LS: Choosing your streaming platform

The first step to seeing all of the advantages of live streaming in action is to choose your streaming platform – that is, where you’ll be showing your live stream.

You’re probably already heard of (or seen) a Facebook Live video, and while the main social media sites are good streaming options, they’re not your be-all-end-all choices.

To keep things simple, we’ll look at the three main options:

live streaming - live streaming apps

You can also stream to Facebook and Youtube Live at the same time, but more on that after we’ve gone through each platform individually.

Facebook Live is great for exposure

Probably the best-known example of live streaming right now is Facebook Live. This allows users and pages to live stream from their mobile device or desktop, with viewers being able to comment (as standard Facebook comments) and react (“Like”, “Love”, etc) in real time.

Stream quality on Facebook is usually pretty good, and the site’s massive user base provides a huge potential audience for the video.

live streaming - facebook live

The main disadvantage of Facebook Live comes when you try to repurpose your content. Facebook videos don’t rank in Google, and even though you can autosave footage to your timeline, it will quickly get buried in your audience’s news feeds.

In other words, if you want to get traffic to your videos going forwards, you’ll have to manually reupload them to Youtube.

After all, Facebook isn’t designed to be a site of evergreen content – it’s millions of separate timelines that are all about the here-and-now. Facebook Live is a great option if you’re just looking to engage your audience and get some exposure, but not so much for structured or evergreen clips.

In short, Facebook Live:

  • Has the largest potential audience
  • Isn’t great for the audience interacting with the streamer
  • Isn’t designed for evergreen videos
  • Very good for show-and-tell casual streams
  • Has desktop and mobile streaming capabilities

live streaming - facbook live stream

Twitter is awesome for a casual audience rapport

After crushing the competition, Twitter’s streaming app Periscope was eventually integrated to let you stream directly from the mobile app.

Although it has a smaller user base, the main advantage of streaming on Twitter is the extra audience interaction it allows.

Facebook has a bigger audience, but comments are just regular Facebook post comments that can be shown on the stream. Twitter, meanwhile, makes it much easier for your audience to @mention each other and talk to both you and the rest of your viewers.

LS: Choosing your streaming platform 2

China Xinhua News


LIVE 360°: World factory of white Chinese porcelain #XiJinpingInitiative @periscopetv 

LS: Choosing your streaming platform 3

China Xinhua News @XHNews

LIVE 360°: World factory of white Chinese porcelain #XiJinpingInitiative @periscopetv

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This means that you can have an easier back-and-forth between your viewers, making the experience more personal and useful to anyone who sees it.

In short, Twitter streaming:

  • Has a lower potential audience than Facebook
  • Is great for encouraging your audience to chat
  • Only allows mobile streaming
  • Like Facebook, it isn’t designed to host evergreen content
  • Perfect for casual audience interaction

Youtube Live is perfect for repurposing content

Youtube Live doesn’t have quite the same reach as Facebook or Twitter but lends itself far more to evergreen and repurposable content.

Anyone can stream using Youtube Live from their desktop (although you’ll also need an encoder such as OBS), but to stream from your mobile device you’ll need more than 10,000 subscribers to your channel. Notifications are sent to your subscribers and recordings of your stream can be autosaved as public or private videos for later use.

Unlike Facebook Live and streaming on Twitter, Youtube Live also supports monetization through ads – this isn’t vital for marketing purposes, but a little extra monetization on your longer streams could still serve you well.

Finally, your audience has a separate chat box which they can post in (akin to an instant messenger). While you have to check that chat box to interact with your audience, this lets them talk amongst themselves and form a community feel.

In short, Youtube Live:

  • Is more designed for engaging existing subscribers
  • Allows desktop and (10k+ subs) mobile streaming
  • Allows easy content repurposing
  • Is brilliant for evergreen videos
  • Excels at engaging your existing audience, almost no matter the type of stream you host

Remember that you aren’t limited to only using one of these platforms – you can mix and match according to what suits your needs. However, having a set schedule using just one or two of these platforms will give your live streaming some consistency, and let your audience know what to expect.

Facebook Live and Youtube Live simultaneously

While it isn’t possible to do so with on Twitter, you can have the best of Facebook and Youtube by broadcasting to both at the same time.

live streaming - restream

When doing this it’s a good idea to focus on more of a show-and-tell format (such as demonstrating a feature or broadcasting a live event) and to focus on the Youtube chat if you’re engaging with your audience at all. That way you have the easy conversation and ability to repurpose that Youtube brings, but with the exposure that Facebook provides.

To stream to both services at once you’ll need to use either (if you’re broadcasting using OBS Studio) or Wirecast. Restream and OBS are free tools which take a little more setup, whereas Wirecast is easier to use, but costs $495 for the Studio version.

To help you set this up, Justin Brown has an extremely helpful guide on how to set this up using Wirecast:


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