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The Best Livestreaming tools - The Marketing Lab

Social Media, The Marketing Lab

The first topic the Marketing Lab covered at the start of April 2016 is Livestreaming.The Marketing Lab was attended by Maryrose Lyons, Greg Fry, Felicity McCarthy and Sasha Kinch. Additional expert advice was supplied by Lottie Hearn*.

Why Livestream?

There are many reasons as to why you might want to livestream. You could be demoing new products with prospective customers, discussing industry news with your loyal followers or just hosting a meeting with colleagues in different locations. But just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you should. A lot of livestreaming should be video, so keep that in mind.

What Livestreaming Tools We Tested

How would you use it?
If you are paying for a webinar software, this is perfect for small gotomeeting. Go to the url, click ‘create a room’, invite some friends, and you’ve started the video.

What’s great about it?
It’s very quick to ‘go live’, with a clean and easy user interface. There is no login required, which makes it easier for inviting guests. Invites to join the room can be sent as a link or as a Facebook message. If you do choose to sign-up, you get a unique profile (which is good if your primary invite method will be via url). Sign up is quick and requires email/phone verification. You can edit your profile by adding an image, which adds a more personal feel to your livestreaming session. Having an account also gives you more control on the look and feel of the ‘room’.

What’s not great about it?
Neither the administrator or as the viewer can record the session, so wouldn’t work if you were wishing to have a recorded training course unless you utilised other recording software. We also recommend not having more than four people, the reason is the bandwidth and sound


How do you use it?
Spreecast is great for online educators as it has good gating options for broadcaster that want to sell their content. It integrates with Stripe and allows you receive donations or even sell your content in a Pay per view model.

What’s great about it?
It is easy to set up and broadcast. You can schedule a broadcast of go live immediately. Anyone with your broadcast link can see your content. Spreecast also allows you to share or embed your broadcasts on your website or social media channel. Viewers can chat, submit text questions/comments and request to join on screen. Paid Spreecast accounts have the ability to download their audio and video content and access analytics for their broadcasts. There are also some analytics of the audience viewing your cast.

What’s not great about it?
While it can be used for free, your casts will have ads. So if you are serious about creating frequent content on this platform you should consider their paid (ad free) options. They range from $18-149 per month. This cost depends on user numbers. Also, it is good to note that your cast is only available for three days, and you can’t download it for future viewing. (beta)

How would you use it?
The key reason to use would be to identify your key influencers, see if they are on Blab, and then make sure you are on Blab. Agencies may also want to showcase some of the work that they have done for your clients. You have four seats you can fill on any blab, so you can get creative, swapping people in and out and answer questions.

Blab may also suit people who are keen to do interview-style blogs, for example with clients or CEOs., or for “Ask the expert” or “live Q&As” to engage with customers or prospects. You could also use it to ‘host’ virtual events.

What’s great about it?
Blab is more straightforward, less choppy than some of the other livestreaming apps. Blab can be used from Desktop & Mobile (iOS only), and it has a seamless transition from mobile to desktop. You can jump in on blabs to discover influencers. It’s also really easy to collaborate with others in the presenting of a Blab. You can post Blabs or recordings on Blabs to other channels e.g. YouTube. All attendees can see comments/questions, so peer to peer interaction is good as well as interaction with host.

What’s not great about it?
There is a lot of drivel to sift through when trying to find good blabs. It is also hard to get a targeted relevant audience to your blab. The key thing is to note that you need to name your blab well to be found, but even then, it could still get lost. Blab is not integrated with the a social channel the way periscope and facebook mentions would be which means your audience is waiting for you there. Ultimately, is good for broadcasting, but not stable enough for unlisted meetings. It’s useful to note that Blab is still in Beta, so some of the bugginess will probably disappearin due course.


How would you use it?
One of the original poster children of the live streaming video world, Periscope lets a single person/business host a scope to an audience. The audience may be on Periscope, or with synching to Twitter means you can broadcast to your existing audience there. It is mainly designed for Live streaming in a moment – so expect to see more of it at events. Or it can be used for behind-the-scenes, weekly updates to your community – what’s hot or new for your business.
Best use: a diving school did a dive with sharks using a Go Pro. They now have this footage on Youtube events, situations, behind the scenes.
Other real life uses: Daft and Permanent TSB used Periscope to show viewings of homes and still have the videos live on their site:

What’s great about it?
It is easy to join and use straightaway, and videos are available to view within 24 hours. You can export the videos and host them elsewhere – e.g your website, YouTube, Facebook etc. Plus you can create private broadcasts. Note that naming of your scope is important as there are no categories of topics. It’s also important you have an introduction at beginning, since people may or may not already follow/know you

What’s not great about it?
You can’t schedule scope which makes it hard to pre-promote. The search functionality is not good making it hard to find scopes by category. There is limited ability to adjust light and other settings, which doesn’t lend itself well to this climate! Plus we found a higher incidence of trolls than usual, which can be frustrating. Periscope and Twitter are two separate apps, so you need to spend time building both followings to get real through-put.

