How and Why You Should Embrace Livestreaming in Digital PR

If social media has provided us with anything, it must be the opportunity to connect on all fronts.  Part of the benefit of that connection is the opportunity for feedback almost instantaneously—something that can work wonders for brands willing to connect with users on a direct level.

At 4media, our most recent foray into connectivity came through a unique digital PR activation using a livestream through Periscope, connecting a client to the public in a place the people were willing to engage: Twitter.

But before we discuss the specifics, let me first take one paragraph to address the big blue bird in the room–you know, the one that owns the streaming service.

Twitter may not be 2018’s powerhouse social platform, but it’s far from lying in ruin as some of its critics so love to suggest.  As a matter of fact, it’s what people use Twitter for that made it a particularly useful venue for our purposes: Twitter users tend to be strongly engaged with news, and make fairly extensive use of the hashtag system the platform first introduced as a way of grouping interested members.  Our client wanted to appeal to people on Twitter who were in need of tax advice.  And you want to know what? It worked wonderfully.

Why Host a Livestream?

The unique aspect of livestreaming was eluded to in the beginning of this piece: It allows a brand or company to connect with clients in a personal space. Think of a really loosely organized focus group with a higher than average number of trolls, but a much-improved opportunity for direct brand messaging.

Viewers of the stream use the host site’s comment function to ask questions, again making Twitter a great spot for a Periscope stream—replies to the stream posed as questions are also standalone tweets in the thread, meaning new hashtag generation and brand mentions on every timeline that asks a question. That can add up.  Our recent stream generated hundreds of tweets with nearly 40,000 views on a topic the public was genuinely interested in. How do you beat that in 20 minutes?

Besides the benefit of organic contact with the public, livestreaming is a relatively cheap service for an agency to offer, but it pays dividends for clients by creating interactions.  If you could add an additional 40,000 views to the end of a Satellite Media Tour using an existing set, a well-prepared talent and one person with a camera, why wouldn’t you?

What Do I Need to Livestream?

Here’s another major benefit to live streaming: You can make it as easy, or as awesome, as you want.  Often the relationship between ease and awesomeness is inversely proportional, and you’ll be glad to know that doesn’t totally hold true here.

If you’re interested in a basic stream, you really just need internet access and a smartphone with a working mic.  It’s easy to stream live straight to Periscope, Facebook or Twitter, and guerilla marketing tactics have taken direct engagement and digital PR to another level using streaming services.

If you want to up the ante, you can consider Periscope Producer, which we used for the most recent stream.  It allows producers to increase the quality of the broadcast by streaming it through an external source, like OBS or Wirecast, which can give the streamer more functionality such as adding logos or small touches.

Make sure your internet is fast, and if you intend to use a production-quality camera you’ll want to do some minimal hardware research to see what sort of HDMI to SDI converter you’ll need. That’ll allow your software to communicate with your camera, and you’ll be in business.

Where are We Doing This?

The question of “where” adds intrigue to live streaming.  Remember that with a phone you can stream from almost anywhere, again making experiential marketing an option more brands should take advantage of.  Pro Tip: Periscope added the option to stream from a Go Pro in 2016, so maybe you should take your efforts exotic places.

Anyway, the reason you ought always ask “where” is because the answer can be unique. Part of the value in a stream, even if it’s professionally produced, is that you don’t have to be in a studio. You can do it from a client’s global headquarters, a sporting event, basically anywhere you can fit a computer and a camera.

So … Can You Do this For Us?

We can do quite a bit at 4media, and as I hope this post has proven, the livestream is well within our grasp. It’s a unique and cost-effective method of driving major engagement, and we’re a bit surprised more people don’t take advantage. If you want to be a part of quelling our collective surprise, contact us, and we can help you shake hands with the world from almost anywhere.

Originally published on 4media-group.com

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