How to find where you fit in the live streaming video for small business picture

small business video marketing tips and strategies

The last couple of years has seen an explosion in the number of ways individuals can live stream video via the Internet and this has created some confusion when it comes to live streaming video for small business.

What app should you use? What content is good to stream? Let’s look at each of those questions.

Players in the small business live video streaming game

Periscope. This app is owned by Twitter and that gives it a built-in universe of potential users. Apple TV now includes Periscope videos. Periscope is a mobile app and a lot like Meerkat.

Meerkat. This app put mobile live-streaming video on the map. However, it’s not much of a player anymore because Periscope was able to gain significantly more market share, has more influencers using it, and more repeat users. (I read that Periscope was the eighth rank iOS download, while Meerkat came in at number 368. That must hurt.)

Facebook Live. This is built into the Facebook mobile app – you don’t have to download and install it separately. That, and the fact that it’s a Facebook feature, gives Facebook Live a lot of advantages. Also, your video sessions become videos on your timeline.

Google+ Hangouts. You can create a Google+ video “hangout” with either your computer or any mobile device. Video hangouts become videos on your YouTube channel when the live streaming ends.

Blab. This streaming video service works a lot like Google+ Hangouts with the finished streams available for viewing on the Blab website. Blab creators seem to be envisioning people creating their own regularly scheduled programming so it almost becomes a kind of television channel. You sign up for blab with your Twitter account.

YouTube. You can live stream directly to YouTube, but it’s not quite as easy as the “point and click” methods above. When it comes to streaming video for small business, I think most owners will want to use one of the easier methods first and maybe later consider a live program on their YouTube channel, especially if they find that Google+ hangouts work well for them.

Ustream. This is a paid service and currently, the lowest priced plan is $99 per month, so it’s probably not the first live streaming option for small business owners. However, it supports HD video and is used by a lot of major video content producers as well as local businesses, music venues, for example.

Uses for small business live streaming video

The biggest reason to use live streaming video in your small business is to enhance your relationship with your customers or clients. Therefore, any activity that does that and lends itself to video is worth trying out. Here are some of the major categories these fall into:

Tutorials. You can teach your audience about new services, new products, new ways to use existing products, and generally offer tips. If you’ve published a blog entitled “9 Ways to Use the New JC Skyhook,” you can probably communicate some of those nine ways via a live streaming video in your small business.

Behind the scenes. A restaurant might want to take its fans and followers on a tour of the kitchen when it’s at its busiest. The head chef might be able to share one or two tips. These could be easy to do and if you scheduled them for the same time each day, you might eventually attract a following – especially if you shared a behind-the-scenes-insider tip each time.

Discussions. While the mobile apps allow viewer interaction, it’s done via texting. So good discussions depend on your ability to keep the video programming going while you read and respond to the text messages. Google Hangouts and Blab are better platforms if you want to have a freewheeling discussion going on during your small business live streaming video sessions.

Scheduled programs with guests. If you envision yourself as the host of a regularly scheduled Internet video program, the advice is much the same as the advice I gave above for discussions. There is one more thing to add to this, however: You would want your “program” to be easily discovered. Google+ video hangouts are an option, but Blab is probably the best suited for this use. But there’s a catch: Blab is one of the new guys on the block and I’m not sure exactly how this service is going to evolve, or what its staying power is at this point.

I’m certain that the small business live video streaming landscape will change significantly in the next several months or years, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it a try. For example, experimenting with Facebook Live is a safe bet, especially if you have already established a strong presence there. Also, despite the problems Twitter is experiencing, Periscope is quite popular and here to stay.