Live Video & Your Brand: A Simple How-To Guide

You’ve been hearing about (and seeing) live video everywhere for a while now and it’s time to get your brand in the game. Not sure if live video is right for you? Here’s a quick checklist:

Do you want…

I would hope that the answer to all of those questions is yes. If not, you may want to skip this post and read this. Still not convinced? How about these nuggets of wisdom:

Now that were on the same page here’s a run-down of some of the most popular live video streaming apps and how you may want to apply them to your brand.


Let’s start with Facebook Live – not necessarily because it was the first, easiest to use or even best, but because Facebook has spent millions advertising this offeringFB Live even paying celebrities and big brands to promote it and I feel like that earns them the top spot in my list.

Facebook Live rolled out in 2016 for everyone to use and now (only one year later!) over 20% of Facebook users watch live video. This likely has something to do with the fact that Facebook alerts users when someone they follow goes live and that video stream stays at the top of newsfeeds until it’s complete. That’s quite the preferential treatment, especially as it becomes harder and harder for brands to organically reach fans.

Since you’ve clearly been convinced how beneficial Facebook Live can be, let’s discuss how to use it for your brand. And I don’t mean “how to click the button to go live” because we’ve all used a computer before and it’s as simple as clicking the Go Live button. I’m talking about what content your brand could go Live with.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

Some tips and tricks:

Why your execs will love it: You can check in on the video’s analytics as the broadcast is happening and know exactly how engaging your content is in real-time (and of course afterwards as well).


Next up on the knowledge train: Instagram Live. I know, I know… “Well I’ve never heard of Instagram Live and I know all things social media.” Okay so this is where I get to drop some exciting news – Instagram Live is coming and will be rolling out to everyone in the next few weeks, if you don’t have it already. While it will hit a younger demographic, Instagram Live can be a way to share really any content you would have with Facebook Live as long as it’s less than 60 minutes.

Just swipe to the right from your feed and tap “Start Live Video.” Your friends may get a notification when you go Live so they can tune in. While you’re Live you also have the ability to pin a comment to the video for everyone to see or even turn off comments all together (because we all know how annoying trolls can be).

You may be thinking “why would I go Live on Instagram as opposed to Facebook.” Thanks for asking such a thoughtful question! One of the biggest differences is that live video on Instagram will disappear when you’re done going Live. So it hits on this idea of immediacy or the idea behind behavioral marketing: consumers pay more attention when they are under time restrictions. But more importantly – go Live where your audience already is. And this isn’t something to just guess on. Do your research. Look at your engagement stats and come to some meaningful insights.

There’s also the already popular Instagram Stories, which are little 10 second videos (in the Snapchat-esq style), that are pinned to the top of users’ feeds for 24 hours. These are great for sharing news that goes away (looking at you flash sales) and for teasing new releases or exclusive content.

I’ve probably already lost your attention because who reads articles over 500 words anymore #amiright?! So I’ll keep the next few short and sweet.

Moving on to Periscope.


Owned by Twitter, this stand-alone app doesn’t (yet) have full integration with Twitter, you can only embed Periscope links. As in, you need to download a separateperiscope 2 app to go live and to watch other live videos. This is where Periscope lost a lot of its fans. While it used to be THE live video platform, other social media sites have integrated live video fully into their platforms for a simpler user experience and Periscope is still holding out. Will Periscope one day become Twitter Live? Only time will tell.

One of the coolest features with Periscope is that you can look at who is Live around the world on a map and get a look into their lives. So you could see someone in Sweden celebrating their world-famous midsummer’s festival then tap over to watch people run with the bulls in Spain. It’s a total time-suck but I’d recommend trying it out just to see what I’m talking about.

As you go live on Periscope you can see how many people are watching and they’ll send out “likes” in the form of hearts. Its immediate gratification and it feels darn good to see your screen fill up with hearts.

What’s in it for my brand? People from all around the world can organically discover your content. And if that content resonates you can actually become pretty famous (check out Amanda Oleander). You can also see who your most engaged fans are and begin to build deeper, more meaningful relationships with them. But, Periscope may be passed its peak. Last reported in 2015, Periscope had a meager 10 million active users.


And finally, let’s get chatting about Snapchat. Kidding! I wrote about Snapchat a while back and in the interest in saving your fingers from having to scroll anymore, I’ll just leave this link here.

There you go, now you’re equipped enough to make a decision about how, when and on which platform to go Live for your brand. Yes, there are other live video platforms (I see you Busker, YouTube, YouNow,, Tumblr Live and whatever others I’m missing). So why didn’t I include these in my super thorough how-to post? Those platforms have smaller, more niche audiences and there are fewer opportunities for brands to have truly authentic conversations with fans. And I’m all about that #authentic life.

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