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Five reasons you should be live-streaming and tips on how to do it

BY TAYLOR WYLLIE
There’s something magical about being able to react to a breaking news story, get an answer to a pressing question or see your favorite reality star win the final challenge – all in real time.
From question-and-answer videos, to webinars, to product launches, live-streaming video is the newest way to engage with people across the world.
Jim Tobin, president of Ignite Social Media, said on a recent webinar that live-streaming is one of the six top social media trends for 2016 and beyond.
Still need to be convinced? Here are the top five reasons you need to get on board with the trend:

  1. You’ll be ahead of the game.
    Live-streaming is an up-and-coming form of online communication. While it’s been around for decades, it’s only now getting cheap and easy enough that even the smallest companies and nonprofits have access. To stand out and strengthen your brand, get on board before it becomes the norm (which it definitely will). Facebook recently launched its own live streaming service (Facebook Live). If that doesn’t prove this is the way of the future, I’m not sure what does.
  2. It allows for vibrant online interaction (and allows you to monitor that interaction)
    Live-streaming means live commenting, tweeting, Facebooking, etc. When a community of people are all digitally gathered at the same time, you are creating a social space and encouraging direct engagement among viewers. And because this is all in real time you’re able to see how people are responding to your content (both positively and negatively) and tweak your messaging throughout the broadcast to get the results you want.
  3. It goes beyond physical and geographical limitations
    Venues only have so much space and people only have so much money to get to that space. By live-streaming events, especially ones that encapsulate your brand, you’re allowing more people to participate who otherwise wouldn’t be exposed to your company.
  4. It allows the viewers to be in on the action
    Live-streaming videos allow people to be in the story themselves. Say you’re hosting a product launch. People are there with you, able to ask questions and feel a part of something, instead of passively watching an old demonstration. Since live-streaming by nature is a one-shot deal, there is also a sense that viewers need to engage right now, instead of bookmarking a video to watch later (or never).
  5. It’s easy (and sometimes free)
    There are a number of websites and apps that are super simple to use that do all the heavy lifting for you.

Free options:

  • YouTube Live Events: Under your dashboard you’ll find the option to live-stream. Click on that. From there
    YouTube will ask you to verify your account. Once done, YouTube will take you to its live-streaming page. It has an easy-to-use checklist for you to follow. Every video you live-stream will be recorded automatically so you can upload it to your account for people to watch later.
  • Periscope: Download the Periscope app for any smartphone. You can login with your Twitter handle, or create an account using your phone number. Once you have an account you simply allow Periscope to access your camera, audio and location (the latter you can hide from your followers) and select “broadcast now.” Voilà – you’re live-streaming.
  • Facebook Live: Click on “what’s on your mind” at the top of your newsfeed. Select live-video from the dropdown menu and then, when you’re ready, select “go live.”

Paid options: The following options do cost money, but they come with convenient features, like the ability to embed your live video into any website, blog or social media account, that might make it worth the cost. Because you pay for your account you also will have more help when it comes to troubleshooting.

Simply create an account for the following websites and there will be a plethora of information to walk you through how to begin.

  • https://www.wowza.com
  • http://www.ustream.tv
  • https://livestream.com ♦

— Taylor Wyllie is an OWAA intern and student at the University of Montana, pursuing a degree in both journalism and environmental studies. She’s reported and edited for the independent student newspaper, The Montana Kaimin, for two years, and her work has appeared on Montana PBS, Montana Public Radio and in the Missoulian.

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