Getting Started with Social Media Streaming: What You Need to Know

Social media streaming has made the leap from novelty to necessity. Channels like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are racing to add live video to their platforms and brands are adjusting their social strategies accordingly.

Social Media Streaming is Taking Off

Audiences demand live video, and it’s easy to see why. Live video adds a human touch to posts that text and images can’t compete with. According to our survey, conducted with New York Magazine, 80% of respondents would rather watch live video from a brand than read a blog, and 82% prefer live video from a brand to social posts.

By livestreaming to channels like Periscope and Facebook Live, you’re creating eye-catching content that improves your positioning in both platforms’ algorithms. Social media streaming also gives you the opportunity to attract viewers and bring them back to your own website.

Sometimes maintaining a social media presence can feel a bit like spinning plates. With so many platforms competing for attention, it’s hard to focus your energy on just one. Many organizations struggle to give equal time to each platform.

It doesn’t have to be this way – streaming across social media platforms is easier than you think. We’ll also cover the where, why, and how to stream to social media and grow engagement for your organization.

How to Get Started with Social Media Streaming

The Destination: Facebook Live

Facebook revolutionized social media when it launched in 2006. Ten years later they launched Facebook Live, giving users the ability to stream live video directly to their Facebook pages. With over one billion users worldwide, it’s no surprise that publishers and brands have flocked to the popular platform.

Streaming to Facebook Live reaches your viewers where they already are. But like any social media platform, there are limitations that producers will need to consider. Streaming to Facebook Live should be part, but not all, of your live video strategy. Going live directly to Facebook is good for a short stream, but lacks the qualities and features of a professional livestream.

Combining Facebook Live with a dedicated live video solution, like Livestream, opens new possibilities for your content. Livestream’s live player embed lets you stream a portion of your live event to Facebook Live, before directing them back to your own properties. And with lead capture tools like forms, pay-per-view, and mid-roll ads, you can turn your live event into a source of revenue for your organization.

Facebook Live has made it easier than ever for their users to go live right away. But for larger organizations, you need a solution that empowers you to own your content and the way it’s distributed. Adding production value to your Facebook Live broadcast is a great way to attract an audience for your announcements or product launches.

How to Stream to Facebook Live

Anyone with an internet connection (or data plan, for mobile users) can stream to Facebook Live. The streaming platform was designed with the novice in mind, making it easy to stream directly to your profile or page.

If you’re streaming using a desktop computer, click the “live video” icon at the top of your newsfeed. A browser window will open up, activating your computer’s webcam. For mobile users, you can use the Facebook app. Simply tap the icon to update your status, and tap “Facebook Live.” Write a description for your video, set your audience (Public, Friends, etc.), and press “Go Live.”

If you’re looking to stream to Facebook and your website or app, or just want a more professional stream, Livestream is the only platform with built-in Facebook Live streaming tools. With Simulcast from Livestream, you can stream your content to Livestream and Facebook live at the same time. There’s no special code or configuration, just a simple on/off button in your settings.

The Destination: Periscope

In December 2016, Twitter integrated Periscope into their desktop and mobile sites. The up-to-the-minute algorithm of Twitter, plus Periscope’s ease of use, have made both platforms a destination for organizations of every kind.

How to Stream to Periscope

Users can stream directly to Periscope from a mobile device, or an encoder with Periscope Producer (beta), a test program designed for content creators and streamers.

Streaming to Periscope from a mobile device is simple: when you open the app, tap the “Broadcast” button and you’re live. Periscope released “Periscope Producer” in 2016, opening up their API to third-party streaming encoders. This release created new avenues for brands to stream to Periscope and, by extension, Twitter.

If you have access to Periscope Producer, you can easily stream from Livestream to Periscope or Twitter. Like streaming to Facebook Live, our Simulcast feature lets you easily add an RTMP link from Periscope to your Livestream account. This help center article has step-by-step instructions that will walk you through getting started. Once you’ve synced your Periscope and Livestream accounts, you can toggle streaming to Periscope on and off, and even stream to destinations Twitch and YouTube simultaneously.

The Destination: YouTube Live

Although it was the first to enter the online video space, YouTube has been playing catch-up with Facebook Live and Twitter’s Periscope. As of April 2017, verified content creators with over 1,000 subscribers can now livestream on YouTube.  

How to stream to YouTube

If you’re streaming to YouTube using a desktop computer, simply click on your profile picture from your YouTube account, followed by “Creator Studio Tools,” then “Live Streaming.” Once your channel is enabled, you have three options to launch your livestream: Stream now, Events, and Mobile. To “Stream now,” simply set up your stream by selecting YouTube as a provider and you’re good to go live. Streaming to YouTube via the “Events” dashboard is ideal if you prefer to announce a planned event before it goes live. There’s also the option to livestream via the YouTube mobile app but you must have over 100 subscribers on your channel.

