You've probably heard the chatter about live video marketing. It's been the talk of conferences, discussed at seminars and raved about by experts. Mark Zuckerberg has described the ability to stream live video to audiences as "one of the things I'm most excited about."

And you've probably heard all that talk, yawned and thought, "Great. Not for me."
You're wrong. It is for you. If it's not for you today, it will be tomorrow. And you need to know about it today.

The reason you need to know about live video now is that so many companies are piling it into it. Open an app store and search for "live video" apps, and you'll be overwhelmed by the choice. Some of the names will be familiar: Meerkat ran away with the market for a while before Twitter cut them off and replaced them with its own Periscope. Snapchat now dominates video communication but Facebook Live has started fighting back with its own live video tool launched initially for celebrities.

But there's a host of others: Stre.am, YouNow, Ustream, Glide... and plenty more. 
This isn't some flash-in-the-pan fad. It's a whole new thing backed by big firms and real investors. The latest valuation of Snapchat? Around $20 billion. With a price tag like that, it's no wonder that so many other companies are trying to steal some of their lunch.

When Facebook launched its live streaming service, Robert Scoble wrote a post explaining the challenges it would face. It's hard to make a video go viral on Facebook or YouTube alone, and it's even harder for live video, which tends to have smaller audiences. Most importantly, much of the content broadcast live is still low quality. It's made with minimum production values, contain little action and is often pretty dull.

If you've looked at some of those videos and wondered why anyone would want to sit through this, let along make a video like this, I can't blame you. That's why Facebook offered Live only to celebrities at first; they figured they'd know how to look good on camera and would set a standard for others to follow. It's a bit like when AirBnB sent photographers to shoot the first homes offered on the site. They wanted to show everyone else how their pictures should look.

But that low quality creates opportunities. You don't need to be an expert to stand out on live video right now. You just need to put in a bit of thought.  Plan what you want to broadcast. Make sure that you show the action, talk to people who have something interesting to say... make it fun!

The result will be the reason that Mark Zuckerberg is so excited. Marketing has always been about engagement and experience. Live video builds that engagement and offers unique experiences in ways that few other channels have been able to do.  

You might think that live video isn't for you, but it's certainly for your audience. So pick your live video app and start playing! 

 


 

Published on: Jul 6, 2016
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.