How to use live video streaming for your business

Periscope, Twitter’s live video streaming app, launched last week to much fanfare. Like Meerkat, a similar app, it enables you to broadcast live video from a mobile device, in real time, to the world or to a private invite-only audience. The app requires iOS and is optimized for iPhones (see details on iTunes’ app store preview page.)

Twitter is already abuzz with tweet links to live video feeds of people doing all kinds of things, with all sorts of people and in all kinds of places, prompting some to proclaim something of a renaissance for the technology. Live streaming has been around for awhile, but hasn’t generated much excitement until now.

The question is, how can businesses capitalize on the trend?

Many bloggers are weighing in. “The live stream has that additional quality that many people find fascinating, and is particularly well-suited for events, live Q&A, product demonstrations, meetings and so on,” Mike Allton writes in his post for SiteSell, Everything You Need to Know About Twitter’s Periscope. “Consider using [it] for personal reasons for a while, and watch how other businesses manage to communicate their brand and message in creative ways,” Allton suggests. “You may get inspired.”

In a post entitled,  7 Powerful Ways to Use Live-Streaming for Business, Matt Greener suggests that sales, marketing and support staff consider live-streaming presentations to allow for more impromptu Q&A-style engagement. When a new product or service launches, you could host a live video group support session, and see immediately what was resonating with customers and address common questions and concerns as they arise, Greener writes. A live interactive product demo would provide immediate feedback in a similar fashion, revealing right away what was working and what needed further clarification.

You could also use live streaming to build a closer relationship with your customers, Greener points out. You might broadcast a message from the CEO or other company news, or offer a peek at what’s going on behind the scenes. Live streaming allows for a new kind of engagement that, if handled properly, will help customers feel looped in and informed.

Greener also notes that anyone who’s online—not just your Twitter followers—can watch what you broadcast, so if viewers decide to re-stream to their own followers in real-time, your video just might go viral, and voila—you’ve expanded your company’s reach. (Any live Periscope broadcast can be made available for replays for up to 24 hours.)

Writing for Forbes, Jim Keenan suggests how businesses could use live stream technology to increase sales numbers and lead generation numbers. “Those who jump on it early will be the biggest beneficiaries,” Keenan writes. “You have to be creative in how you leverage it.” He mentions using Periscope or Meerkat for product demos, too; he also suggests live streaming a regular “tip of the day” to educate your clients and prospects. Live streaming could be a useful vehicle for brand promotions and special deals as well. The point is to create different events and other incentives for people to tune in to your live feed on a regular basis.

And the technology goes both ways. As more people and companies adopt the technology, more and more information will become available—info that’s “useful to the diligent salesperson,” Keenan points out. “Imagine being a fly on the wall in your client’s office or at their sales kick off,” he writes. Businesses should know which of their clients and prospects are live-streaming, and be sure to follow them, he suggests: “Watch their streams. You’ll learn all kinds of cool things.”

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