Live streaming is real-time video delivery that is facilitated through social media platforms. Live streaming — also called streaming, live video, virtual streaming, etc. — surfaced around 2016 and the video streaming market is expected to grow 60% by 2021. This means that the market is expected to grow from around 30 billion USD in 2016 to just over 70 billion USD in 5 years.

Many individuals struggle to see the benefit of lifestreaming in contrast to pre-recording a video. If you pre-record, you can make as many takes as you want to ensure error-free videos, and you can edit and voice-record over a video as well. The benefit of live-streaming real-time is the difference between push notifications vs pull notifications:

Push notifications: this refers to the process where notification is pushed from the social media owner without explicit instructions to do so. Generally, the individual has already followed or subscribed to the company/brand doing the push, so this is entirely different from spam or junk mail. In most cases, live streaming simply pushes a notification that “(individual/organization) is going live”;

Pull notifications: this refers to the more traditional approach behind posting on social media or on your site, wherein a reader requests information.

Types of social media live streaming.

As live streaming continues to grow, there are more and more social media platform options that have implemented a live stream feature. There are third-party platforms that support live streaming, but the primary options for going live on social media include the following:

Facebook live;

Instagram live;

LinkedIn live;

Twitter live;

Youtube live.

While the specific features and support on each platform can vary, the best option for you largely depends on which platform you already have an account for, where your audience is largest/most active, and of course which platform you are most comfortable using.

How to go live on social media.

How to go live on social media varies between platforms, but the first step to going live on social media is making sure you have the right technology and equipment to support live streaming. Most live streamers use smartphones for streaming, but it is possible to use other devices on certain platforms. Some choose to use a desktop computer, laptop, wearable technology, and (with the right wiring) you could also use a professional camera for your stream. Whatever you decide to use for streaming should also have streaming support services to mitigate any issues that may arise. The following information is meant to give insight into how to go live on each respective social media platform.

Going Facebook Live.

Facebook is compatible with a variety of streaming devices outside of mobile streaming. If you are going live on your phone versus going live on your computer, the process may differ slightly, but creating a live stream on Facebook goes as follows:

- At the top of your Facebook homepage where it says, "what's on your mind?" there are 3 options. Choose "Live" (the first option);

- Write a short description of your video;

- Use the three dots in the right-hand corner of your live stream to indicate your audience. You can broaden or specify your audience as you deem necessary;

- Invite friends to join in on your live stream.

Going Instagram Live.

Instagram only allows mobile live streams for the time being. So the process remains fairly simple:

- Choose the camera in the top left-hand corner of the app;

- Swipe right until you access the Instagram live screen;

- Tap the “go live” button to begin;

- Invite friends to join in on your live stream;

- Once you end your live stream you can either save the video or share it to Instagram TV (IGTV).

Going LinkedIn Live

Using LinkedIn as a resource for live streaming is a great option since it is primarily a business platform in contrast to more social-based options like Instagram and Facebook. The “LinkedIn Live” option is not available to everyone, you need to apply to be a LinkedIn live broadcaster online. If you are approved, you will need at least one mobile device to stream, but two if you want to monitor comments during the live-stream. Since the live streaming option is not available to everyone, those who are approved will need to facilitate the live stream through a third-party streaming app — some free examples include:

Periscope;

Socialive;

Switcher Studio;

Twitch.

Going Twitter Live

Since Twitter is largely written updates (or "tweets"), going live on Twitter can be a great way to switch things up. You can only go live on Twitter on your mobile phone and the process goes as follow:

- Choose the camera icon at the top of your Twitter feed;

- Tap the “go live” option;

- Choose whether you want to go live with your camera or just audio;

- Invite friends to join in on your live stream.

Going YouTube Live

In order to be able to go live on YouTube, you will need to have obtained a minimum of 1,000 subscribers to your channel. Using a webcam or smartphone is the best way to go about streaming on YouTube and the process goes as follows:

- Choose the camera in the top left-hand corner of the app;

- Select “go live” option;

- Select either “mobile” or “webcam” stream;

- Add a title and short video description;

- Make audience adjustments as necessary. 

Social media streaming tips.

Live video is beneficial for a variety of users from social media influencers to business owners. According to an article on Forbes, every marketer should know that video marketing is a viable means for promoting and growing your online traffic and online presence as a whole. The same article goes on to say that 55% of people watch videos online every day, and it generally equates to more web traffic. In order to see the benefits, you will need to consider some best practices for streaming.

Keep your equipment simple: the more moving pieces, the more things that can go wrong;

Check your bandwidth: you want to ensure that your network can reasonably support the streaming process so test your upload speed prior to going live;

Prepare: avoid going into a live stream without anything planned. You want to rehearse beforehand and make sure you have a road map for what you plan to do;

Engage: try to engage with the viewers, especially those who comment or react to the post;

Share your video: expand your viewership by sharing the page on your personal social media page, or other pages that would be interested in your topic. For example, if you are talking about cars, share your stream on a “car lovers” page;

Use multiple streaming platforms: avoid putting all your eggs in one basket and use a variety of streaming platforms. You can even stream on multiple platforms at once;

Have someone monitor your streams: if there are technical errors, or your camera moves you don’t want to have to stop what you are doing to mitigate the issue. It can be beneficial to have someone monitor what is going on so you can focus on the content;

Be consistent: schedule a time to do live streams. They don’t need to be hour-long, rehearsed streams, rather touching base and creating a recurring time that followers can keep up with.