Over the last few years, I’ve taken on the role of introducing practical new technologies and trends that small businesses can use. I don’t report on new technology just because it’s hot. Rather, I try to figure out if there’s a way to apply its value to make life better for the typical small business owner.

One of the newer social technology trends that’s getting attention is live social streaming.

What is social streaming? Live social streaming allows you to broadcast from any mobile device and promote it through Facebook and/or Twitter. Facebook allows social streaming for a handful of celebrities for the time being, but the service is bound to be offered to the public eventually. Periscope is an app owned by Twitter, and it is tightly integrated into the social network. Both services allow you to give your followers a live look in to conferences, events, and even your everyday operations directly from your mobile device.

While Google+ has offered streaming for quite some time, it’s not mobile streaming like Periscope and Facebook, which both offer direct interaction with the audience.

When looking at a new network, technology, or platform you must ask yourself one question: Will you be able to use this new network to add value to your relationships with your clients and customers? If your target audience is younger and tech-savvy, the answer is likely yes.

How to use live streaming for business

There are many ways you can use live streaming to engage your audience in your business. Live, raw, unscripted, behind-the-scenes videos can send a very strong brand message and let people see how stuff is really done. I think that’s where you can use video and the ease of this platform to build relationships with your current community.

You may actually find that you can turn this into new leads, but I think the real value is building community.

In Periscope, you can build a following, push your live scope to Twitter, and interact live with participants as you record. I love these features, but you can also vote or “like” a scope while viewing by tapping the screen and giving a stream of hearts out during the broadcast. I’d imagine Facebook will have similar features once it goes public.

You do, however, want to avoid pointless silliness and obnoxious self-promotion. This is pretty prevalent on the young platform, so make your streams stand out, and give your customers value.

What could you live steam?

Everything you post should provide value to your customers. What would make someone take note of the value you deliver? What would help you stand out in a way that would make people want to join your community?

Anyone can show the office staff interacting, show how their product is made, or do candid interviews with clients as a way to showcase the human elements of the brand. You can even host Q&A sessions to answer your clients’ concerns or even post new product demos or customer service.

The future of social sharing

I’m not one to push for the use of new technology if it doesn’t serve a purpose. Live streaming will become a part of your favorite social networks; it’s time to start thinking about how to use it as part of your social media marketing plan.