Now Streaming: Live Video as the Latest Tool for PR Professionals

April 1, 2016


Live video, often referred to as live streaming, has taken the social media world by storm, and PR professionals can’t afford to lag behind. Periscope, Blab, YouNow and Facebook Live are just a few of the apps that have come out within the last year and allow brands to go live from any mobile device.

Brands like Applebee’s, Experian, Kohl’s, UFC and GE have all taken the plunge in experiencing live video in varying campaigns. In order for PR pros to stand out from the crowd, it will be necessary to gain a solid understanding of today’s hottest live video platforms.

Defining live video

Live video allows users to broadcast videos directly from their mobile devices to a variety of major social media platforms. It is a great way to promote a personal or corporate brand and increase engagement with key audiences. By using a live video platform, one is able to significantly close the gap on the Know Like Trust (KLT) factor that we all aspire to within our respective communities. Strategically developed and implemented, live video can influence the decisions of your target audiences at a rate that you may not have seen with previous tactics.

Understanding brands and stories

A communication strategy that incorporates live video streaming is one that can work for B2B or B2C brands, an agency, a public service or even a nonprofit organization. These platforms allow for individuals or corporations to tell the story behind their brands. Anyone from the CEO of a Fortune 500 company to the director of a local nonprofit has equal opportunity to showcase the best that their brand has to offer.

Edelman’s 2014 Brandshare report states that 87 percent of people want meaningful relationships with brands. The report goes on to say that only 17 percent of people feel like brands are delivering on their promise of meaningful relationships. Live video is an authentic way to close this gap quickly.

Stepping outside the box

Consumers now value authenticity, transparency and a realness that they have not valued in the past. Being real and showing the faces behind the brand is one of the strong points of using live streaming. These platforms can become a PR professional’s go-to outlets to share a live press conference, go behind the scenes at an event or even launch a product. One is only limited by their imagination and their willingness to step outside of the box.

“PR pros should not only be knowledgeable about live streaming apps, they should be proficient. Live streaming apps like Periscope empower brands to easily become the expert source, build audience and build credibility,” says Lisa Buyer, CEO of The Buyer Group, author of “Social PR Secrets” and adjunct professor at the University of Florida.

Buyer adds that communications professionals are sometimes focused on the positive, shiny, sparkly side of a brand, and they might shy away from the rawness and imperfections that come with live streaming. But the reality is it’s the authenticity and transparency that attract audiences to a brand. Being real — in real time — is in.

Engaging your audience

Start now. It does not cost anything to test the waters of live streaming. At this point in time, you would be an early adopter, as opposed to someone who may have to play catch-up as the popularity continues to grow on these platforms.

Now is the time to build your community, provide value to your fan base and engage your audience in a way that you have not been able to do in the past.

“Engagement” has been a buzzword in our profession during the last couple of years. As Diane Bernard, CMO at the Bernard Group said, “Periscope allows PR to create two-way communications between new and existing customers, creating a new level of transparency and connection that in turn is building a deeper kind of loyalty never seen before in any other form of social engagement.”

Live video gives brands the opportunity that they need to engage their audiences directly on a regular basis.

Looking to the future

We are also starting to see more brands include live video in their social strategies. That new frontier will be virtual reality.

As Mark Zuckerberg said during his time onstage at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona: “Virtual reality is the next platform. Video is already some of the most engaging content that you will see online. Every day, there are more than 100 million hours of video watched on Facebook, but 360 videos are even more immersive.”

Virtual reality relies on a camera’s ability to stitch together a 360-degree view of a particular scene. Currently, brands are just scratching the surface on what it will take to make this beneficial to their brand. Facebook has actually pulled together a team of engineers to help support the technology. In 2014, the company acquired The Gear VR software, which is based on technology from Oculus, for $2 billion.

As Zuckerberg added, “One day soon, all of us will have the power to broadcast live and VR is going to be the most social platform.”

The future of online communities relies heavily on video to convey messages. On Periscope, we are witnessing the rise of a social platform that is filled with honest, raw and inspiring conversations.

