Almost out of nowhere, live mobile video streaming has seemingly become the newest craze. But is it a fad or is there really some benefit to it? With multiple platforms and apps offering this option, could this be the new frontier in social marketing?
Streaming content online isn’t a new concept, but more and more businesses are seeing the benefits of mobile live streaming as it allows them to connect with their audience in a way that makes them appear more relatable in a “live event” type setting. In return, businesses are getting better brand exposure and better interaction with customers. By using live streaming to boost live events, host interviews, giving a “behind the scenes” look and many other options, it gives businesses an opportunity to engage with their audience in real time.
Vincenzo Landino’s expertise and forward thinking in the areas of social and content marketing has helped countless businesses boost their brands and command attention with their audiences and customers.
Rich: Vincenzo Landino is the founder and CMO of Fifty 2 Creative, a digital marketing agency and consultancy specializing in brand storytelling through digital and social media. Vincenzo is also the host of Brand Boost Podcast, a podcast designed for businesses looking to that marketing to the next level by learning from those doing it. Vincenzo is also a speaker and a brand correspondent, working with brands like Applebee’s, Tinder, DC United, Barilla Pasta and more.
Outside of his professional life, Vincenzo is a diehard Steelers fan, avid golfer and winemaker.
Vincenzo, welcome to the show.
Vincenzo: Steelers fan, you had to bring that up.
Rich: the first thing I was going to say is that I wanted to offer you my condolences for your team’s exit from the playoffs. I was actually in Arizona this past week for a family Bat Mitzvah, and for whatever reason Sunday morning we had brunch at a place – I think it was called Harold’s – anyways, it’s this biker bar/rodeo bar/Steelers bar.
Rich: So this was the day of the playoffs and as we were finishing up our meal – this place is giant, imagine Gilley’s from Urban Cowboy – there were Steelers signs everywhere you looked and they were replacing all of the tabletops with either either black or gold tabletops in preparation for the game. I never saw anything like it.
Vincenzo: Very cool.
Rich: And then right across the street there was a Bears bar. Apparently there was also a Patriot’s bar in Phoenix but we never made it there.
Vincenzo: That’s alright, you’re better off, you don’t need to go there.
Rich: Ok, so let’s talk a little bit about live streaming. If somebody is new to it, what platforms are we talking about when we’re talking about live streaming?
Vincenzo: So here’s the thing, live streaming has been around longer than just the past year that more mainstream marketers know about. But when we’re talking about live streaming in the context of this conversation, we’ll be talking about apps like Periscope. And really I think Periscope is the one app we should be talking about, there are some new ones out there now like MeVee, there’s an app called live stream that’s been around for quite a while, there’s also Meerkat, which is starting to dwindle, in my opinion. But for the sake of this conversation we’ll be talking about Periscope, and that’s really the one I think any business should focus on if they’re going to start somewhere. Also Facebook Live, too. So Facebook Live is something we should mention. So yeah, those are the platforms.
Rich: Actually, let’s just talk about Facebook Live for a minute. I’m only hearing about it in the last few weeks, can you just give us a quick rundown on what Facebook Live is?
Vincenzo: So Facebook Live is Facebook’s answer to Twitter’s Periscope. Facebook Live is streaming from your mobile device with video that plays in line right in the stream. So on your news feed, if somebody is broadcasting live on Facebook through their app and you’re scrolling through your news feed, their video will actually pop up and you can watch it live from your desktop, from your phone, very cool stuff. People can comment, like and share as if it was a normal post, a dn it lives on.
Right now Facebook Live in it’s current format only allows for half hour streams. If you are a verified public figure you do have access to the “specials mentions” app that allows you 90 minutes to stream. So they kind of have two different pieces. It’s not available yet for business pages, right now it’s simply for an individual. And that rollout is very slow and random at best. I actually just got the normal version of Facebook Live, it’s a totally random rollout by Facebook, which can be expected because of the size of their network.
