Ultimate Guide to Social Media: Webcasting Sites

Web streaming seems to be everywhere these days—from subscription video sites like Netflix and Hulu to social media platforms like Spotify and Pandora, entertainment is largely being shaped by webcasting. However, it’s not just businesses in the entertainment industry that can directly benefit from this technology. For years, those in the B2B world have used livecasting to host virtual meetings, conferences, trainings, and webinars. Those in the B2C sector can also use webcasting to attract more customers—the key is being creative and determining what kind of video content will appeal to your target audience.

What Webcasting Is All About

Webcasting refers to a visual or audio presentation that can be shared with many listeners and viewers simultaneously through streaming technology. In essence, it’s TV and radio that can be accessed online. Many major TV networks now make their programs available to watch online after they air on TV, and some (like HBO) will “simulcast” their shows on TV and online for their paying subscribers. Most major radio stations also offer online streaming, and on-demand music apps like Spotify allow users to browse through a large library to decide what to listen to.

While webcasting is most well-known for its role in today’s entertainment industry, it has also become a powerful tool for businesses. In addition to allowing businesses to share videos and live streams with telecommuting employees, it can also become a social marketing tool. Webcasting sites allow businesses to share video or audio content with potential clients or customers, giving the company a human face or voice while increasing their brand’s visibility as a result.

How Can Businesses Benefit from Webcasting?

Perhaps one of the most obvious applications for webcasting is the webinar. Many people in the business should already be familiar with these videos, which are used to educate an online audience using a visual presentation. Typically, webinars can be live streamed as they are filmed, or viewed at a later date. Businesses that want to host a webinar should be sure to advertise the event thoroughly ahead of time using emails, press releases, newsletters, social media updates, and their blogs. After the live stream, they should embed the video on their site so those who missed the live event will still be able to watch it.

The primary advantage of the webinar is that it allows you to establish your authority on a topic within your industry. Building up this kind of authority will make you a more trusted brand name and will place you in front of a larger online audience. By making it easy for viewers to share your webinar through social media, you can expand your reach even farther.

Webcasting does not need to be limited to webinars, of course. You may consider using streaming technology to host live events like panel discussions or even a behind-the-scenes look at your office. Whatever kind of webcasting event you decide on, give viewers the opportunity to interact through comments, questions, and shares.

Examples of Sites in This Category

Airtime brands itself as “the platform for great video conversation.” The site allows users to post videos and respond in real time, and it also has a random chat video service designed to connect users based on common interests. While the random nature of the site may not make it the most ideal platform for every business, creative entrepreneurs might be able to come up with a way to use the “shared interests” component to discover a new audience for their products.

Justin.tv started as the individual project of Justin Kan, a young man who decided to wear a camera on his baseball cap and stream a continuous live video of his life. Since its humble origins in 2007, the site has expanded to become a platform for thousands of broadcasters to live stream events in a number of different categories, including Entertainment, News, Sports, and Social. Justin.tv now boasts more than 300 million live streams available in 250 countries.

Livestream allows users to broadcast video content to an online audience of more than 30 million. The site has become a popular outlet for major concerts as well as sports, conferences, and even local news. It’s also the official live streaming site for Facebook’s headquarters in Palo Alto. While individuals can broadcast content on the site for free, many businesses choose paid plans that give them an unlimited event archive, greater support, and exposure to a larger audience.

Qik sets itself apart from other live streaming sites with its ease-of-use. They offer instant video sharing directly from the camera on your mobile phone, and uploaded videos can either be shared privately with family and friends or posted on social media networks. The platform’s casual nature might not make it suited for most business’s needs, but it can be a good tool for companies to quickly share content on Facebook or Twitter.

Ustream offers live HD broadcasting, free streaming software, and the ability to share live videos directly from your company’s website. The site allows viewers to chat with broadcasters in real time and has become particularly popular in the political, entertainment, and technology industries. While businesses can choose to use Ustream’s free service, they can also upgrade to a paid service which is ad-free and works on a per-viewer basis.

VOKLE allows speakers to host virtual presentations complete with a question and answer segment. Broadcasters can take live video calls and text questions from their audience, a feature that gives business owners the opportunity to directly interact with their customers and add a face to their brand.  VOKLE makes lengthy videos easy to share by dividing them into chapters based on questions and topics. Users can choose to share entire videos that they’ve enjoyed or post specific chapters on Facebook or Twitter.

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