If you’re a Premium or Enterprise Livestream customer and are looking for a more professional stream, you have the ability to push your stream from Livestream to YouTube directly through the “Stream now” option or the “Live Events” dashboard. Simply select YouTube under the simulcast tab in your Livestream account and sync the accounts. This help center article has step-by-step instructions to sync your YouTube and Livestream accounts.

Similar to simulcasting to Facebook Live and Periscope, all you need to do is log into your YouTube account and select your streaming destination. Once that’s set up, make sure the toggle switch for YouTube on your event page is set to “On.” Then go live to your event as you normally would through Livestream Producer or Livestream Studio and Livestream will automatically push the highest available quality from your encoder to YouTube, allowing your event to be viewed on both Livestream and YouTube simultaneously.

The Destination: Twitch

Since its acquisition by Amazon, in 2014, live gameplay platform Twitch has grown increasingly popular with users outside the video game community. Twitch’s integrated chat function is home to a sizable community of engaged viewers, and the average user spends up to 1.5 hours on the platform.

Content creators can access Twitch’s tip jar function, which allows viewers to virtually “tip” their favorite streamers. And popular accounts can earn capital based on their number of channel subscribers. Marketers are starting to pay attention, with brands like Old Spice and Jack’s Link streaming branded content to their Twitch channels.

How To Stream To Twitch

Twitch is a “hardware agnostic” platform, meaning you can stream to Twitch from your existing workflow, or with one of their recommended broadcasting apps. Like Facebook Live and Periscope, Twitch has a mobile app that lets you go live from your iOS or Android device.

Twitch’s interface also makes it easy to find the information you need to stream from a third-party encoder. Your Livestream account already has this functionality. Similar to streaming to Periscope, you can add Twitch’s RTMP URL to your settings and set Twitch as a streaming destination. And because Simulcast lets you stream to multiple platforms at once, you can stream to Twitch, Periscope, and other RTMP destinations from within your Livestream event.

Choosing the Right Destination

When you first begin to experiment with social media streaming, remember to take things one step at a time. It’s better to channel your efforts into one great live event than a handful of hard-to-manage, simultaneous video posts. You also want to make sure you have someone designated to manage and respond to comments or take questions on each channel.

Depending on your audience, they might prefer one platform over another, or have a presence on many places at once. After you become more familiar with social media streaming, it’ll be easy to expand your strategy to include these other destinations.

Diversifying is a great way to reach viewers on multiple channels – your strategy should accommodate those viewers. With tools like Simulcast from Livestream, it’s easy to branch out and take your live video strategy to new heights.

Ready to start reaching your audience on social media? Download our Facebook Live Guide for interesting use cases, workflow suggestions, strategy tips, and more.

[Download the Guide]

Using an eCDN for Corporate Communications

Imagine delivering a flawless, broadcast-quality live video message from your executive team, or a live training event, to all of your employees, on any device, wherever they are, without clogging your network bandwidth. Can your corporate network support live events for large audiences without creating a bandwidth bottleneck or crashing? This is something organizations must find solutions for when planning internal live broadcasts to ensure high-quality streaming for no-fail events.

Livestream’s new Peer-to-Peer Enterprise Content Delivery Network (eCDN) solves for these issues by supporting an HD-quality seamless live viewing experience while minimizing the stress on your corporate network, reducing bandwidth consumption and cost, and maintaining privacy and security regulations.

Livestream’s eCDN for corporate communications empowers IT and communications teams to deliver a flawless streaming video event, without risking network health or compromising critical business functions.

What is eCDN?

An eCDN is an enterprise content delivery network, which is one way for companies to distribute content within their corporate network, creating a safety net for their internal bandwidth pipe.

A peer-to-peer eCDN helps to avoid network bottlenecks that occur when a large number of concurrent viewers in one office are watching the same content, such as a live broadcast. Instead of individual employee devices all pinging a single server to access a stream, a P2P eCDN reduces the amount of bandwidth needed coming from the external server. Instead, Livestream’s eCDN uses the bandwidth inside the company, redistributing the requests to devices within the LAN, improving stream quality and reducing the bandwidth load on a company’s internal network.

How Video Is Driving Corporate Communications Trends

Video is the fastest and easiest way to learn and retain information. Streaming your internal and all hands meetings has become de rigueur at large companies, but these in-demand, data-heavy streams can have massive network implications.

Today video is being used in organizations for a variety of purposes:
• Employee training and product demos
• All hands or town halls
• Internal HR events and panels

Streaming company-wide meetings is an effective way to keep employees engaged. According to Entrepreneur Magazine, engaged employees report 31% higher productivity and 37% higher sales. Conversely, the Dale Carnegie Institute reports that businesses with disengaged employees lose $11b annually.

