How Associations Can Use Video Streaming To Provide More Value and Increase Engagement

Videos have become a largely effective tool for generating engagement on social media platforms. YouTube is churning out tens of millions of views and a new viral video every day and it’s been proven that Twitter and Facebook posts with videos get more engagement than those that don’t on average. So videos are great, but people are always looking for the next big thing, and video streaming might just be it. This mode of online networking has exploded in popularity recently and changed the way people are communicating through their computer and mobile devices.

If you’re unfamiliar with video streaming services, they are online applications that allow users to connect with people or events in real time through live video. For example, Skype is one of the most well-established video streaming services that allows users to have a conversation using video via their computers or mobile devices. Since video streaming has taken the social media world by storm in the last year or so, we’ve taken a look at three of the most popular services and how associations can use them to increase their value and engage with members.

Periscope and Meerkat

How It Works

Both apps allow users to live stream video through their mobile devices so their Twitter or Facebook audience can see what they are recording in real time. In the words of Periscope’s website, the company wants people to be able to “…(discover) the world through someone else’s eyes.”

What It Means For Associations

There is a world of possibilities open to associations through the use of Periscope and Meerkat. The most obvious application for associations is the ability to live stream conferences, networking events or other big get-togethers and educational offerings. However, these events are a big source of non-dues revenue that members pay big money to in order to get exclusive content or access, so providing it all for free might ruffle some feathers. It may be wise to stick to live streaming certain portions of these events, such as the opening ceremonies, award ceremonies or the entertainment on party nights.

Another way associations can use Periscope or Meerkat is to connect members and others in the industry to information that makes the association valuable. For example, a live stream of a big announcement can turn a simple press release into a virtual news conference. The live streaming services can also be used to help members “attend” the Annual General Meeting or get an inside look at a committee meeting.

Blab

How It Works

Blab is like Skype on steroids. Or maybe it’s like a Twitter chat on steroids. Actually, it’s a bit of both. The live video app allows users to sign in with their Twitter credentials and have a video chat with participants. While the video portion only allows for four people to talk at one time (which are chosen by the moderator), there is a live-chat portion that allows for questions, comments and feedback to be posted by others.

What It Means For Associations

Blab has the potential to be the next step in the evolution of Twitter chats. We’ve covered how these online, real time chats can be used by associations, but Blab takes it to the next level. With video, participants don’t need to limit their character count to 140 and can make a more in-depth point on a topic. The app’s popularity rating element, wherein participants in the conversation can give “feels” (a virtual thumbs up if you will) to the video participant they feel is making the best points or has the best content, is a great way for associations to connect eager members to a source of all-important networking. It rewards members who participate, have something good to say and it gives more exposure to their awesome point of view.

Blab is also a great way to have a virtual round table discussion. Round tables are a mainstay on conference programs, but Blab gives associations an option of hosting multiple round table discussions between the large annual events. The added benefit of Blab is that a round table on the app would take the average, in-person round table that is only passive for attendees and turn it into a huge opportunity for engagement. Instead of simply sitting and listening to four people speak, participants can ask questions, provide instant feedback and rate the participants.

Google Hangouts

How It Works

Google Hangouts was one of the first services to break onto the video streaming scene. It allows for live chats using video and typed text for up to 10 people. Users can connect using their computer or mobile device through their Google accounts (Gmail, Google+, etc).

What It Means For Associations

The most useful way associations can use Google Hangouts is to replace smaller seminar sessions or webinars. Many associations plan educational offerings throughout the year to connect members with information on topics that will help them progress in their career or industry. Google Hangouts allows associations to avoid the overhead expenses associated with these seminars, such as renting a meeting space and providing meals to attendees. Recruiting a speaker to give a Google Hangout talk on an important subject is a great way to provide education and generate some non-dues revenue.

Another way associations can use Google Hangouts is to coordinate volunteers. Managing volunteers is especially hard for those organizations that cover a larger geographical area. Google Hangouts allows for the volunteers to connect with one another and talk about their contributions to the association in real time while providing that all-important networking element. This works particularly well if your association is trying to explain visual elements to volunteers, such as where they need to be during an event or what the new website layout looks like so they can give feedback, comments or ideas.

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