Testimonial Twirp

Live Streaming: Choosing a Platform

2015 was the year of live streaming. Periscope, Meerkat, Blab and Facebook Live were all born. The platforms are gaining popularity and more businesses are getting involved every day. With all of the choices, and I’ve only listed a few of the most well known, how do you decide which live streaming platform to choose? Let’s start with the basic similarities and differences of each one.

Periscope

This is a monologue platform. To use them you will log in and talk at your viewers with limited engagement opportunities.

  • Broadcast Style – Mainly a monologue from the broadcaster. Only one person on screen at a time.
  • Engagement – Limited. Viewers logged in can give “hearts” or “likes” and type questions in the chat. Meerkat allows you to hand over your broadcast to another viewer for 30 seconds, as in, to ask or answer a question for an interview.
  • Technical equipment – Broadcasts are from mobile devices only, via the apps.
  • Social media integration – Periscope is rolling out live embedded broadcasts in the Twitter feed. In other words, if you’re scrolling through Twitter and someone is broadcasting, you’ll be able to watch them without leaving Twitter, similar to watching an embedded video.
  • Replay – Replays are available for 24 hours on your profile. You can save your broadcast to your phone for future use.
  • Tips – Avoid wind (for sound quality). Pay attention to lighting (face the sun). Make sure you have a good wifi signal and lots of data/battery.
  • Common topics – What’s happening now, breaking news, sunrise, sunset, live music, live coaching sessions, interviews

Blab

    NOTE: Blab was shuttered on Aug 11, 2016.
  • live streaming on BlabBroadcast Style – Two-way conversation between people on screen together. Think panel discussions. You can have up to four people on screen at a time, all chatting back and forth.
  • Engagement – Viewers can chat with hosts and other viewers in the chat and give “props” when something is said that they like. Viewers may also be allowed to call in to interact live with the broadcaster and guests.
  • Technical equipment – At the time of writing, Blab does have an iOs app and some users find this works better for them than a laptop. However, the best quality sound and video always comes from a laptop. Viewers can watch and participate from the app or a browser.
  • Social media integration – You can embed your Blab profile on your website to let people know when you are live, and you can also embed an individual Blab broadcast on your website so people can watch the replays.
  • Replay – As long as you record, replays are available on your Blab profile until you remove them. You can download your broadcasts for future use.
  • Tips –  Use a headset to cut down on echoes in the sound. Background noise is very distracting so pick a quiet place to broadcast.
  • Common topics – social media marketing, business coaching, life coaching, tech talk, cooking demonstrations, artist demonstrations, psychics/mediums, interviews, learning English and other languages.

Facebook Live

  • facebook liveBroadcast Style – Mainly a monologue from the broadcaster. Only available to verified brands and public figures currently.
  • Engagement – Limited to the Facebook comments below the broadcast.
  • Technical equipment – Broadcasts are from mobile devices only, via the app.
  • Social media integration – Obviously the benefit to this one is that it is embedded directly into Facebook and remains there, with all of the engagement in the comments.
  • Replay – Replays are available on the page/profile where the broadcast was made, but you cannot currently download the broadcast for repurposing.
  • Tips – Avoid wind (for sound quality). Pay attention to lighting (face the sun). Make sure you have a good wifi signal and lots of data/battery.
  • Common topics – Whatever your free webinar might be about, life coaching, marketing tips, inspiration, “ask me anything”.

Other live streaming options

  • MeVee – similar to Periscope, but will allow you to monetize your broadcasts, getting paid by running ads.
  • Twitch – very popular among gaming bloggers, it allows you to live stream your screen, therefore talking about what you’re doing. Think about all the Minecraft and Clash of Clan bloggers on Youtube.
  • Mirrativ – only available on Android, also allows you to live stream what you’re doing on your screen.
  • Huzza.io, FireTalk, Crowdcast

How to choose a live streaming platform

The first thing you need to ask yourself is whether you want to talk at or with your live streaming audience. Can you jump on and monologue about your chosen topic(s) on a regular basis? Would you prefer to have conversations with other people?

The next question is about your equipment. While all of the live streaming platforms will likely come to all of the devices eventually, they may not be all-in just yet. Will you be working on a laptop or do you prefer to work on your phone? Some of the platforms only work on one or the other, from the broadcaster’s perspective.

Next you need to think about your content and schedule. Is this something you will do on an infrequent, spontaneous basis? Or do you plan to make this a regularly-scheduled program? Both will work on most, but the phone apps, like Periscope, tend to work better for spontaneity, while Blab works best when you follow a schedule.

Examples of live streaming done well

Of course, I hope you will check out my twice-weekly broadcasts on Blab.im, but there are many others, in different fields, to check out on all the platforms. These recommendations are heavily skewed towards social media marketing, but all great examples to check out.

Are you already live streaming on one of these platforms? Go ahead and share the link to your profile below, and tell us what you talk about when you broadcast live!

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