University Business May 2017 - 22

INTERNET TECHNOLOGY

Live, from social media
Streaming video over social platforms makes viewers part of the action
By Karine Joly

T

he interest in live videos across
social media platforms has
accelerated over the past few
months with a series of developments
that bring high-quality video broadcasting to the masses. Instagram launched
live video in Instagram Stories, an
upgrade to the ephemeral format it
borrowed from Snapchat. Periscope's
live capabilities have been integrated
into the Twitter mobile app, while the
recently launched Periscope Producer
Live API enables use of professional
equipment in livestreaming on Twitter.
Facebook has also introduced new options to stream from the desktop as well
as the ability to live-stream "Facebook
360" immersive videos.
In higher education, livestreaming
isn't anything new. From commencement ceremonies to sports or lecture
series, many institutions have been
livestreaming events for some time.
What's new, however, is the extra
push the Facebook algorithm gives live
videos in its news feed. The algorithm
was updated to make sure Facebook
Live videos appear higher in the feed
when they are live, resulting in increased reach.
Matt Hames, marketing communications strategist at Colgate University
in New York, witnessed the impact of
this update when his school streamed
former Vice President Joe Biden's guest
lecture on March 24. The 100-minute
live video (UBmag.me/jbcu) reached
close to 600,000 people on Facebook
and resulted in more than 26,000 views

UBmag.me/live

22 | May 2017

and 3,500 reactions, comments and
shares. While the featured speaker definitely played a huge part in the success
of this video, the network effect made it
a blockbuster.

What makes social live
videos such potential hits is
the opportunity they offer
for real-time interactions.
Just like being there
What makes live social media videos
such potential hits is the opportunity
they offer for real-time interactions.
Whether viewers send hearts and
likes-or post comments and questions
for the people on camera-a live video
lets people feel like they're part of the
action. "Even if there's not someone
to interact with directly, you can still
get some great comments and engagement using livestreaming," says Tiffany
Broadbent, director of digital marketing
for university advancement at The College of William & Mary in Virginia.
With the right combination of audience interest and events, live social
media videos can get surprising results.
At William & Mary, the most successful Facebook live video so far has
been of the annual Yule Log Celebration (http://UBmag.me/wmyl). This
90-minute livestream resulted in close
to 19,000 views and more than 1,300
engagement touch points. Livestreaming a campus tradition is a safe bet on
social media because it can resonate
with different groups of constituents:
alums, current students, families and
even prospective students.
But beyond the algorithm effect and
the increased social interactions, live

social media videos can also provide
greater reach to remote target audiences. At Cape Breton University in
the Canadian Maritime province of
Nova Scotia, the admissions office
hosted its first Facebook Live for prospective students in February 2017.
"We used it to address a larger problem that was happening at the time-a
labor disruption in the Nova Scotia
Teachers' Union," says Paige Westbury,
the university's social media and digital
content specialist. Since the usual inschool presentations and recruitment
sessions couldn't take place, the office
decided to experiment with Facebook
Live. The 24-minute video (UBmag.
me/cbu) featuring two enrollment professionals was viewed more than 1,300
times and addressed admissions questions from the live audience.
Not for everyone
While live social media video holds a lot
of potential for higher education, not
everyone is a convert. At West Virginia
University, which has made brief, wellproduced videos key to its social media
content strategy, livestreaming hasn't
been used. "We will almost always lean
on an after-event video because we like
the idea of a shorter and better-edited
video than a livestream," says Tony
Dobies, director of social media.
It may be too early to say live social
media videos will make a difference for
your school, but it's definitely the right
time to experiment with the format.
Karine Joly is the web editor behind www.
collegewebeditor.com, a blog about higher
ed web marketing, public relations and
technologies. She is also the founder of
www.higheredexperts.com.
www.universitybusiness.com


http://www.UBmag.me/wmyl http://www.UBmag.me/jbcu http://www.collegewebeditor.com http://www.UBmag.me/live http://www.higheredexperts.com http://www.universitybusiness.com

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