Rich: So if I as a person – as Rich Brooks – I might have been gifted with the Facebook Live opportunity. My business page flyte new media or Agents Of Change will definitely not have gotten that yet. And if I do a live stream, while it’s going on people could visit my TheRichBrooks page or see it in their news feed and then be able to do all the things that you would normally do, if I’m understanding correctly.
Rich: And then what happens when I’m done, does it disappear or is it there as an up to 30 minute video that people can then watch and continue to share and comment on, or whatever they may do?
Vincenzo: Yup, it shows up like a video post. Which again, the Facebook algorithm loves video, so by doing a live stream just because you didn’t get a million viewers in there, there’s no time limit for how long it lives on like with Periscope where is’ only a 24 hour stream and then it dies.
Rich: Alright, so let’s shoot over to Periscope because I think that’s what a lot of people think of in modern times for live streaming. I’m sure a few of us remember things like UStream from back in the day. The historical live stream feed when everything was in sepia tone. But for Periscope right now, what are some of the differences between Periscope and Facebook Live?
Vincenzo: Really the big difference is that Facebook Live is only 30 minutes, Periscope you can go indefinitely but your stream is only available for 24 hours. But the other things are right now in the community there seems to be a bigger jump towards Periscope because it’s been around longer. Journalists and celebrities have jumped on the Periscope bandwagon over time because it’s been there. Twitter seems to be more of that news/media/celebrities/marketers, a lot of them jumped on that early so that’s still the one to go to.
Facebook Live, the way notifications are delivered are quirky, it’s weird. People follow you, you’ll get a notification that you’re live. If people are friends with you it will pop up but it won’t always necessarily send a notification that you’ve gone live.
I’ve also found that people are not really jumping onto Facebook Live because – here’s the thing – with Facebook, many times you’ve kept your personal page pretty private, you’ve kept it to friends and family, you probably didn’t make business connections with it. Now some people do use it that way and that’s fine, but for those that haven’t, to go live and talk to mom and dad and your brother and sister across the country to talk about marketing probably isn’t the best use of your time. So until Facebook can figure out how to make it completely public and everybody gets a notification that you are live through the use of a page and get people interested in my business, as opposed to mom, dad and my brother. I think that Periscope is still the one to go to to funnel to if you’re trying to use live streaming in your business.
Rich: Well this just might be my bias as well for twitter versus Facebook as well as my bias as a marketer, but Twitter just feels like a live event, it always feels like it’s very in the moment. Whereas Facebook – even with the constant updating of the news feed – never quite feels like that. if I’m going to watch a football game or baseball game or the Oscars and be commenting on it, I myself would lean towards Twitter where there’s just that constant conversation going on. Where generally if I say I’m going to watch the Patriots game on Facebook, people might comment on that but it’s not going to be like that ongoing conversation during the game like you get on Twitter. Maybe that’s kind of the draw as well for people who are thinking about getting into live streaming.
Vincenzo: That goes back to the algorithm that Facebook has set up, too. So most people don’t realize it but your news feed isn’t set up to deliver in chronological order, it’s set up to deliver in most relevant or most popular or “top stories”. Which is why Facebook Live could be really good if people start using it. It’s set up so that there’s a lot of comments going on around this particular post – and that’s fine – but if you don’t have a lot of engagement, people won’t ever see it no matter when you posted it.
Which is why it’s funny and I know I’m going over it a little bit off, but it still makes sense. People will say, “Didn’t you see my Facebook post?”- these are aunts and relatives – and I’ll say “no” because I follow a lot of different people that are much more popular, getting more comments and engagement, so I’ll never see grandma’s post because it’s just not set up that way.
And to your point, until Facebook figures out a way to make Live better or more accessible to all. Like you said, the Periscope for real time video. And now with their latest update, Twitter plays Periscope videos instream so you can watch it right from the news feed, you don’t even have to have Periscope to watch. And that just happened last week, so how cool is that?
Rich: That’s cool, I haven’t checked that out yet. So I;m sure a lot of small business owners and marketers are thinking, “Oh my god, I don’t need another platform right now.” Just freaking out that here’s another thing that they have to do. What would you say to them?
