Live streaming is kind of taking over the social media world now, and many businesses are turning to this outlet to tell their brand’s story in a way that engages audiences in a deeper way than an average (text and picture) post does.
While the medium isn’t perfect for every type of organization, it’s actually quite well-suited to animal rescue groups, for 2 reasons:
- Animals are EXTREMELY engaging on video so it's not difficult to get people to watch
- Rescues usually rely on adoption events or fundraisers to help get the word out about themselves and their adoptables - so the more platforms through which you can broadcast these events, the better
So what is live streaming?
Well, it’s kind of like live TV on steroids: consisting of real-time video posts, live streams let people tune into, comment and “like” content as the action is occurring. It’s a very effective way to drive conversations, and allows audiences to feel like they are participating with what’s happening in the moment, even if they can't be there in person (side note, we can't wait until virtual reality comes out and brings these events even more to life!) While not the case even a year ago, now every major social platform has its own version of live streaming, and they are all different (albeit in subtle ways). So to help make sense of how each social platform treats the "live stream" we've tackled each platform in turn below.
What can't Facebook do? Not one to miss out on the live stream movement, Facebook Live was officially released as a new mobile feature in April, a strong competitor to other live streaming services out there. (Note that the feature is also available on a desktop version but we won't dive into this aspect here)
How to get started. Simply open your rescue group's page via the Facebook Page manager app on your phone and press the live stream icon at the top of the “new post” area. Title your stream and then start recording. Pressing the “finished” button will post the video to the timeline so that followers who missed it can watch it later.
Also know as the 'SnapChat killer' we recently wrote an article talking about Instagram’s latest release, Stories, and how it can be applied to rescue efforts. As a recap, Instagram Stories is similar to SnapChat in that you can create tons of short pieces of content that are temporary and separate from your main news feed.
How to get started. The great thing about IG stories is there's almost no change to make in your IG app - you just tap the dashed circle at the top right hand corner, and start filming. When done you can add captions, stickers, etc (just as you do on SnapChat) and publish to your Story Feed. It will appear for 24 hours, across the top of your IG feed.
Periscope (via Twitter):
Remember the buzz Meerkat caused when it launched at SXSW a few years back, prompting a major push by Periscope to own the live stream space? Acquired by Twitter before it launched as a stand-alone company, Periscope is unique in that it was created specifically for creating and discovering live streams through smartphones, as opposed to being an add-on to social platforms.
How to get started. Even though you can access Periscope through your phone's Twitter app, you still need to download Periscope as its own app first, so go to the app store and do that. Once you do that, you can go back to Twitter and simply open a fresh tweet. The option to post a live video will appear, and once you click that it will open your Periscope app.
What’s Best For Rescues?
While it never hurts to try to use all three options when sharing content, each is unique:
- Facebook Live is best for events and content that is at least 10 minutes long. In addition, it's likely the best option for your content to be seen by a massive global audience
- Instagram Stories is best for shorter pieces of content that are unplanned and mostly meant to be entertaining for your followers (similar to SnapChat content)
- Periscope is best for trying out new ideas and redirecting followers to your other pages - the user base is very different as well so there's a potential that trying out Periscope could bring your rescue a new audience
Still not sure which ‘stream’ to cross? Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll have you flowing in the right direction in no time! (oh boy, were those 2 clever puns or what?!?)