Periscope vs Facebook Live: a comparison

As Periscope or Facebook Live become more dominant in live streaming, it’s sometimes hard to know which to use.  Tap into your Twitter audience with Periscope, or just broadcast to your Facebook audience?

During two recent events in Bradford we used both Periscope and Facebook Live at the same time. This helped us reach different audiences, and was a good opportunity to directly compare the two platforms. Here’s what happened and what I have concluded from the experiments.

The Queen’s 90th birthday celebration event in Bradford

Periscope

Duration: 15:20

Live viewers: 183

Replay viewers: 106

Offensive comments: 4

Facebook Live

Duration: 33:00

Total views: 2,600

Reach: 6,046

Maximum concurrent viewers: 12*

Vigil for the victims of the Orlando shooting

Periscope

Duration: 48:50

Live viewers: 641

Replay viewers: 233

Offensive comments: 12

Facebook Live

Duration: 48:00

Total views: 2,100

Reach: 15,400

Maximum concurrent viewers: 15*

Conclusions

Reach

With my two experiments I found that Periscope (linked with Twitter) was particularly good at reaching an audience specfic for an event, sometimes people in different parts of the world who had no prior relationship with our accounts.  Whereas Facebook Live is good at reaching a large number of people in an existing audience and their friends.

Continue reading Periscope vs Facebook Live: a comparison

My shortlisted video in the Comms2point0 #UnAwards15

I nearly changed my mind and didn’t enter the 2015 UnAwards. More on why later. I did enter in the end, and I’m glad I did so. I submitted my after-school cooking club video, which got shortlisted in the ‘best use of video’ category.

The video took just 24 hours to make. I shot it on my iPhone (using a RØDE SmartLav+ microphone for the interviews) and edited it the next day using iMovie on an iPad. While I have included the YouTube version in this blog, I made the video primarily for Bradford Council’s Facebook audience, which includes a lot of parents of school age children. The success of the video on Facebook was the main reason I chose to submit it for the UnAwards.

I have written before on this blog about video and how important it has become as a communications channel. I have also written for comms2point0 about how there is far more to video now then simply YouTube. If you want to make better videos, I can highly recommend the comms2point0 video skills workshops. My after-school cooking club video wouldn’t have been as good had I not attended one of the sessions.

Being shortlisted in the UnAwards was a nice pat on the back, and I’m glad it gave me the opportunity to look back at my work. There were some terrific videos shortlisted, and it’s good to see such creative work happening in the public sector.

The reason I had a swerve and nearly didn’t enter the UnAwards was evaluation. I need to be better at it. I produce a lot of content I am proud of, and frequently succeed in engaging residents. But I need to get better at measuring the value of my work and illustrating how my work helps Bradford Council achieve outcomes. Continue reading My shortlisted video in the Comms2point0 #UnAwards15

Video subtitles are essential, not just an optional extra

We all know how video is taking over the Internet, and this is opening up lots of exciting possibilities. But sadly, closed captions (or subtitles) are often thought of as an optional extra, if they are thought of at all. The truth is very different.  Unless your video makes perfect sense without sound, you really must add captions.

Think of a deaf person, or someone without a working soundcard, or someone looking at their phone on a noisy bus. Adding captions instantly makes your videos more accessible to more people. And those people will thank you for it. In fact, if you work in the public sector, it is illegal to make services online inaccessible to disabled users..

How to add subtitles on YouTube and Facebook

There are several ways to add subtitles to a YouTube video. The most fiddly, but the way I recommend, is to create and upload an SRT file.  I say “fiddly”, but it is not difficult, and is worth the effort. You can make an SRT file using a text editor like Notepad.

If you have the patience to do it this way you will actually be saving time, because you can then reuse the same subtitles file elsewhere, such as for Facebook video captions. By the way, you are publishing your videos directly to Facebook as well as YouTube, aren’t you?

