one of the most active live video communities on the Internet today. With just a click anywhere on the Facebook Live Map, you'll be able to find, view, and participate in livestreams from all around the world. 

Facebook Live works best for staged studio broadcasts, live action coverage, and face-to-camera videos. Basically, this is the platform that you would want to use if you're going to be reading from a script, market a product, or even if you're just experimenting with the format.

How to Use It:

Simply tap or click on the Go Live button, and you're set. For the Facebook Mentions app, you would need to tap on the Post button and select your audience first before you start broadcasting. 

A Facebook Live broadcast can last up to four hours. During the course of the broadcast, you'll be able to see the current number of viewers, their reactions, as well as their comments (which you would see scrolling on the screen as they come). Upon the end of your broadcast, the video is saved and automatically added to your Facebook page or profile. 

Notable benefits:

Facebook Live allows you target your broadcast to a selected audience, so it's great from a marketing standpoint. 

More people are on Facebook. More people = larger potential audience. 

Facebook Live has integrated video analytics features so you can easily track results. 

Twitter Live

With its acquisition of Periscope a couple of years ago, Twitter had long positioned itself as a player in live video streaming. Finally, in 2016, some of Periscope's main features were finally integrated into the main Twitter app itself, which opened the way for the whole Twitterverse to start broadcasting. 

Twitter Live is great for short, impromptu broadcasts (i.e. when you saw something interesting on the street and want to share it to your followers) and for tidbit-sized coverage for events. As a rule of thumb, use Twitter Live when you want to SHOW something (an event, an interesting object, a funny sign, etcetera)- keep the longer marketing spiels, lectures, Ask Me Anything sessions and the like to Facebook. 

How To Use: 

Compose a new Tweet and tap on the Live button. After entering the title for your broadcast, tap on Go Live.

As with Facebook, you'll be able to see the comments of your viewers, as well as the number of "hearts" that you receive during the broadcast. 

It's important to note that your broadcast will be available on BOTH Twitter and Periscope. After it ends, Twitter will automatically save your video and post it on your Twitter timeline. 

Notable Benefits:

With around 10 million users, having your broadcast on Periscope gives it another layer of discoverability. If you give Twitter access to your location data, your video will also be available for viewing on its Live map. 

Instagram Live

While initially known for being a photo-sharing app, Instagram is starting to give Snapchat a run for its money. Unlike Twitter and Facebook, Instagram's approach to live video is different. When you broadcast- that's it. It won't be saved to your profile and neither can you record it. Your viewers won't be able to access it again. It's pretty similar to how Snapchat does messaging on its platform. 

This might sound like a negtive thing- but it isn't. This ephemeral broadcasts give Instagram Live a sense of urgency that Twitter Live and Facebook Live doesn't have. 

However, it's still best to keep your broadcasts short and sweet with Instagram. Say only what you need to say. This platform works best for demonstrations and short personal chats with your most loyal customers and audience members. 

How To Use:

On the upper left corner of the app, tap the Camera icon, tap Live, and tap Start Live Video to start the broadcasting. 

Instagram Live videos can last for an hour. When you're broadcasting, your followers will see a LIVE sign next to your profile in the Stories bar. Clicking on it will take them to your broadcast. They can also receive a notification whenever you go live. 

Like in Twitter and Facebook, you'll be able to see your viewers' comments and reactions. You can also pin a comment to your broadcast so that new viewers will be able to understand what's going on. 

Notable Benefits:

Because of its temporary nature, there is the possibility of some of your audience being left out from your broadcast. However, this kind of risk would also COMPELL them to watch you. If they didn't catch your broadcast now, they wouldn't be able to watch it again. So they NEED to view you now.

Instagram also provides a more personal and intimate broadcasting experience than Facebook and Twitter. It's pretty similar to how you would talk to a person face-to-face in real life. 

Conclusion

To sum it all up, live video is the future. However, don't just jump head first into the world of live video without knowing what your options are. These social networks all have different approaches in live broadcasting- what your needs are will determine the right kind of platform for you.