social media how toLooking for ways to boost engagement?

Have you considered live mobile streaming apps, like Meerkat and Periscope?

Live streaming video is a great way to interact with your audience in real time.

In this article you’ll discover six ways live streaming video helps you connect with your audience and increase engagement.

use live stream video for business

Discover six ways to use live stream video for business.

Listen to this article:

#1: Share Live Events

Sharing live events with your audience can make them feel more connected to your company or industry. The key here is not just showing the event, but also letting users be a part of it.

Create stories for your viewers. If you just show what’s happening in one location, viewers are likely to get bored quickly and disconnect. Instead, walk around to show them the event. Be your audience’s eyes and ears.

Keep an eye on their comments too, and when possible, reply to them. Ask viewers what part of the event they want to see and whom they’d like to meet.

During the RSA Conference in San Francisco, Alicia Mae from SecureNinja broadcasted part of the event to her audience. In this video she applies those principles. She asks viewers what they’d like to see while she walks around and speaks to the camera.

amae livestream placeit image

Interact with viewers to keep them engaged. Image: Placeit.

An important part of many events is the release or announcement of news and products. If you have authorization from event organizers, show these unique moments to your audience.

#2: Host Interviews

Brands and companies are centered on people–and in fact, “people” is one of the seven Ps of the extended marketing mix. However, companies sometimes forget this and become too promotional.

Do short live interviews with employees or clients to increase engagement. These interviews not only show the human side of your company, but also offer personal ideas and opinions.

The Verge is an online magazine that specializes in technology, science and culture. They run a daily event on Periscope called “Let’s Discuss,” where they have a discussion about something they’ve covered on their website. You can see a sample in this video.

verge live stream video image

Interviewing colleagues and clients can increase engagement.

Don’t promote your brand too much during these sessions. Provide fresh content to your viewers while keeping the intrinsic aspect of your business as part of the video.

Mashable streams discussions and events about the same topics, in the same style, that you’d normally find on their website. Consistency is key to maintaining an engaged audience.

mashable live stream video image

Host an open discussion about a specific topic and ask viewers for their opinions.

Remember to acknowledge your audience and reply to their comments. If you’re streaming an open discussion, ask viewers for their opinions. If it’s an interview, let your audience ask questions and then select the most interesting ones.

#3: Show How You Create a Product

Your audience typically can’t see how your products or services are created. With live streaming video, you can show them what it takes to go from concept to product completion. This is a great way to give your audience a glimpse of what is involved in building your brand.

Avenue Beads is a Chicago-based company that produces glass jewelry and artwork. Their pieces require a lot of work and experience to create, so they used live video to give viewers a peek at how they produce these items.

avenue beads live stream video image

Show your audience how you make your products.

You can apply this same principle to services as well. For example, an insurance company can show viewers the customer service department where employees answer calls.

Remember that users see only the final result from your company–your product or service. Any step in between is a story of value and likely will increase engagement with your brand.

#4: Give a Behind-the-Scenes Look

Another way to use live streaming is to show users behind the scenes of something they normally wouldn’t have access to.

In this video from NBC News Los Angeles, co-anchor Adrian Arambulo takes the audience for a quick stroll around the studio before the 11 pm news. Adrian reads comments and responds to them while showing users different areas of the TV studio, from the coffee machine to the anchor desk.

nbc live stream video image

Show users behind the scenes of your company.

Keep in mind that you can go beyond just your company location. Anything that is typically off-limits–or provides a different point of view–will interest many users.

Mercedes-Benz makes their audience part of a photo session for their S-Class model. All of the images are then uploaded to their online channels under the hashtag #MBEP15, which gives users an idea of what happens on both sides of the camera.

Showing how content is produced is a great way to engage with your audience.

mercedes live stream video image

Go beyond just your company location when taking viewers behind the scenes.

You can enhance this type of stream by involving viewers in the session. Ask for their opinions or reply to some of their comments.

#5: Conduct Training

Most people are avid learners if the content is interesting to them. Use this to your advantage by becoming your audience’s go-to reference for a particular topic.

Live streaming from mobile is obviously limited when compared to desktop, because you can’t share your screen and include additional content with the stream. However, this doesn’t have to be a roadblock for live streaming training sessions. After all, one of the reasons why Meerkat and Periscope are growing so quickly is their mobility.

Use a small tripod to hold your phone and talk to the camera while gesturing with your hands. If you need to show a specific detail, simply grab the phone and show a closeup.

Digital Republic, a creative and photography studio, uses this approach to deliver training sessions on Photoshop, photography and visual content. You can see an example in this video.

digital republic live stream video image

The lack of screen sharing isn’t a problem for this broadcaster. When he needs to show certain details, he shows a closeup.