If you don’t add your own captions to YouTube, they have software that “listens” to the audio and this makes a pretty good attempt at adding captions to your videos.  But these automatic captions are nearly always littered with errors. Not only is this a problem for people who rely on captions, but inaccurate subtitles will also make you look unprofessional, or even a little foolish. For example, count the errors on this by Nestlé:

Going back to our friend sat on a noisy bus, Facebook has clearly given this person some thought too.  If you are using Facebook’s mobile app and a native video crops up in your newsfeed, subtitles will automatically be shown. That’s a simple, yet very smart move by Facebook.

Continue reading Video subtitles are essential, not just an optional extra

Periscope and the rise of live streaming

Live streaming isn’t new, but since the launch of Meerkat and then Periscope it has suddenly become the big talking point in social media.

I’ve had the Periscope app for about a week. It is far from perfect, and I’m sure there will be several iterations over the coming months.

Think twice before live streaming

Periscope’s simple point-and-stream interface partly explains why live streaming has suddenly taken off.  However, if we are going to live stream more, we need to be a little more circumspect about when we do so. Particularly as Periscope sends an alert any time someone you follow starts a new live stream.

I was never that bothered about seeing a photo of your meal. I certainly don’t want to watch you eating it.

I haven’t broadcast anything on Periscope yet. Being able to do a thing doesn’t automatically make that thing interesting.

Then there are the ethics of when to live stream, and whether we should be watching. There are times when logic and compassion should override the individual’s desire for a dopamine rush.

The vertical vice

Periscope currently only works in portrait mode. Until recently I felt strongly that shooting vertical video was a heinous act. Our eyes are side by side and we see the world in landscape. TV and film is always widescreen, so our own videos should be too. However, I am softening my stance on this.

Continue reading Periscope and the rise of live streaming

Facebook video – enjoy it while you can

We have all seen organic reach falling on Facebook, but I’ve had remarkable success with Facebook videos recently.

This video of Victorian tunnels in Bradford reached over 50,000 people, being shared 300+ times, within its first five days:

That video didn’t take long to put together. I filmed it on an iPhone and edited it on an iPad. It was online within a couple of hours of me donning a hard hat to enter the tunnels.

To put the 50,000+ reach of that video into some sort of context, Bradford Council’s Facebook page has fewer than 2,000 likes, and other recent posts have an average reach of just a few hundred people. The tunnels video has been by far the most successful Facebook post Bradford Council has ever published.

But even before that freakish success, I had observed a trend, with videos on our Facebook page outperforming other post types:

Another recent video that did well was one announcing the sudden closure of one of our customer service centres due to wind damage. It was a far from brilliant video, but that didn’t matter. It seems that using Facebook video for news items is working well.

Continue reading Facebook video – enjoy it while you can

Vine and Instagram videos in local government

I had wanted to experiment with Vine and Instagram videos for a while. I wanted to see if they could be an effective way of engaging people with local government and promoting council services. The need to promote the Bradford Council app was an ideal time to try.

I chose to highlight just one feature of the app – the alert which reminds people of their bin collections. It only takes a few seconds to say how the app can help people remember their bin day, so short form videos seemed a good option. Here are our two creations, first on Instagram and then on Vine:

Never forget your bin day – download the Bradford Council app. #localgov #app

A post shared by Bradford Council (@bradfordmdc) on

Although Bradford Council doesn’t currently have many followers on Vine or Instagram, my hope is that people will appreciate these videos and will share them via Twitter and Facebook respectively, where we have a greater chance of reaching our customers. Continue reading Vine and Instagram videos in local government

Videos to help with Council benefits

Customers who receive Bradford Council benefits often contact us with questions about notification letters. As well as FAQs (which included both text and images), this year we have also made two videos.

These videos replicate, as far as possible, the experience of a customer service advisor talking through a benefit notification.

I wrote the scripts together with face-to-face staff, who knew the types of queries they got and how best to answer them. While writing the scripts, a colleague showed me an online video bill for her digital TV subscription. This both confirmed that we were onto a good idea, and also amazed me.

Continue reading Videos to help with Council benefits