Hangouts on Air

How would you use it?
You can run a hangout using Google that is gated/private or public and available anyone. With the gated stuff, there is a limit to 15. This is not truly livestreaming, but it works well for meetings.

What’s great about it?
You can export and even edit your hangout and send to YouTube. Or you can open it up in YouTube itself. You can also embed a hangout on your website and stream live from there. You can screen share and present slides which may be useful for a product demo.

What’s not great about it?
The mobile experience isn’t great and tends to hang. It needs to have very good audio and video quality.

Facebook Live

How would you use it?
Facebook has finally rolled out its much anticipated and highly promoted live feature. Facebook Live may not be available across all accounts just yet, but it’s on most, and if you don’t have it now, you sure will by the start of May 2016. It is perfect for influencers to have quick broadcasts from their pages. It is an excellent way to reach your followers organically on Facebook.

What’s great about it?
For pages, there is already an audience that has been hard won, and because the Facebook algorithm favours video, your livestream will surface ahead of other content in people’s feeds. In addition, friends may receive a notification if they are logged in to tell them that you are live. FB Live is very like Periscope, except you don’t need a separate app. Recordings live on your timeline for a long time (30 days) after the livestream is over which allows for further audience engagement.

What’s not great about it?
It’s not that easy to make it private (similar settings as you would for a normal Facebook post). It is also currently mobile only, which may not work for most businesses. You can have only one host which makes it harder to collaborate. You also can’t share your screen. You can’t schedule per se (i.e. create a destination url in advance for your event), but you can promote the fact that you will be Live on Facebook at a specific time/date in the near future.

Livestreaming Tools At-A-Glance

Expert’s Corner – Top Tips for Livestreaming

With all these tools at our disposal, it’s really important to give some thought to how you appear on camera. We asked Lottie Hearn* for some suggestions on how to prepare for a successful livestream:


“The most important thing to remember when setting up for your Periscopes, Snapchats, Blabs, #FBLIVE or Livestream video recordings is that it’s less about the equipment and more about how you present what you do! Take time to plan what you’re going to deliver – know why it’s important to your business, but MOSTLY why it’s important to your viewer to watch? In the end your viewer chooses to watch you or not and you want to help them like, know and trust you.”
Also, think of the title of your livestream as the title of your blog, it needs to be relevant and catchy.

Camera and Microphone

“Unless you have a top of the range computer with high spec camera and sound, I would recommend using an external HD computer camera on a desk tripod and microphone (I love my Blue Yeti J) and use a tripod whenever possible. It’s easier to place the camera for best lighting and background too.”

Lighting and positioning

“If using your laptop camera – set it up on a box or books so you look up to the lens, make sure light is on your face and the background behind you is work appropriate (move that mess or hide it!). I use a flip-out backdrop clipped to my flipchart for my #FridayVideoBlab:”

Mobile Streaming

“If using your mobile phone on the go – use a tripod and microphone when you can, especially if the setting is noisy. My portable studio is a solid selfie-stick, not the skinny ones, a Boya lapel mic and the Kick USB rechargeable light from – not cheap but excellent light options. ALWAYS test you can livestream or record successfully a few times, it doesn’t always work with unknown WiFi! is a great free camera + sound test and chat room you can invite others in to too.”


The next topic we are focusing on is podcasting.  Keep an eye on the blog around the end of May. If you want to know more about The Marketing Lab,  read on.


Who attended The Marketing Lab?

Maryrose Lyons, Founder of Social Media Consultancy Brightspark

Felicity McCarthy, Founder of

Greg Fry, Social Media Strategist, Content Plan

Sasha Kinch, Digital Campaigns Executive, Independent News and Media, read her blog here.

*Special thanks to Lottie Hearn, Blab Expert, Author, Speaker & Video/Livestreaming Coach,, President of Professional Speaking Association of Ireland.

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