The Future of Social Media: Instagram Introduce Live Video

On 17 January 2017, Instagram joined Facebook in introducing live video where users can interactively engage with their friends, family and followers through a live stream. Twitter was the first amongst its rivals to adopt live streaming with Meerkat and more successfully with Periscope but is now facing heavy competition from Facebook and Instagram.

What is Instagram?

Instagram is a social networking application used to share images and video content with followers from around the world. All users have a personal profile and news feed where they are able to see regular updates made by the accounts they follow. Just like Facebook and Twitter, interaction is made through liking, commenting, tagging and private messaging. The key difference with Instagram compared to Facebook and Twitter is that you can only share visual content.

Why use live video?

Live video is a feature that will be beneficial to major businesses, entrepreneurs and individuals seeking publicity or simply market a brand/product. The beauty of streaming directly from your profile automatically provides an organic reach. Everyone who follows your profile receives a notification once a stream starts unless they have disabled that feature.

This form of marketing through a live stream develops authentic and intimate interactions with the relative target audience. It allows people who have an interest, to understand and resonate with the brand. The brand becomes ‘humanised’, and therefore creates a personality and story which people appreciate.

Using this feature is an intelligent marketing tool if executed effectively. According to research by Microsoft Canada (Consumer Insights), the attention span of humans has dropped from 12 seconds to eight due to an increase in digital lifestyles. That is worse than a goldfish!

The future of live video

Twitter and Meerkat live video failed but Facebook and Instagram still made the decision to implement this feature into their applications. What advancement has Facebook foreseen in their development strategy that Twitter failed to acknowledge?

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook said: “most of the content 10 years ago was text, and then photos, and now videos … we’re going to be in a world a few years from now where the vast majority of the content that people consume online will be video”.

Television is now moving online and social networks like Facebook and Twitter have identified this opportunity, making live video an intelligent advancement. In 2016, Facebook and Twitter were bidding for the rights to stream NFL matches. Twitter won the bid thus highlighting the foreseeable future of live video on social networks.

Social media is a phenomenon that is changing the way consumers and businesses interact. The introduction of Instagram’s live video is a prime example of how intimate interactions are being created. Businesses are now able to communicate with their consumers visually to build a relationship and take them on a journey. The future of social media is currently changing and live streaming will unquestionably change the marketing industry.