In my last column, I made the argument for webinars being better and more frequently used by our industry. The subject matter is there, we just need a willing audience to present it to.

I would like to further that discussion by looking as live streaming video. In my opinion, social media platforms that lend themselves to live streaming video are less intimidating and more inviting to the attendees than webinars. Oftentimes, there is little to no advanced registration requirement. And, the format of the video is more flexible; ranging from one presenter giving a prepared speech solely to viewers to off-the-cuff interviews at a convention. Both scenarios allow for a theme or topic, but the latter makes room for more engagement.

Since I started this column, I have discussed the financial, social and marketing benefits of Google and YouTube’s live streaming video platform, Hangouts On Air. I have used the platform for conducting for interviews; largely when there was an opportunity for a more personal conversation that I could not physically travel to another state to facilitate. Our sister publication, Phc News, also used the platform at the 2014 AHR Expo to share real-time booth interviews and educational sessions with our readers who could not attend.

However, this time around I want to look at live streaming not for the sake of teaching, showcasing or selling something. Instead I want to look at mobile platforms, such as livestream and Persicope, which people have started using more so as a lens into an experience. On these platforms it’s not uncommon to find a video of a performance, speech, etc. Businesses can use that concept of doing less talking and more listening through livestreaming. Here are some examples:

  • Impromptu FAQ: When a product is launched, in that first two weeks allow customers to give feedback instead of waiting months down the road to formulate a formal frequently-asked-questions (FAQ) brochure or page on your website.
  • Weekly Demo: Allow service or building professionals to livestream one installation or project each week. This is the real day-to-day customers want to see; save the edited video staged with a sales representative for marketing and advertising avenues.
  • Crowdsource: You don’t have to wait on “X” number of email subscribers to respond to an online survey. If you are working on an announcement, new technology, etc. allow customers to weigh in. You can ask purposeful questions without giving your secrets away.

A “big scare” about livestream for businesses is the inability to censor. I get that. I also get that in today’s media cycle authentic content triumphs. So, while we should not do away with structured messaging, we should experiment with new ways to reach the end user; and this is one. Below you will find the handles for the livestreaming platforms I mentioned. Take the time to research and see if it is worth your company’s time.

  • Google Hangouts On Air (@googleplus– Helping people go live in front of a global audience.
  • Livestream (@livestream) – On a mission to connect people with live events.
  • Periscope (@periscopeco) – Facilitating exploration of the world in real time through someone else’s eyes.

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