This engagement data is driving demand for access to video in the workplace: according to Cisco, global business IP traffic is set to grow 21% from 2015 to 2021, which will require updated infrastructure to handle the load.

To avoid additional expenses or potential network failures, many corporations are considering eCDNs to meet these new challenges.

Traditional content delivery vs. Livestream’s eCDN for corporate communications

In a traditional content delivery setup, viewers connect to a server to obtain the streaming video they have requested. This server can either be inside the company or external – an example would be video content cached and delivered from a Cloud provider. Both of these setups have their limitations.

If everyone in the company tries to connect to a single server at the headquarters, the connections will quickly become saturated and the server will likely crash as it was not meant to handle thousands of simultaneous requests for data-heavy video.

If the server is in the cloud, companies often have significant limitations when it comes to connecting to the internet. They generally have a fixed capacity when it comes to external bandwidth, and networks are often not dimensioned for a massive amount of data requests from outside their network. Firewalls can further delay external calls, creating huge bottlenecks.

This makes streaming live video within the enterprise network very difficult. There are several means of mitigating this problem, and these solutions are collectively known as “eCDN.”

Solution 1: Install caching servers within the company network at each site.

Installing caching servers allows you to place a copy of the video close to your viewers to avoid the congestion of large numbers of requests to a single server. The challenge is this solution requires both significant CAPEX (cash) and OPEX (operating expenses). Servers are expensive, and installing and maintaining them requires significant expertise and dedicated personnel. In addition to regular maintenance, you’ll also need a dedicated IT team at each site to maintain servers to guarantee no-fail live streams.

Solution 2: Use an internal multicasting tool.

A multicasting tool broadcasts content en masse to every computer on the network. This requires specific equipment that supports multicast, and may also necessitate changing workstation software to be able to support multicast streams. This is not the “typical” streaming setup so it can require additional configuration in addition to this CAPEX.

Solution 3: Legacy P2P solutions.

Peer-to-peer within company networks has existed for many years. The principle of P2P is to use the abundant bandwidth within the enterprise network. However, the solutions on the market have had several major drawbacks: at the very least they have required users to install a plugin in their browsers or an app. Some providers even require companies to change their entire video stack and use a special, non-standard streaming protocol.

Solution 4: Livestream’s peer-to-peer based eCDN

Our eCDN distributes the stream with peer-to-peer networking, harnessing idle internal network bandwidth to more effectively distribute the stream. With Livestream, employees connect to the stream as they would in a typical video streaming setup. However, instead of getting the entire video directly from the server, their video player will also ask for segments of content from nearby co-workers viewing devices. This more efficiently distributes bandwidth requirements within your network, eliminating the risk of bottlenecks to the server, slow connections, and poor video quality.

Benefits of Livestream’s eCDN for Corporate Communications

Livestream’s peer-to-peer eCDN shares video across your intranet, utilizing a fraction of the bandwidth necessary from external servers. This allows you to stream high-quality video without interruption, without impacting your bandwidth or internal network.

Lower network costs
With our cloud-based eCDN, you’re not paying for higher capacity networks or any additional hardware.
Ease of use for employees
Using our eCDN does not require viewers to download additional plugins or software. They can still view your streaming video anywhere you would normally display that content. Additionally, since our eCDN is cloud-based, there is no installation cost or time spent.
Better quality streaming at scale
Viewers across the corporate network will experience better video quality and less buffering from using an eCDN.
7-day US-based support
Livestream Enterprise support experts are just a phone call away, any day of the week.

How eCDN works with your existing Livestream account

Many eCDNs work with desktop plug-ins or costly additional hardware or software. Unlike other peer-based eCDN solutions, Livestream requires no installation on workstations and no changes to your video workflow configuration. We use standard HTTP streaming formats and offer plug-and-play integrations for desktop.

Our technology is based on WebRTC, meaning connections are made directly through the browser and there is no workstation software to install, and no browser extensions or plugins for users to manage.

Livestream’s eCDN can be activated one time by your account manager and then can be toggled on and off within your Livestream dashboard to use as you see fit. There is no work or downloads required by the end user, and no additional hardware to purchase.

How do we set up your eCDN?
• First, we test the webRTC connections inside your network.
• Your account manager enables eCDN on your Livestream account and tests different devices on the same network. If you have multiple sites, we will test each site.
• Finally, Livestream will organize a global test with the company users and a test live video. After this, your eCDN is ready to stream.

Want to learn more? Existing Livestream customers can contact their Account Manager, or visit this page and complete a Custom request form