There are exciting opportunities happening today for broadcasting on the web and connecting with your customers.With a little bit of effort you can become a global broadcaster for basically free. The three main platforms are Skype, Google Hangout/Air/YouTube and UStream.TV. Skype and Hangout are more video conferencing platforms, though with Hangout Air you are global but with a small group. Google Hangout Air broadcasts through YouTube so your reach is unlimited. UStream.tv is a real blast it out to the world application. Lets dig in a little
Skype is the granddaddy of free video conferencing. They have two versions, free for one-on-one video conferencing and Pro for larger groups. Skype works great, I find its signal stays connected the most, the picture and sound quality are excellent. All you need is a free account for both parties, a webcam and mic of some kind and you are ready to go. You can upgrade to a pro account for about $60, and with that you can join up to 10 people on a conference call. They also have a phone calling options. If you combine your Skype call with a screen capture software like Screenflow you can record the call and put it up on YouTube, perfect for doing an interview. To learn more check out https://www.skype.com/en/
Google Hangout and Hangout Air
The newest member to the group, all kinds of things are happening at Google Hangout. Hangout is part of your Google Plus page, it is a free video conferencing service that comes along with our gmail account. You need to have a Google Plus page which is free, a webcam and the Video Plug which you download the first time you use Hangout.
Hangout comes with all kinds of cool features, from being able to title your video page with a lower third, chat features, tie in to YouTube, and the ability to add funny hats and more to your head. It has outstanding screen sharing abilities; from the entire screen to just one application or webpage, great for consulting and training.
Hangout connects up to 10 people at a time. The application switches whoever is talking to the main screen, it can sense sound. Hangout works great but you need a little setup time to get everything working. It can also be a little widgie, little tougher to do on the fly. One of the amazing features is that you can also do a Hangout Air, which broadcasts your conference call right to your Youtube Channel. Hangout probably has the lowest video quality in terms of clarity but it is an amazing service. It can also get overloaded and loose connection. It is still a beta program but well worth using. People are doing some amazing broadcasts with it and it is changing the entire way we market our products and services. Learn more at https://www.google.com/+/learnmore/hangouts/
I put together a longer article on Google Hangout best practices and tips which you can check out here Introduction to Using Online Video for Professional Services Firms
If you have over 1,000 subscribers on YouTube you can also broadcast through them directly. Keep your eyes on YouTube, they are the future of television. Most new TVs are coming web ready and we will be using all these programs on them shortly.
The service that is the most like regular broadcasting is UStream.TV UStream.tv is used by a lot of radio stations to broadcast their shows, conferences use it and all kinds of events use it. You can also just go onto the UStream.tv site and just watch a broadcast. To get going you just need a free account a webcam and mic. Almost all computers come with the necessary gear built in. UStream.tv allows you to add titles, it has a chat feature to connect with viewers and you can record your show for later broadcast and viewing. UStream.tv is a one way out broadcast, the other services are two way. UStream.tv is very reliable and easy to use. They also have a pro package that lets you do screen sharing, and add additional cameras. To learn more https://www.ustream.tv/new
All of these services work pretty well and are a great way to send your message out to the world. Almost all computers these days come with a webcam and mic built in. These services will also work on tablets and smartphones. I have done some pretty interesting broadcasts using portable laptops and smartphones. I highly encourage you start using these and expand your marketing.
Do you want to go live with a chat area and take orders? Then look at a site called Flip-it Live.com. They offer a one-stop solution for a live WebCast, includes the broadcast window, a chat area, production, hosting and interactive page creation and control. See more at https://www.flipitlive.com/
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