Best Bets for Social Media Live Video in 2017

by Sarah Hayes on December 27, 2016

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Live video, if you haven't noticed, quickly rose to become a marketing star in 2016. Everyone is talking about livestreaming over popular apps, and just what it means for their particular industry. These live video apps hold plenty of advantages – they're immediate, exciting, and a great way to record ongoing events, projects or parties. They can also be used for announcements, interviews, and much more, making them an incredibly versatile tool.

If you're considering how live video fits in your strategy, there's probably an important question in your mind: Just what live video service should your company use? We're glad you asked, hypothetical reader! Let's take a look at well-known live video apps, and how they might fit into your social media strategy.

Facebook Live

If you only want to pick one app and you already have a healthy Facebook following, then Facebook Live is an easy choice. Live app popularity can quickly wax and wane, but right now Facebook Live looks like the most appealing choice for businesses. It ties into a platform that you probably already know well, it's easy to create groups and notifications, and it comes with plenty of built-in analysis and share features. In many senses, it's the complete package for the average company...but it still takes some practice to use well (see our tips here).

Instagram Live

Instagram Live is a relatively new feature that you can use to connect to your followers in real time and send out a live video with information. However, this video will vanish from your Instagram feed once it is finished. While the video is ongoing you can add comments in a chat-like function, which makes it great for communication. However, this option is best reserved for very informal videos, such as monitoring work on a project or taking a casual tour of facilities. Save it for those who are already customers, but could be more engaged or loyal to your company. It's a great way to give your brand a more human look.

Periscope

Periscope was once the top live video app, but it isn't used nearly as much in the United States any more, especially now that Facebook Live has shown up. The app is a little too simple and unconnected to other social platforms for many B2B companies. However, it's still popular on an international level, so if you are trying to reach a global audience, it may be a good bet.

Snapchat

Snapchat is increasingly popular in business circles. Why? Because the people who grew up with Snapchat are now entering the workforce...and taking their favorite apps with them. If you are trying to reach a younger audience for recruitment or sales, then Snapchat is potentially a powerful tool. The key is using it the right way: Take brief videos to make connections and open the path for deeper conversations. Remember that Snapchat videos don't usually stick around.

YouTube Live

If you already have a YouTube channel and respectable activity on YouTube, then you may prefer the Live option, where you stream directly to your YouTube channel. It's actually a lot like Facebook Live, but on a different platform. When first starting, it's a good idea to choose the platform that has the most potential first. Remember, you can often publish successful live videos to YouTube anyway once you are finished.

YouNow

YouNow hasn't made a big splash in the business world yet. Currently, it's in the same place that Snapchat was in its infancy – primarily a tween-friendly insta-communication app. Let's wait and see where this one goes.

Meerkat...Houseparty?! 

Meerkat was one of the very first live video apps...and one of the shortest-lived. Some estimates say it was only successful for about a month before failing – and failing to live up to all the hype. Ultimately it just wasn't very usable, and better apps quickly supplanted it. Now, Meerkat isn't even focusing on livestreams any more. Avoid it. If your goal is to reach younger audiences, you may want to try Meerkat founders new group video chat app, Houseparty which is a popular download between millennials and the college aged crowd. 

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Sarah Hayes

Project Manager at 21 Handshake, a strategic marketing company, driven to grow relationship-driven businesses. A self described life long learner that thrives on detail, I love bringing these skills to the table to help others succeed.

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