Vincenzo: I come from the school of thought where if you don’t need to be on it and it’s just adding to the noise, then don’t waste your time. And if it’s wasting your time and not making you money, as a business owner, then there’s no need for you to be on it.
There are quite a few other apps out there, and we don’t have to even go into them because it will confuse a lot of people. So this is why I like to stick to the two top horses in the game, Periscope and Facebook Live. I would say that for your business, if you’ve built up a following on Twitter then use Periscope, it would be idiot for you not to use it if you’ve built up a following and your business model supports using Twitter.
Not every local business works well on Twitter. It just doesn’t. Small mom and pop shops that never used Twitter before, they’re not going to go and jump onto Twitter and build a targeted following overnight just so they can use Periscope. They’ve probably been using Facebook. So I’d love to have people understand, play in the sand that you’re comfortable with, you don’t have to go into another sandbox, so to speak.
Stick with it right now, Facebook Live could really be good if you’ve positioned yourself as… well, I have a lot of small local businesses as clients and the owner or manager is usually a little local celebrity, so why not use Facebook Live if you can. Again, if we’re talking live streaming and you want to do that and you’re comfortable with that, go for it. If you’re not and you want to wait for the live streaming to come to Pages, then wait for that, too. You don’t have to jump onto the live stream game. It can be huge for your business, but it can also be detrimental if you’re not doing it properly. And that’s one thing that I feel too many marketers get excited about showing off the latest and greatest tools and apps. But they’re not thinking that way. They’re thinking how can their customers use this tool to make money, and so I want to make sure that I come across from my perspective that it’s very important to know where your audience is at before you jump into any of these apps.
Rich: I would completely agree. I’m curious, you mentioned you had a few small business clients that you were working with, are any of them using live streaming right now?
Vincenzo: So what I’ve done is I’ve really analyzed where their businesses are at and are they focusing on the platforms that are beneficial to them. Unfortunately they’re not businesses that are using Twitter as a platform, so I haven’t driven my clients there. To me I feel that the responsibility is not to send them somewhere that’s going to waste their time. I don’t think live video is a waste of time – but as we said before – it can be if you don’t have the community or network to support it.
These smaller businesses, for example, are focused on Instagram, they’re using Pinterest, and they’re using Facebook. So for them to go and do a Periscope video wouldn’t be super intelligent unless they’re going to use that to then reuse on YouTube or Facebook. But at that point, you might as well make a horizontal video filmed with your phone or whatever camera and make it a little more production quality as opposed to just the live stream video.
So that’s my side of the story with them. If you want to do this, that’s great. I won’t say no but I won’t recommend you do it that way. And we’ve seen success because again, they’re playing with Instagram videos, they’re playing with Facebook video and that’s working tremendously for them, so unfortunately, live stream is not where they need to be.
Now I’ve worked with larger brands like Applebee’s, DC United, Barilla Pasta, Tinder, I’ve done things with Beastgrip and some other brands where we’ve done giveaways, and those were on live stream. So for those businesses, because they are focused on Twitter or they have a good Twitter following and they’re engaging on Twitter, now Periscope works great because it’s easy to funnel right into Twitter.
But that would be the difference. For small business, if you can find a way to use it I would personally love to make it happen, but if not there’s no need to push it.
Rich: I appreciate the fact that you’re saying that this is something not necessarily everyone needs to jump into right now and that you need to figure out again where your audience is.Can you think of any type of small businesses that it makes sense for? And I know we can say if they have a big Twitter following, but what kind of content might you recommend that people would put online in live streaming?
Vincenzo: The live streaming format is really, really good – I’ve done 500-600 streams and watched plenty of streams – and what I find is that the stuff that always works is the “cool” stuff. It’s stuff that you won’t see anywhere else. For example, the Weather Channel could do a heck of a job with it. Or even local newscasters. I know that may not sound like business, but local news I’ve seen do a really good job with it where their anchors or news sports guy or weather people are broadcasting live behind the scenes. It’s a different look. I have seen local on the scene reporters doing things where they’re live from a little town where some convenience store got robbed and they’re doing a live stream before their broadcast. That grips me, that’s really cool.
