As we proceed into the new year, there are social trends that everyone is buzzing about and looking forward to optimizing with their clients, brands, or personal accounts. With the launch of Periscope and Meerkat in March of 2015, Facebook was patiently waiting to make its move with its very own livestreaming app called Facebook Mentions, also largely known as Facebook Live.

Like Periscope and Meerkat, Facebook Live brings its own personal touches to the table to make it stand out.

The app soft launched in late 2015 to a discrete pool of personal profiles (aka celebrities), then slowly rolled out to all verified Facebook accounts and profiles right before the new year. So what exactly is all the hype? Shouldn’t social users be able to get the same type of experience from the already tested and enhanced Periscope and Meerkat apps? The answer is well…sort of.

Like Periscope and Meerkat, Facebook Live brings its own personal touches to the table, making this Facebook Mentions app stand out. As a user, it can sometimes come down to the one you personally prefer.

Facebook Live

Facebook Live, Periscope and Meerkat (from left to right)

The auto-play capability of Facebook Live is one feature that makes this app stand out amongst its competitors. Like videos that automatically play as you scroll through them on your news feed, livestreamed videos will start playing as soon as you see them. One of the main differences is that they can portray something that is happening in the moment, rather than a video that was filmed in the “past.”

Also, once you are done broadcasting, your video doesn’t disappear. Videos are immediately deleted on Meerkat, and only live for 24 hours on Periscope (unless saved to your camera roll).

Another feature that many small businesses and brands have been craving is the capability of audience targeting, giving brands deeper access to their audiences and meeting them where they already are – within an instant moment of time.

The app is also oriented around interacting with page followers, rather than your Facebook friends. There is a “Newsfeed” view that shows updates from pages and other verified people you may follow, but the bulk of the app is how it handles talking with people that aren’t your friends.

With livestreaming becoming a leader among the social trends of 2016, users are excited about what Facebook Live has to offer. But for now, below is what you need to know ­– in case you haven’t joined in on the livestream bandwagon yet.

Kaitlin_Shea_Facebook_live_2

Newsroom.fb.com

 The Goal

To give individuals and companies a new way to market themselves and appeal to an audience that may want to watch them “in the now.”

The How

At the end of the day, users want immediacy and Facebook Live does just that.

When you log into the app for the first time, Facebook Mentions provides you with recommendations on who to follow (celebrities, brands, etc.) so that your news feed isn’t empty.

The mentions tab can aggregate mentions of you on Facebook, including any articles about you and things that you may have written – which may or may not pertain to the average user.

The notifications tab functions exactly how you would expect.

The post button within the app offers numerous options. You can post a status update, include a photo and video like normal, and then you also have the live video capabilities and a Q&A format. The Q&A capability allows you to ask your friends or fans to send in questions, and the app will sort them into a seamless reply-and-answer format.

However, the live video feature is (in my social team’s persona opinion) the most interesting part of the app. You have the ability to jump on a livestream with everyone that follows you within a matter of seconds, and your fans/friends are then notified that you are creating a broadcast.

Once your livestreaming commences, your fans/friends are able to interact and comment. The only thing missing is Periscope’s charming hearts…sigh.

Then, at the end of your broadcast, you will receive a summary of how the stream performed, while the comments remain on the video post itself.

The So What

At the end of the day, users want immediacy and Facebook Live does just that. Many are debating if Facebook Live will end up “replacing” apps like Periscope and Meerkat, but we believe that this app will only up the visibility of livestreaming as a social communication tool.

Only time can tell which app will truly make it to the top of social media trends by the end of the year, but one thing is for sure – livestreaming is here to stay and will only continue to grow.

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