Alex Yong, live streamer, columnist (www.column.SocialAlex.live), PR consultant, and trend watcher discusses his affinity for live streaming and approach to PR, social media, and new domains in this week’s My Side of the Dot®.
Where are you based?
New York, New York! The city so nice, you say it twice.
How and when did you get involved in live streaming?
I got involved with the now-defunct “Google Hangouts On Air” in 2013 to get my feet wet with video. I waited a few months after Periscope’s launch before I created my account in June 2015. Tons of the strong bonds I have now wouldn’t have been possible without the first-ever Summit.LIVE in September 2015. (Back then it was called the “Periscope Community Summit”.)
What is the inspiration and purpose for Livestreamed Livelihoods?
In 2015, it seemed as though the same three livestreamers were getting press attention over and over, so I felt it would be nice to have a column where others could finally get some love and tell their stories. We’ve had 13 guests since the debut in August 2015, and each person is so different, I love it. I realize the hashtag #LivestreamedLivelihoods eats up a lot of characters in Twitter, but I like the alliteration. It’s fun to enunciate.
What is your advice for businesses considering leveraging live streaming to promote their brand?
To be listened to, the first step is to listen. Then, to grow your network, engage to prove you’re listening. Aren’t we all impressed when a peer cites or quotes you? Doing that’s a great strategy if you’re genuine about it. (Otherwise you could come off as a sycophant.)
Once relationships are formed in streams on a regular basis, get thyself invited into Facebook groups and into Twitter group Direct Message rooms (group “DM rooms”). You’ll get invites if you’re likeable and share valuable tips and news, but you can also seek out open Facebook groups and join those if you feel people aren’t inviting you into closed or secret Facebook groups or Twitter group DM rooms. Finally, nurture those relationships into strong as steel, lasting bonds. I have so many new friends now. “Working” is the most important part of networking. It’s not called “netsitting”!
Why do you like live streaming?
My favorite reason is probably meeting fellow live streamers in-person. Streaming also helps with fast learning as well as balance, as my natural tendency is to stay behind a camera. A lot of journalists feel this way too, and they won’t live stream at all. So you could compare livestreaming to exercising. Many people aren’t super pumped to go to the gym, but once it’s done, there’s this healthy feeling of accomplishment and evolution. If you’d like to focus mainly on learning, then being in front of the camera as a live streamer needn’t even be a number one priority; you can “get known” by being a viewer of other people’s streams (and engaging, of course) and just broadcast yourself once in awhile.
How and where do you find people to feature for Livestreamed Livelihoods?
Twitter group DM rooms and Facebook groups and, above all, in-person meetups are great sources.
When you’re not live streaming for Livestreamed Livelihoods what are you doing?
I love learning, so I love listening in on group DM rooms because I’m part of several. Each room has developed its own personality, if you will. Some rooms don’t appreciate criticism of Periscope, while others actively criticize it. I’d like to give a shout-out to Periscope for putting legitimate life into DM’s in general. DM’s were, at least for me, 99% spam before Periscope was acquired by Twitter in early 2015. So thanks, Periscope.
If you mean personal, I like speaking with my sister and brother-in-law about all the crazy natural health supplements they take, and I like exploring my local health food store to see what’s new. Always something new and exotic there.
What’s the biggest misconception about live streaming that you’d like to correct?
A big misconception is that every person using live streaming “wants” to be a rockstar. Not true, although some artists will outright say they’d love to be discovered. In my case, I use live streaming to balance myself out. I’m happy to say I’m getting exactly what I want out of live streaming. Specifically, I’m not exactly the funniest person in the world, and certainly not on camera, so I’ll borrow funny one-liners and occasionally I’ll even borrow style and modify it. Besides learning, I love balance.
Among your professional skills and roles, you’re described as a “trend watcher”: What does that entail?
I focus on trends I see unfolding which might affect solo PR practitioners and PR boutiques. I’m also very perceptive when I’m invited to brand events by large PR agencies. While at these events, I’m able to see that many large PR agencies are holding onto outdated trends while not capitalizing on better, usually newer, ones. I share these insights with the “smaller fish” to remind them of their nimble advantage (by virtue of them being smaller), and I remind them that sometimes the biggest blunders come from the biggest agencies, and to be careful who you emulate. As parents always say, be careful who you look up to, and be careful who you hang around with. Smaller PR entities need to be aware of best and worst practices regarding SEO, digital communication trends (such as live streaming and social), reputation measurement tools that are falling out of favor or gaining traction, influencer evaluations, and more. And I’m just the person to whisper that intel to them. TweetDeck is one of my secret weapons for social listening.
Why did you decide to register a .LIVE domain and redirect it to your Facebook profile?
I was researching gTLD’s because I heard of the city ones such as .PARIS and .NYC and eventually I ran across sunrise period charts where I saw info about .LIVE.
I redirect my one .LIVE to my Facebook profile because word on the marketing street right now is, accurate or not, that live videos on Facebook are given preference in the Facebook algo. So I’m rolling the dice on that, in case it’s true. One of Facebook’s ad execs, Ted Zagat, said he predicts Facebook could end up being mostly videos in a year or two. Bottom line, out of the thousands of Alex Yong’s in the world, I want to be the one who owns SocialAlex.Live. It’s easy to say too.
Without .LIVE and just using my real name, people have been putting a “u” in Yong (resulting in a misspelled “Young”) for decades too. Fun fact: Because my name is so common, 99% of Google Alerts I receive are about some other Alex Yong. Come to think of it, I should probably set a Google Alert on SocialAlex.Live!
Is there anything you’d like to leave readers with?
Yes, my rebranding effort was a total breeze thanks to .LIVE and Name.com. I’m super grateful. The backstory is that I had tons of different names on social media instead of embracing “one name across all platforms”.
My approach is almost considered a cardinal sin if you ask any social media consultant. Their jaws would drop. Fifteen different social media names? WTF are you thinking? But in my case, I felt I had to have different names because I had someone stalking me, but I still wanted to be on social, hence the 15 different usernames. Can you say “hot mess”? Because a hot mess was exactly what I created, inadvertently.
There was no easy fix for it until .LIVE and Name.com came into my life. I rebranded with subdomains. Now you just add a subdomain to SocialAlex.Live and you’ll find me where I am, which is practically all over cyberspace. My list is below:
● Column.SocialAlex.Live – “Livestreamed Livelihoods” column
● SocialAlex.Live – Me, on Facebook Live
● Socialbutterfly.SocialAlex.Live – Me as a guest on other people’s live streams
● Replays.SocialAlex.Live – My Facebook Live video replays
● Best.SocialAlex.Live – My Snapchat and Periscope video replays
Finally, I’m grateful .LIVE works closely with Name.com because I love how simple it is to create and change redirects. I’m even able to change redirects if I’m outdoors via a mobile browser because the Name.com team wisely designed the web interface to work anywhere.
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