This technique may seem amateur, but an informal touch typically produces more engagement among viewers. Many perceive this type of stream as more genuine than a scripted one.

Don’t think of live video training as a session where you lead your audience step-by-step through a process. You can simply discuss a topic you’re knowledgeable about and let viewers ask you questions about it.

This is what Tablo Publishing does in this clip where they talk about ebooks and online publishing. You can see that their approach is very relaxed.

tablo publishing live stream video image

Use a relaxed approach to connect with your audience.

The key to training is repetition and interaction. Make your sessions ongoing by scheduling them daily or weekly.

Scheduling content helps users remember when your live streaming session airs.

Remember to allow time for viewers to ask questions, or simply answer questions during the broadcast.

#6: Host Q&A Sessions

Organize sessions where you let the audience ask you about their concerns or areas of interest. This is a great way to increase engagement because you’re showing people that you care about their thoughts and opinions.

Acknowledge questions that are interesting and can provide value to your viewers. Mention the name of the user asking the question to further increase engagement. If you get comments from trolls or abusive users, simply ignore them.

In this video, Rene and Casey Nezhoda from Bargain Hunters Thrift Store are hosting a Q&A session. They try to answer as many questions as possible about how they run their business.

bargain hunters live stream video image

Q and A sessions are a great way to connect with your audience.

They ignore silly comments, but answer questions that are a bit more delicate (such as questions about their political views).

Selecting a specific topic for the Q&A–rather than letting users ask random questions–is a better way to increase engagement. Plus it helps you filter questions and select only the most interesting.

SwedishFoodTV has found a great way to connect with their audience using live streaming video. They broadcast recipes live and have Q&A sessions where viewers can ask questions related to the dish of the day.

They also take advantage of Meerkat’s content-scheduling option by creating custom images for upcoming streams with a call to action pointing to the Subscribe box. Users who subscribe to a stream receive a notification on their smartphones when the event starts.

Note that SwedishFoodTV also uses a specific hashtag for the stream.

amae livestream placeit image

On Meerkat, asking users to subscribe to your stream will remind them when your show is live. Image: Placeit.

Live Streaming: What Behaviors Drive Engagement

The key to successful live streaming videos is understanding what behaviors drive engagement:

  • Curiosity: Human beings are curious by nature and eager to discover new things. Live streaming shows the audience content that they may not otherwise see.
  • Desire for recognition: Being recognized is important to many people. Viewers of live streams are not anonymous, and the broadcaster can call individuals by name (or user ID).
  • Sense of belonging: Due to their limited duration, live streaming videos usually don’t get thousands of viewers simultaneously. Seeing the number (and IDs) of users subscribed to a stream makes viewers feel connected to a group.
  • Control: Live streaming allows users to interact and be part of the show. Their comments can affect the broadcast, and the broadcaster may respond to them.
  • Exclusivity: The content of a live streaming video is unique in that only those connected can interact with it.


Live streaming video offers seemingly endless possibilities for connecting with your audience. Keep in mind that you can combine some of these ideas to create something unique. Run different sessions to find what resonates best with your audience.

When broadcasting your video, be mindful of any copyright issues and user privacy. When approaching individuals, let them know they’re on a live video stream, and if they don’t want to participate, respect their decision.

What do you think? Have you tried Meerkat or Periscope for live streaming? What strategies do you use to create live streaming videos? What is your experience as a viewer? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Live stream images from Placeit.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Get Social Media Examiner’s Future Articles in Your Inbox!

Join 465,000+ of your peers! Get our latest articles delivered to your email inbox and get the FREE Social Media Marketing Industry Report (56 pages, 90 charts)!

More info...
  • This was awesome Antonio.

    Didn’t have access to either being a Droid user, but Meerkat has their Beta version out and just downloaded it. Tons of great ideas.

    Will definitely try doing some Q&A, Customer Case Study/Success examples and just life as a Startup behind the scenes.

  • I’m glad you liked it. There could be hundreds of applications and, if something doesn’t work, don’t desperate and try something new. Good luck!

  • Interviews or question & answer are most effective i think. In those days when i was learning digital marketing i was (still) fond of such interviews and question & answer sessions. I always look for videos of Matt Cutts, Rand Fishkin, Eric enge, Mark trafajan, etc.

    But for buyers product making or tutorial is very useful and it works.

  • Valerie Marsman

    Ive never used a live streaming app. Can you post yhe live stream on facebook? Is it hosted through the app or do you need to host the video on your website? When you market a live stream should you have people sign up or just give them an advanced notice on the date and time?

  • Great article especially the part about consistency is key.

  • Excellent and comprehensive article, Antonio. I work daily with abuse survivors. What a great way for them to gain access to my support. I feel inspired to take action. Well done!