The rise of live video can also empower people from all over the world to share their opinions, ideas and lifestyles in an engaging way. Going live on social media is a must for brands and one day, not too far into the future, this live video experience will be fully immersive in VR, 360 video or augmented reality.

12 Ways to Bolster Your Brand With Live Video

  • Highlight breaking news or exclusive photos
  • Demo and review products
  • Interact with customer service
  • Have an influencer take over the account
  • Interview employees, customers, C-suite
  • Share promotions or deals
  • Attend conferences/panel discussions
  • Tour retail spaces
  • Connect with journalists and influencers
  • Go behind the scenes
  • Monitor competitors’ strategies
  • Respond to a PR crisis  — C.H.

Going Live: Watch Out for These Platforms


  • Twitter acquired the platform in January 2015 for $86.6 million.
  • It currently has more than 10 million users.
  • Live videos play directly on Twitter timelines.
  • Users can stream GoPro videos live via Periscope.
  • BMW, Experian, T-Mobile, Harley Davidson, Central Park are brands using this well.

Facebook Live & Facebook Mentions

  • Users with verified profiles can go live from the Facebook Mentions app.
  • Facebook Live is available on all personal profiles and pages.
  • Users can edit videos on their timelines.
  • Videos don’t disappear after 24 hours, comments scroll and users can embed them.
  • Facebook altered its algorithm so live videos appear higher in users’ news feeds.


  • Incorporates the Twitter timeline down the left side.
  • Up to four people can be in the chat windows on the platform.
  • Viewers can contribute to the conversation in the chat bar.
  • You can go live immediately or schedule a Blab for a later date and time.
  • Users can embed Blab elsewhere, change video titles and tweet out the Blab.


  • The platform was founded in 2011.
  • It has 100-million user sessions per month and 150,000 active broadcasts per day.
  • BuzzFeed, Huffington Post and Refinery29 are using it.
  • “America’s Got Talent” holds live auditions on this platform.
  • YouNow has launched YouNow Latino, YouNow Deutsch and YouNow Arabic.
  • The broadcaster can monetize the video through virtual goods.


  • In March 2015, the company announced that it was leaving the live streaming business to focus on building a video social network.  — C. H.

The Power of Live Video for Public Relations

Cathy Hackl will be leading a professional development workshop on Dec. 2 in New York on “How to Use Live Video to Build Your Brand, Connect with Audiences and Create Visually Engaging Stories (Periscope, Blab, Facebook Live, Snapchat and VR).” Learn more here.

Cathy Hackl, APR

Cathy Hackl, APR, created the holographic press release and is a leading voice in augmented reality and virtual reality. A futurist and well-known speaker, she is co-author of “Marketing New Realities,” the only book on augmented reality and virtual reality for marketing. Hackl joined Atlanta-based You Are Here Labs in 2018, where she leads agencies, brands and companies in applying futuristic technologies.



Steve Lubetkin, APR, Fellow, PRSA says:

PR professionals should definitely use audio, video, and livestreaming, but there is a real danger of damage to the brand if the decision is to do these productions "on the cheap," either by having nonpaid interns livestream from a cell phone, or by sending the media poorly recorded audio and video done by amateurs to save a few shekels. You spend tens of thousands of dollars building brand logos, signage, websites, business cards and stationery. Audio, video, and photography is the wrong place to scrimp on expenses. Use professionals to produce your content. Steve Lubetkin, APR, Fellow, PRSA Managing Partner, The Lubetkin Media Companies LLC Co-Author of "The Business of Podcasting: How to Take Your Podcasting Passion from the Personal to the Professional"

April 4, 2016

Scott Robertson, APR says:

Looks like the darn world is doing that "changing quickly" thing again and it tends to scare the living doo-doo out of those who aren't ready for it, which I'll just loosely define as "all human beings." Great post, but you know, scary as hell. :) Time to study up on these platforms, especially VR I think.

April 5, 2016

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