Another industry that I actually did pitch to a small business and it’s in the works now, there’s a gym chain in Connecticut where they have about 15 or so locations and we’re trying to pitch live stream as a way for them to engage with more of the gym audience. Because there is a large fitness community on pretty much every network making it easy to identify the fitness people, so for them the pitch was to use live stream to give behind the scenes looks at some of their classes and personal training and just do live video to promote it. So that’s kind of a pitch in the works and it looks pretty good. Again, it works because there’s a nice community that you can pick from and you can target.
Rich: As you’re talking, it sounds to me like live streaming is very effective if you’ve got something that’s kind of event driven. And so a lot of the examples you’re giving I can envision almost using live streaming in a retail space if you had a big thing going on that you wanted to bring people into, if you were doing a live event, a live conference – like Chicago Social, where you and I are both going to be presenting – or maybe if there’s just something going on like you mentioned a class. But if there’s a live event you want to go in and capture the energy behind and maybe give people an incentive to either engage with you through Periscope or Facebook Live, or perhaps have them come into the store and show them all the excitement that’s going around, and that might b a good way to engage with them. Would that be some good usage as well?
Vincenzo: I love live events and the other type of business I was going to talk about was nonprofit. I worked in nonprofit for about 3 years and had I had a tool like Periscope – or even Facebook Live – we probably would have raised double the money that we raised because you’re opening up a whole new audience.
Again, it’s more event type driven, but it’s something that we could have brought the audience in that wasn’t able to attend our events. And we had about 15-16 events per year, large events that could have really, really benefitted from the use of live video. So I think nonprofits can do a great job and I’ve done some stuff with nonprofits and giveaways, raising money online and through some of these apps. You can quickly build up a lot of momentum – as you could imagine – anytime you’re raising money the more people that see it, the better.
Events are a great, great way to utilize live stream, and I’ve done a lot of events as well. Again, not to sound like I’m just talking about me, but I’ve done quite a few conferences. just last year i was at about six where all I did was live stream. I just did live streaming, showed behind the scenes, interviewed people, built up a lot of excitement for the conference so that next year people that weren’t able to be there saw actual behind the scenes speakers on stage and talking to people in attendance, going to the after party with me kind of thing. Hyping up the city it was hosted in, hyping up the hotel that it was hosted in.
Hospitality can be a great industry for live streaming as well as a way to connect with or engage with. So for a hotel or any hospitality driven business, they can use live stream to show off their property, show off your room, show off the amenities of your property, show off the kitchen, your staff. Now that would be a really great use case for live stream because again, just because you’re in Maine, if someone in California is watching you that’s totally ok because you can welcome them to your place. But if you’re a local diner, your audience is probably not going to be in California, they’re going to be right there in Maine in that 5 square mile radius. Would you agree to that?
Rich: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.
Vincenzo: So there are some really cool use cases for sure.
Rich: One thing we haven’t really touched on is the whole engagement thing. I know from my little bit of playing around with Periscope, a big part of it is getting feedback from the audience. One cool use I saw several months ago was a newscaster basically had Periscope running just off screen, and during the commercial breaks she would turn to her phone and answer questions from the audience and be talking to it and all that sort of stuff. Do you have any tips or advice on how to get more people talking, commenting and engaging on that live stream, or is that just something that happens.
Vincenzo: Well like with any content, Rich, let’s break this down to really simple concepts. Content is content, if you’re giving really good content people will engage. If you make a good blog post, people are going to engage. If you make a great video, people will engage. If you do a great podcast, so on and so forth.
I know the broadcaster you’re talking about, so for her she was giving a look for those people watching the news that they would have never ever gotten in a million years. Behind the scenes and she’s answering real questions that they have. My tips would be to try to answer every single person. With Periscope, one thing I like to do is – if I can – I will have a sheet of paper and a pen next to me, so that if I miss comments or I’m answering something else, I’m writing down what I missed. It’s what I personally do when I’m talking to someone. But treat your audience like they’re humans, don’t talk at them, talk with them. Have a conversation, laugh.