  • The live stream is posted from the app. On periscope your account is linked to your twitter so when you live stream from periscope a tweet is sent out telling all your twitter followers (and periscope followers) that you are live. People can watch within periscope or click on the link in the automatic tweet to watch online. Those that are watching from their computers will be shown as “(Web Viewers)” inside periscope. Hope that helps 🙂 Its an amazing app! – I am @literallyanika on there

  • that would be an amazing subject to periscope on!! Im sure a lot of viewers would be very interested to see that

  • Thank you Anika! I appreciate your feedback and encouragement 🙂

  • Interesting method of reaching and connecting with your audience. Thanks for the amazing article.

  • No worries 🙂 I’m @literallyanika on periscope if you decide to join !!

  • Valerie Marsman

    Thanks Anika! That sounds amazing. Do you know if the app is available on the google playstore for android?

  • erik gingles

    Nice job Antonio. We developed an app similar to periscope a few years ago and admittedly the buy-out periscope got would have been nice :-). Since Twitter’s purchase i’ve been reading the question ‘how is this kind of technology going to be used for bricks-and-mortar businesses?’ You came up with a few great ideas. However there doesn’t seem to be an easy way for the average user to record what’s streamed. There are pros and cons to this. The pros you outlined but for me i feel the user is missing the greatest part of that communication chain from streamer-to-viewer. And that is making it easy to share post event. Our analytics are showing this is where the big bang comes from in terms of engagement – like watching a musical live then coming home to show your friends online. Doulble whammy for engagement. I’m glad you wrote this. It makes things easier for us. Thanks!

  • Hey Valerie! I’m not sure if it is. Sorry about that. I am an Apple iPhone user !

  • Michael

    I have both Meerkat and Periscope. Periscope definitely has an advantage with the embedded Twitter follow notification in the app and I love <3 being able to communicate with screen taps as LUV/Hearts as well as the chat box. Soon they will accommodate both portrait and landscape mode, plus dozens of other helpful features.

    That said, let's not forget that webinars will continue to be the 800 pound gorilla when it comes to live-streaming video for business.

  • I see no mention of Hangouts On Air. Is it a sin to mention that here?

    Your presentation has inspired me to do a video on a topic a large audience in my arena is clamoring for. We shall see how this motivates me. thank you!

  • I think one of the most events people will be interesting is knowing how certain product of their interest is made, such knowledge will draw people more to the site where they get such information, and constant visits to such sites will lure them to make purchases of such products haven known how they are made

  • It all depends on what your content is about and what your audience prefers. But yes, Q&A is always a good idea that could fit with most companies.

  • Hi Valerie, at the time this article was published, Meerkat is available for both iOS and Android; Periscope is only available for iOS.

    As Anika mentioned you need to connect either of these apps to your Twitter account.

  • Thank you Belkis. If you use these apps for fun, then it’s ok to jump and change topics. However if you are doing it for business, consistency is key to maintain your brand positioning.

  • Thank you Anika, I’m glad you found it useful. Good luck with your career as YouTuber, hope it helps you reach your dream of being in TV.

  • Thank you Athena, that’s another great way to use these apps – especially with the ‘Private broadcast’ option available on Periscope.

  • Thank you Cypher, I’m glad you find it useful.

  • Thank you for your comment Erik. I agree with you: these apps are fantastic, but both are far from perfect. I think because of the strong competition existing at the moment between them they went live too quickly, but at the same time they are working hard to implement new features.

    In any case, I find amazing the fact that viewers can interact live with the broadcast and thus influence the outcome.

  • Hi Michael, I agree on the webinar idea, however I think these live streaming are not supposed to replace a webinar – nor the other way around.

    Webinars are meant to happen from a desktop, where you can share your screen, etc… it’s 99% of the times something educational with Q&A. On the contrary, live streaming allows showing ‘the world as it happens’ to your viewers. You could run a webinar on live streaming in the same way you could live stream from a tablet using a webinar platform, however I think their applications are not exclusive.

  • They are slightly different, as hangouts are less ‘impromptu’ and require a connection between the host, who makes a call to the viewers who will attend. Also, Hangouts on Air cannot be broadcasted from a mobile device for average users (it can be done, but it requires a virtual machine app, etc…)

    However, I haven’t used HOA for a while and these issues may have changed. Please, correct me if this is the case.

    Good luck with your presentation!

  • And not only products interested to them. Honestly, I am not particularly interested in glass marbles, but when I watched that video I was amazed AND spent quite sometime visiting the company’s website. There you go: brand exposure, product awareness, etc… 🙂

  • Dorothea

    Great stuff here. Is there a good live streaming tool in which we can control the viewers? So if you wanted to host an event for specific people, but only those invited? Ex. Team meeting, private event? TIA!

