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Embracing Live Video In 2021 – A How-To Guide


For the past couple of years video content has been on the rise on most of the social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok, Snapchat, and YouTube. In fact, according to Google, the time people spend watching live content went up by 250% in 2020. Today, we have a quick little how-to guide to break down why you should embrace live video content this year and how you can get started.



Going live in front of an audience is so much easier these days than it was in the past. Because of social media keep updated with what’s happening with current events, the entertainment industry, or your favourite influencers is becoming more and more of a regularity. In fact, 34% of GenZ’s are said to have used social media to keep up with news and current events.

Because of this, it’s not so much a question of whether you should or shouldn’t, but which platforms to choose to livestream your content.



According to a 2019 report, 26% of live social viewers chose to stream on Facebook. Better yet, according to Facebook, the daily watch time for Facebook Live broadcasts grew by 400% over the course of a year. Facebook has offered its live streaming features for years now, whether for personal use or for increasing brand awareness for your brand or corporation. And one thing that makes Facebook stand above the other social platforms is the Facebook algorithm. Facebook knows its users’ interests and behaviours and is therefore able to serve them relevant content. And because they know that the consumption of video content is greater than ever, they continuously push video content above still images or text updates.



Still at the top seat for online video content, YouTube is another platform to consider live streaming on. In fact, according to some recent statistics, 46% of Gen Z’s and Millenials were recorded to have watched live streams on their platform between April and May 2020, whereas 28% watch Facebook Live, 27% used Zoom, 26% viewed Instagram, and 15% spent time on Twitch. The biggest advantage that YouTube has over Facebook is the nature of its platform. People go onto YouTube to watch, whereas Facebook has a mix of news and media consumption, and social engagement. To live stream your content on YouTube means that you’re tapping into an audience of video consumers.



Instagram is a highly visual platform that still gets tremendous engagement despite the number of users on its platform. An Instagram Live stream is essentially a live recording of an Instagram Story. While the Stories are 15 seconds long, an Instagram live can go up to 4 hours long. The main benefit of going live on Instagram is that your story circle icon will appear at the very top of users’ Stories, not to mention that Instagram automatically sends push notifications to your followers to let them know that you are live. Finally, Instagram actually encourages accounts that embrace this feature by giving them engagement boosts and more exposure in the “Discovery” section of the app.



Known mainly for its music and dance content, Tiktok is the perfect platform to showcase your brand’s creative side. There are influencers and businesses that use Tiktok differently from its main user base (as a way to share tips, teach, and vlog), and have seen success doing so. If the audience for your brand is on the younger side, you might want to consider live streaming on Tiktok, as 46% of their user base is aged 16-24, and about 26% of its users watch live streams on the platform. Streaming on Tiktok has some prerequisites. The account owner must be 16 years or older, and have at least 1,000 followers to live stream on the platform. While you can live stream up to 8 hours on the platform, they recommend only going for about 30 minutes.



With the majority of the world spending more of their time online, getting used to Zoom calls and online streaming, live video streaming is becoming increasingly more relevant and popular. In fact, nearly 80% of marketers recognise video as an important medium, with 62% of business to consumer marketers already making use of live video as part of their content marketing strategy.

One example of a successful live stream is the collaboration between the Netherlands Make-a-Wish branch with gaming vlogger Yarasky. It was one kid’s wish to be able to play Call of Duty with Yarasky, and the 24-hour live YouTube video was able to raise over 10,000 euros and captured more than 6 million viewers.

Another example is a marketing agency called IMPACT that hosts a YouTube live series entitled, “Website Throwdown” wherein some of the company’s executives are joined by industry influencers to analyse websites live online. The live stream not only solidifies their authority and expertise on the subject but also connects them with engaged viewers asking questions and seeking advice about managing and designing their own websites.



The purpose of live video is to showcase both the human and the authoritative side of your brand. It’s a chance to show them the people behind the company, the company culture, and the knowledge and expertise that each member of that company has.


Make a Plan

The best way to get started is by developing up a plan for doing your live stream. Brainstorm ideas on the type of show you want to broadcast, the audience you want to target, the kind of engagement you want to have with the audience, and the outcome that you want to have from your live stream.

Are you doing it to raise brand awareness? Are you doing it to capture potential leads and customers? Or are you doing it to solidify your knowledge and expertise? 

Start with the outcome, and then work backwards towards building the type of show you want to showcase to the online world.


The Tools

A few years back, Mashable partnered with America’s Test Kitchen and chef David Vos to launch a cooking show that they lived streamed on Periscope, Twitter’s live-streaming platform (which was unfortunately discontinued earlier this year). The cooking show was filmed using only a camera phone and was touted as the “world’s biggest dinner part”.

While creating a high-quality production could add points to your credibility, don’t let the lack of expensive tools stop you from starting your own live show.

There are many successful influencers and small businesses that have achieved success by recording out of their smartphones. And while there are live streaming softwares available out there that let you simulcast to multiple platforms, sometimes it’s best to keep things simple, and go live directly via Facebook, Instagram or YouTube.

When it comes to live streaming, the important thing is to get your ideas down and jump straight in. You can make adjustments and improvements later on, with each video you stream. Live video will only grow bigger with time. That’s why there’s no better time than now to get started.