It’s funny because just because you can’t see them and your face is the only one on screen when you’re broadcasting they’re still humans that are typing to you, they are people on the other side of that. So if you can treat them like this is a real conversation, it’s similar to walking into a bar or a networking event where there’s 50-100 people, feel free to talk to these people. I always acknowledge everybody in the stream, that’s one big thing that you should be doing, acknowledging people to show up. If people are coming in they’re spending time with you, so you want to at least say hello to them. I like to ask people where they’re from, it takes the edge off, you’re not asking them a hard question. You’ll get to see a little bit of visual feedback.
Titling your stream is really important, too, and using some hashtags is important. I’m always asking questions like “Who are you?”, “Where are you from?”. People like you and I use our name or our Twitter handles, but there’s a lot of people that have some random characters for their name. So I’ll say, “If you don’t have your name as your Twitter handle or your Periscope handle, just let me know your name and where you’re coming in from”, and they do it, kind of like a game show.
Rich: First time calling, long time listener.
Vincenzo: Exactly. So that’s one tip is to kind of take the edge of and get people to do that. Another thing to do is Periscope gives you the hearts, which is visual feedback for the broadcaster, kind of to say, “yeah, that’s good content.” If the hearts are disappearing, you’re probably not interesting anymore, or whatever you’re saying is not interesting. I hate to say that, but that’s usually what happens. If people are tapping that, it’s a very passive way to give feedback. It’s like a lazy way of keeping people engaged. So I don’t ask for hearts, but I always pay attention to them. I know if they disappear, I have to do something else, I need to ask a question to get people engaged again.
So asking questions is huge, giving people the opportunity to answer you makes them feel like you care by acknowledging their answers. I try to stay away from anything that’s too polarizing in terms of answers because it’s very difficult to read text and interpret text answers. So I try to keep them to very short yes/no answers or some sort of black and white type topics when I ask questions. It’s very simple and that keeps people there, just don’t overthink it.
Rich: Just to wrap it up, I probably should have asked this question at the beginning. Obviously these are apps that are on our phone that we download and then we just start using them. That is how you get started with Periscope or Facebook Live, correct?
Rich: And then once I get on Periscope, one of the first things I recommend to people is just kind of look and listen and explore before you start creating. Are there specific brands that you’ve seen that do a really good job that we might learn from while we’re out there?
Vincenzo: Yes, so Periscope there are quite a few, Royal Caribbean is one to me that did a great job with a few campaigns. Remember, a lot of these are campaign driven so they’re not doing it constantly, but it’s ok. Experion does a really good job, they have weekly shows – like personal finance shows – which is pretty cool. SAP, I know they’ve got something coming up with the Super Bowl, so they would be really cool to follow. Emirates and the Dubai Travel Board are doing a really good job at broadcasting. They brought in some streamers to show off the city and whatnot, but Emirates is always broadcasting as well. Those are a couple brands that pop up off the top of my head.
Rich: Awesome. And speaking of checking out, Vincenzo where can we check out you out online to learn a little bit more?
Vincenzo: I’m @vincenzolandino on Twitter if you want to follow me, that’s the best way to engage with me. I try to respond to every, single person that reaches out to me. So if you reach out to me and send me a tweet, I will make it a point to respond. If it’s not there you can check out 52creative.co or my personal site at vincenzolandino.com.
Rich: Awesome. And we’ll have all those links in the show notes. Vincenzo, thank you very much for your time and I;ll see you online.
Vincenzo: Rich, thanks for having me.
- A few ways to stay in touch with Vincenzo and check out what he’s up to:
- Two live streaming options that were discussed in today’s podcast:
- Rich Brooks is the President of flyte new media and founder of the Agents Of Change Digital Marketing Conference (9/23/16 – save the date!).
- Like what you heard here today and want to hear more from Rich and Vincenzo? You can catch them both as featured speakers at this year’s Chicago Social Conference in June.
- Transcription provided by Jennifer Scholz Transcription Services.