The ultimate primer on B2B livestreaming

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Thanks to today’s pervasive and fast wireless data connections, powerful smartphones, and high-end smartphone cameras,  streaming video becoming a popular means of communication. The B2B space can empower their marketing campaigns by taking advantage of various live-streaming platforms, but it has to be approached with strategic forethought.

The latest services usually begin in the consumer market so you may have seen others using apps such as Periscope, Meerkat, and Blab to stream live video to the world.

Periscope is the most popular service and in early 2015 it was purchased by Twitter so it’s likely not going away anytime soon. Meerkat launched before Periscope, but remains an independent company. The Periscope interface is a bit easier to use as well. Blab offers a unique four-person video chat option, but it is a fairly new service that only works on iOS at this time.

With a smartphone and one of these streaming services you can share information about your products and services, launch new products to a global audience, use live streaming as a way to respond to frequently asked questions, post a walk-around your trade show booth to help generate interest and in-person meeting opportunities, post interviews with key personnel and executives, share customer testimonials, and much more.

Live streaming puts a face on the company and adds a personal touch to your products and services. It’s inexpensive, easy to use, and adds another element to your marketing plans. It seems there is nothing here but benefits for your company to reach potential clients.

However, there are a couple ways that live streaming could turn out to be a problem.

Be prepared

As we’ve seen in mainstream media, being live behind the camera can be dangerous if you are not prepared. Make sure your company has policies and guidelines about what can be discussed openly, including who and what can be shown in the background of your videos, what people can or cannot say publicly, and how the person on camera should appear in order to serve as a spokesperson for your company.

Here are some common questions and answers you may have as you evaluate whether or not live streaming can be used for your business.

  • Is a smartphone required to broadcast using these services? What type of phone is needed?
    • Yes, these services are only for broadcasting from a smartphone. They work with the iPhone and Android smartphones. Blab is limited to the iPhone at this time.
  • Is a smartphone required for my customer to view a broadcast?
    • Broadcasts can be viewed in a web browser. Periscope just launched an Apple TV app as well so your customers can view Periscope videos on a large display with a connected Apple TV.
  • Is a smartphone professional enough for B2B?
    • Smartphone cameras have come a long way over the last couple of years and are fine for video broadcasting. You can switch between the front and rear cameras for broadcasting as well, which is helpful to show your narrative and then switch to a product or booth tour. The video functionality has advanced so that most smartphones purchased since 2014 is adequate for these streaming video services.
  • Can the live video be viewed later?
    • Periscope supports downloading of the video so that you can use it later. This is great for the FAQs and interviews you create and then want to share later on your company website. When the live stream ends Meerkat videos are gone so this service is not a great fit for B2B marketing.
  • Can it be interactive with questions and answers?
    • Yes, viewers can post comments that you see for a few seconds on the smartphone display. Viewers can also “like” the feed as you broadcast. These appear as hearts in Periscope and after the session you can see how many times a customer/viewer liked the feed.
  • Can I view stats on my video?
    • Yes, with Periscope you can view stats on retention of viewers, number of viewers, and average viewing time.
  • How long can my videos be?
    • There is no service time limit so you could broadcast as long as your smartphone battery holds out.
  • Are my video broadcasts available for the public?
    • By default, live streams are public. However, you can also create private broadcasts and select who you want to attend a live streaming session.
  • What benefits are there for my business?
    • These live streaming services help you connect with customers in a personal way, let you show what goes on behind the scenes, provide an easy way to give product demos, and are very handy for showing off your trade show booth. There are a number of ways to use these services to reach your customers. As of August 2015, Periscope surpassed 10 million account holders, which was just four months after launch.
  • How much does it cost?
    • These services are available to use for free. A Twitter account is required to connect with your audience. A compatible smartphone and wireless data connection are required to broadcast to your audience.

 

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Matthew Miller

Matthew Miller

Matthew Miller started using mobile devices in 1997 and has been writing news, reviews, and opinion pieces ever since. He is a co-host, with ZDNet's Kevin Tofel, of the MobileTechRoundup podcast and an author of three Wiley Companion series books. Matthew started using mobile devices with a US Robotics Pilot 1000 and has owned more than 200 different devices running Palm, Linux, Symbian, Newton, BlackBerry, iOS, Android, webOS, Windows Mobile, and Windows Phone operating systems. He's a professional engineer by day and a mobile writer by night.