  • Suzanne Nguyen

    A great list! Thanks for showing the video about Tablo, Antonio.

    Curiosity, interaction and providing informative content allows for business and brands to shine through. Consistency is definitely a key in utilising live streaming.

  • Suzanne Nguyen

    Periscope has a feature for a private room.
    Meerkat is more focused on interactive engagement and is public to everyone.

  • Michael

    Sorry if I misread your article. It starts off “6 Ways to Use Livestreaming Video for Business” and nowhere into introductory paragraphs or anywhere in the article did I see the word “webinar” mentioned. Yes, they definitely both have their place and I love the notion of quickie, informal and raw “behind the scenes” quickies with mobile devices. Hopefully others won’t be misled thinking your article focuses on the main infrastructure associated with “Livestreaming Video for Business.” Thanks again for your provocative post.

  • Hey Dorothea, seems like Suzanne has already answered this 🙂 Thank you for reading and commenting.

  • Exactly: even if this type of content is generally done impromptu, having some consistency is key to maintain user interest. Great stream btw.

  • Anika – Glad you love the podcast also 🙂

  • Thanks Antonio and thank you for connecting on Twitter. Hope you enjoy the videos. Have you dabbled in Periscope yourself yet?

  • Thanks for replying Michael! You should periscope your podcasts live! that would be amazing. Maybe you have already done that?

  • taylorhulyk

    Does anyone know if there’s a product out there where you can capture both the live stream and conversation related to that stream for use after the time of broadcast?

  • treb072410

    I really had a great read Antonio, your post is very useful and informative.. Thanks for sharing..

  • Hi. I like the ideas. As someone in the outsourcing business, I think this is something that we can suggest to our clients… maybe we’ll do it as well. I really believe that these live-streaming apps are a big part of social media and journalism’s future. Thanks, Antonio. Keep articles like these coming! Cheers!

  • Thanks so much for mentioning me in #1 Antonio! Can’t wait to do more live Periscope stuff at future trade shows and events.

  • Cynthia V. Anderson

    Great post Antonio. I must however question the validity of your statement Don’t think of live video training as a session where you lead your audience step-by-step through a process. You can simply discuss a topic you’re knowledgeable about and let viewers ask you questions about it. How would one know what to ask if the participant doesn’t know how to use the product? I would definitively categorize Training as Step-by-step. “Simply discussing…” needs a new specific category such as “Chat with us in a group session online- We will personally answer your FAQs” Then offer an incentave to be featured in the product’s about/FAQ page for the best questions posed. Training is training. Thanks again for all other content in the post, it was helpful!

  • Xavier Ferrara

    I downloaded periscope to stream live fitness workouts and share health tips. It has been absolutely amazing seeing people respond to what I do live. I recommend it to anyone trying to build their business.

    Xavier Ferrara

  • FYI: I noticed something today with Periscope that comments are limited when somewhere around 100-200 people are viewing. I joined one with about 220 already in the scope to discover I couldn’t comment, but I could heart. There was a pop up that said: “To limit messages for the broadcaster, only early joiners can chat.”

  • I had no idea about this, thank you for sharing your findings with us!

  • Some screencasting tools like Camtasia allow you to record what’s on your mobile screen, however you’ll need to have the device connected to your laptop.

  • Thank you for your comment, I really appreciate it 🙂

  • I really enjoyed watching you showing around the event Alicia. You are a natural broadcaster! 🙂

  • Thank you for your comment. These are some popular ideas, but there could be many more: feel free to share additional ones 🙂

  • Hi Cynthia, thank you for your comment. Training in this context is just a term to define when someone explains or provides some new knowledge to somebody else. I could have named it ‘step-by-step’ but I thought Training was easier to understand.

  • Hi Xavier, that’s an extra application (although I guess it could be categorized under ‘Training’). The key of these apps (and social media in general) is interact with the audience. Keep up the good work!

  • Periscope is a great business building tool especially if you can give your audience a web address or hashtag to use. Ask your audience to post the links or hashtags in the comments.

  • taylorhulyk

    Thanks, Antonio, though we’ve got to think that Twitter will release this functionality at some point, right? We can hope at least.

  • Cynthia V. Anderson

    Thank you for responding!

  • Enjoyed your post Antonio….However…I kept brainstorming new ideas for live streaming, especially with Periscope turning heads the way it is.
    It reminds me of the Live calls that Radio and TV stations used to do….the sky is the limit for creativity here…Can’t wait to see what appears

  • jacob taylor

    Every feature that you have said are absolutely perfect on both the apps! I must tell you that we have tried to build up a video streaming software just like Periscope and meerkat to serve these purposes.

  • If I wanted to add an interactive quiz with in a live stream video session is that possible