#SocmeTwit – To stream or not to stream?

Instagram leveled the playing field with other popular social media platforms by publishing their Instagram Live feature. The feature has been publicly accessible for more than two months, starting November 2016. Youtube started live streaming in 2013 (and mobile live streaming mid 2016), Twitter acquired Periscope in 2015, while Facebook joined in the pool in April 2016. The million-dollar question now is: which one to choose?
Of course, each of these platforms has different features, as seen in the table below.

Capture

Anji (@DuniaManji), a musician/video creator who spreads his contents in all four platforms, said that he prefers Periscope, “Periscope is perceived as ‘lighter’ than other platforms. Also, you can click directly to whoever commented while you’re streaming. The title can be used as a description, and that’s a plus point.” Ario (@sheggario), a tech blogger/vlogger, preferred Instagram Live at the moment. “Twitter is too full of people; my stream can easily be overlooked. Facebook’s audience is too wide. I haven’t tried Youtube live, but I’m interested to do so,” Ario said, putting into account how Twitter users can follow more than hundreds of accounts.

Trying the features myself, I have to agree with Anji, I prefer Periscope. The main defining factor is how it can be shared easily: viewers can just retweet or quote the tweet containing the stream. Although Facebook has this feature as well, I treat my Twitter account as a publicly accessed account, while my Facebook account is “acquaintances only” zone. This means I can grow my Twitter followers indefinitely, while I choose my friends in Facebook more selectively. I joined Facebook a year prior to Twitter, but my Facebook friends stayed steady at 2,000, while my Twitter followers has reached 25,000.

Benazio, largely known as Benakribo, has tried the four platforms and agree that all of the platforms has its plus and minus. But ultimately, it comes to personal preference and follower base. “I prefer Instagram Live, mostly because I’m more active and I have more engagement there. Technically, Instagram’s quality is just OK, compared to Youtube where you can treat it professionally. But since it’s just a casual session, Instagram live already meet the needs.”

In Indonesia, 2016 was the year where live streaming apps rose. Names like Bigo Live, Balala Live, or Nono Live came to attention with their incentivized live stream scheme. But, it came with some weaknesses, such as the rise of inappropriate contents and the need to rebuild your follower base from zero. Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook have not been in the game of incentivizing live streams (Youtube has), and they might not do it in the near future, but live streaming is clearly going to be another big thing in a world that’s already driven by video contents.

For communications purpose, especially corporate or brand communications, the choice of live streaming platform will highly depend on the audience you want to tap into, because every platform has different characteristics. The important thing is to know your audience: where are they, and when will they watch your live session? Will they watch it directly, or wait for re-runs? Live streaming is a powerful tool, but only if you can use it well.

What do you think?