Countless people are using the quarantine to pick up hobbies that they always wanted to try or to master the skills they always wanted to learn. If you have something to offer and knowledge to share, now is a great time to do it, because people are looking for interesting and informative online classes and streams.
So today, we bring you the reasons why you should try streaming, how you can do it and where.
Why should you try streaming?
If you think people were using the internet a ton before the quarantine, wait till you see the current stats on internet use. The internet providers Vodafone and TalkTalk, experienced a 30% and 20% rise in internet traffic, respectively. Vodafone even reported a data traffic increase by 50% in some countries.
In Seattle, the internet traffic went up about 40%; in South Korea, online gaming had a 30% increase; Italy had an internet traffic increase of nearly 70%, with France at 30%. The strain on the internet is so big that, in order to help networks, Netflix has made the decision to reduce the quality of their content.
People are staying home, playing more video games and consuming all sorts of content, mostly shows, movies and streams.
The streams aren’t only entertainment related – people are also watching educational streams of people giving online classes and tips related to their area of expertise. So, if you have something to offer, why not do it?
Where can you stream?
Stream services are numerous: there’s Facebook Live, Instagram Live Video, YouTube Live, Vimeo Live, Twitch, Mixer and many more. They’re used for different things and feature different types of content.
In order to help you figure out where you should stream your content, let’s look at what each of them entails.
1. Facebook Live
If you’ve built a following on Facebook, this platform is great for streaming. People use it all the time because it’s convenient and supports both desktop and mobile streaming. Additionally, it notifies followers before the beginning of the event.
It’s great for building your brand and communicating with your audience since you can read their comments, talk to them, and answer their questions.
People use Facebook Live for almost anything: they do Q&A streams, little performances, behind the scenes videos, they stream events, themselves cooking, doing makeup, basically anything.
At the end of the broadcast, you can choose to post the video, so everyone who has missed out on it can watch it. There’s also Facebook Analytics, that will show you how your video did, how many people watched it, and engagements and impressions.
2. Instagram Live
Here’s another free streaming service you can use.
Instagram Live was introduced in 2016 and it was an immediate hit. It enables brands to promote their products, inform people about limited-time special offers, generate leads, and build their brands.
Just like Facebook Live, it lets you communicate with your followers and save your video to Instagram Stories.
Unfortunately, there is a length limit of only one hour, so if you’re planning to use it for streaming, make sure to come up with a plan of your stream in advance, so you don’t end up wasting your time. It will also be available for only 24 hours unless you remember to save a replay.
Similarly to Facebook, people use this service for streaming all sorts of content: behind the scenes and event videos, Q&A streams, musical performances, and just chatting with people in general.
If you have a big following on Instagram, this feature is something you should definitely try.
How to stream over instagram live? <- Check here
3. YouTube Live
YouTube has 2 billion users worldwide and it is the second most popular social media platform, right after Facebook. Every day, people watch 1 billion hours of YouTube videos, and that number has only increased since the quarantine started.
You can find all sorts of streams on YouTube: sports, music, gaming and news. But the one bad thing about it is the fact it has so many users, so it’s really hard if you’re starting off with it now and you have to be verified in order to stream.
However, if you’ve used YouTube for making videos before and linked them on your social media, which caused a number of people to subscribe to you, it’s a great streaming service.
Benefits of YouTube Live include continuous streaming for up to 36 hours and streaming in 4K. It also has a livechat, so you can see people leaving comments as you’re streaming.
People stream anything on YouTube Live: exercise routines and tips for healthy eating, games, news, drawing and painting streams, and you can even find documentaries and entire music performances.
Before you start streaming, make sure to download OBS, or Open Broadcaster Software, which is a program that allows you to capture your screen and also record your audio.
If you’ve never used anything like it before, there’s a ton of tutorials on the internet, and what’s a better time to learn than now.
Aside from OBS, other streaming programs include XSplit and Streamlabs. However, OBS remains the best option, the majority of streamers use it and it was even endorsed by Twitch.
Twitch is a streaming platform where you will find mostly video game streams, mostly of people playing competitively. However, there are many streams where people just talk to their subscribers and play relaxing games.
Digging a bit more, I found streams of people eating, playing music, working, and just talking, with no games.
Twitch is used now more than ever, with over 1.9 million viewers as I speak and 72.000 active channels. Setting up for Twitch streaming isn’t as easy as it is for Facebook and Instagram Live, and it will require you to install OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) and learn how to use it, but trust me, it really isn’t hard to learn.
After you figure out your audio and video, plan out your stream and post about it on social media to let people know it will be happening. People can then follow your Twitch channel and choose to get notified each time you’re about to start streaming.
Mixer is yet another streaming platform, initially launched in 2016 as Beam, but renamed to Mixer in 2017, after Microsoft acquired it.
While Mixer has mostly gaming content as well, you can find other types of streams: there’s a whole category called radio where you can tune into streams that feature dozens of music genres, and there’s a web show category, where people talk and interact with their followers (I even saw a stream where the person left to work and left the stream open so people could look at their cats).
Mixer is still relatively new and not as saturated as Twitch, so now is the time to start a Mixer channel and get a following.
Before you start streaming
Now that you’ve chosen your streaming platform, it is time to prepare for your stream.
Just because you’re streaming doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prepare and it is crucial that you make a plan of what you’re going to stream, especially if you want to do an online class.
If you’re just planning to chat to your followers, a plan might not be necessary, but it would be useful if you had bullet points for when the conversation stops and you want to avoid long awkward silences.
Learn how to use OBS and set it up before you start the stream. Test your audio and video settings as well, because it is highly unprofessional when the person you’re watching cannot figure out their audio for half an hour.
The benefits of streaming
We already mentioned that people use streaming features and platforms to interact with their followers, build their brands and show people that there is a person behind the brand name.
If you decide to start streaming, it could be difficult in the beginning, but it largely pays off in the long run. By streaming, you’re showing people that you’re knowledgeable about your area of expertise and that you’re willing to share that knowledge with other people and help them out.
You’re also showing that you know them and that you know what kind of content they want to see.
People are using the internet now more than ever. We’ve forced to stay at home to slow down the further spreading of the Coronavirus, and we have more free time than ever.
People are using their time in quarantine to play more video games, learn new skills, and pick up new hobbies, all with the help of the internet. If you are knowledgeable about your field and think that someone out there might find your knowledge useful, consider streaming on one of the 5 major platforms: Facebook Live, Instagram Live, Twitch, Mixer, and YouTube.
Who knows, you might end up making a ton of friends and providing entertainment and educational content for people who need it and aren’t doing so well.
Good luck on your streaming journey and thank you for reading!