Editor’s Note: As we are building our SkiftEDU service for marketers and SMBs in travel, we recently launched a new initiative: our new weekly series on digital marketing tips and tricks, SkiftEDU How-Tos. These How-Tos are a series of free in-depth weekly articles around various topics in digital marketing, such as this one below.

Imagine creating live videos to promote your brand. Although livestreaming has been around for quite some time (think Livestream and Ustream that were both founded in 2007), livestreaming via social media is an upcoming trend that shows no signs of slowing down. 2016 is definitely the year when livestreaming has taken off!

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Don’t worry! You haven’t yet missed the boat to take advantage of livestreaming. While it’s not necessarily the best strategy for every company, it’s nevertheless an affordable way to reach and engage with your followers. As you are undoubtedly aware, video incites high levels of interest and engagement on social media. In fact, experts predict that by 2020, 75% of mobile traffic will be generated by videos. Just think of what that means for livestreaming! Above all, livestreaming is a cost-effective way to reach your customers because it is easy to produce and doesn’t require high-end video equipment or editing—compared with professional videos. What’s more: livestreaming is simple and highly engaging.

Why is livestreaming a great option for travel brands?

Livestreaming gives a human touch to your brand, making it more real in the eyes of your customers. Your followers want to see what’s happening behind the scenes and feel as though your company is authentic and real. Because the content cannot be edited, improved or enhanced, customers have a sense of proximity with your brand—all thanks to livestreaming.

Livestreaming is currently very popular in several industries and will continue to grow over the next few years. The reason? Creating videos has become democratized: anyone can capture a live moment on a smartphone or table. In a nutshell, the need for people to view content in real time is an opportunity you simply cannot pass up.

What type of content can I livestream?

As with any social media network, you must create a specific strategy for your target audience and field of expertise. Don’t be afraid to try out different approaches until you find a theme or subject that your audience will enjoy and with which they will interact directly with you.

Here are some ideas for your livestreaming strategy:

  • Events, such as conferences or major announcements
  • Q&A sessions regarding your company, product and services
  • Product tutorials and demonstrations
  • Discussion sessions on a specific topic that your target audience is interested in
  • Flash sales or special promotions
  • News or other events that are happening in real time
  • Locations in which your followers can virtually visit with you live
  • Office visits and introductions to your team
  • Scenes of your day-to-day and overall office atmosphere
  • And much more!

In order to create content that will generate interest with your target customer, you must first consider how often you plan to livestream. If you create a concept that your clientele enjoys, don’t hesitate to repeat the winning concept based on a certain a set frequency level. As a result, your customers will look forward to seeing what you come up with next. Furthermore, you should determine how long your videos will be and factor in approximately 10 minutes of filming to give your audience the opportunity to join in. Make sure you interact in real time with your viewers to get them involved in the conversation, build ties with your customers and increase overall loyalty.

What tools can I use to produce livestreaming videos?

Periscope

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Launched in March 25 2015, Periscope, is a video broadcasting platform that was acquired by Twitter. It now boasts over 10 million users and 2 million daily active users. It is one of the most renowned and free social media networks used to create and live stream content. More than 200 million broadcasts have been created to date! Thanks to this app, you can film a video on your smartphone and post it on Periscope. All you have to do is sign up using your Twitter account information or your cell phone number. Because Periscope belongs to Twitter and the integration is completely seamless, your best bet is to sign up with your Twitter account.

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With the Periscope app, you can view livestreaming videos from around the world in just a few clicks! You can also post your video on Twitter and share your video’s link. However, people who are currently viewing your video on the web will not be able to interact with you. Once your video has finished, you can save it for up to 24 hours or delete it at any time.

Periscope is not the only platform to offer such easy livestreaming capabilities, Meerkat and Blab, which no longer exist, and other apps, such as YouNow and Stringwire have taken the livestreaming market up by storm.

Facebook Live

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Facebook Live offers the same features as Periscope, yet it integrates with—you guessed it—Facebook. At first, Facebook Live was only accessible to celebrities and public figures. Since April 2016, it is now available for both personal and professional Facebook pages. You can livestream videos that last up to 90 minutes with your friends and Facebook followers. It is an excellent tool to interact with your community without having to build a new audience.

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The main difference between Facebook Live and Periscope is the design. On Facebook Live, comments appear underneath the video. With Periscope, comments are displayed above the video and disappear after a few seconds. The main advantage with Facebook Live is the fact that it has a very widespread audience around the world.

If you want to discover all the livestreaming videos that are currently on Facebook Live, view the Livemap section on Facebook.

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YouTube Live

YouTube Live allows you to broadcast content live or schedule live broadcasts! If you already use YouTube and you have a significant number of followers, you may want to broadcast videos here in order to reach an even higher number of people. An added bonus? Users can chat in real time as they watch your livestreaming video!

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Contrary to Periscope to Facebook Live, livestreaming on YouTube Live can be somewhat more complex as you currently have to use a special livestreaming encoder. This means that before you can broadcast your video, you must download and configure a livestreaming encoder that will record your live event. Therefore, YouTube Live is basically a means to broadcast—not create—livestreaming videos.

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It’s important to note that YouTube has started to offer certain brands the possibility to create livestreaming videos using the YouTube app. While this feature is definitely not widespread or deployed throughout the general public, it may very well become a top competitor Periscope and Facebook Live!

Snapchat and Instagram stories

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While Snapchat and Instagram are not inherently platforms that are dedicated to livestreaming videos, they can nevertheless be used to share short-lived content. You can share instant pictures or videos that will disappear after 24 hours. Broadcasting videos without editing them is a way to promote real-time content without necessarily being live. If you are not ready to livestream, Snapchat or Instagram may be compelling alternatives to promote ephemeral content on a daily basis!