Audience’s attention spans are at an all-time low and with the ability to scroll through social media anytime, anywhere becoming more accessible, the competition to grab the user is fierce. As regurgitated content continues to flood people’s streams, Facebook has put a strong push behind encouraging its users to share their own content and ‘go live’ with this instant function.
Facebook Live is not a new concept: it was rolled out exclusively to verified accounts in August 2015. More users were gradually incorporated into the mix and it’s now available to the masses. From personal profile shares of walks in the parks or being front row at a gig, to brands getting on board with competitions, voting polls and exclusive interviews, Facebook Live is slowly but surely solidifying its place as a viable engagement tool.
So, why should I use Facebook Live as a brand?
- It provides instant interaction with the audience
- It offers a permanent video social post
- There's potential for follow-up assets
- It can effectively boost brand visibility and brand engagement
- It can be cost-effective engagement compared with above-the-line mediums
It’s the instant nature of Facebook Live that’s appealing for brands, as it offers that quick interaction with your audience. Comments and reactions pop-up in ‘real time’, allowing your brand to get immediate feedback from fans.
Best practice tip: If you’re conducting a live unboxing or a news update from your brand, have someone on hand to reply to questions instantly.
The big players in video like Periscope and Snapchat have great USPs, but a big advantage Facebook offers brands is its permanence on the platform. Once the live stream ends, the full video remains as a Facebook post, with the option to edit the cover photo, tag people, extend reach and add relevant social search terms and hashtags to capitalise on visibility.
This permanent element also allows follow-up marketing assets to be created, to sell your brand’s social presence and cross promote with brand presence on other platforms. A blog post rounding up the best bits can be created, future social content can refer back to the live video, or the once live video can be re-shared at a later date to tie in with topical events and online discussions.
Executing Facebook Live well could likely result in your brand benefiting from increased brand visibility and engagement. For example, streaming a competition post live can instantly boost shares and extend the reach of your conversation. The audience will likely discuss with their friends online in order to find the answer or be more likely to comment because of the limited time nature.
Key considerations when using Facebook Live
It may seem like a given, but a good internet connection is essential. In the excitement to get a broadcast live it can be easily overlooked - especially if you’re streaming whilst out of the office - so make sure to check this before you begin. The audience may be willing to compromise on quality for Facebook Live, but it should still be as high as possible to generate positive engagement.
Choose your live stream carefully. As with all content, it should be done for a reason and not as a box-ticking exercise.
Product unboxings, new product testing or exclusive interviews are all great ways to kick-off your brand’s Facebook Live presence. However, where one or more people are going to be talking, make sure there’s a structure or prompts in place to avoid mind-blanks or taking the conversation off topic. This is particularly important for content focussed on products – ensure detail on where to buy, price points and availability are instantly available to share in the live video.
Best practice tip: Generate some interest and buzz in the lead-up to the post by sharing teasers with the audience. Start a couple of days beforehand to capture different members of the audience.
The title is what grabs the audience and explains what the piece will be about. It needs to standout and catch the audience mid-scroll. Be sure to keep the supporting Facebook post short, informative and as always, engaging.
Facebook Live video should be created for those that will be watching live. If you’re planning any follow-up posts around it, make sure it still makes sense to a none-live audience. An easy way to ensure the live video always makes sense is to start any broadcast with an on-camera introduction, or a supporting status in text. A closing statement should be a call-to-action to extend engagement, whether for elsewhere on the main brand site, or with other posts on the Facebook page.
How can my brand use Facebook Live?
Depending on your brand’s offering, there are differing options as to what’s going to be most effective. Get it right and benefits could be seen immediately, as well as have a long-term impact. Here are just a few suggestions to start your Facebook Live brand presence:
Competitions are an easy way to dip into Facebook Live. Essentially, there just needs to be a prize available to be put on screen and a location to find it (treasure hunt style) or a spokesperson to ask questions, with the answer as the entry mechanic. Depending on the set-up, these can be incredibly engaging and with a good talking point, can lead to further brand awareness.
Product launches give the perfect visual opportunity to venture into your Facebook Live presence. Offer exclusive first looks, product unboxings or a testing series to offer insight to the audience without a hard sell.
Topical discussions with experts
Expert and interview time should require little resource if the relevant people are available to appear on camera. Offering interviews as topical discussions gives an instant boost to reach, and allows the use of keywords and hashtags to put the video in front of a new audience. This type of exclusive content can bolster your social media audience, creating an incentive for people to follow your brand across all the social platforms.
Exclusive behind the scenes access
Behind the scenes access can be offered by any brand, but the more exciting the content offering, the more engaging the live stream could be. Consider who will be watching and tap into what they want to see. But make sure you step out of your brand’s bubble – what might seem really interesting to you and your brand, might not be what people will stop their scroll for.
Stream live events with caution! You could need a license to include music in a live stream – the same goes for any music ever included in your content. Any live music or productions need serious high quality in order to attract the masses. Speaking events and presence at trade shows can work well, but keep quality in mind and aim to share something genuinely worthwhile for the audience.
Consider the time of streaming. Your audience will be active at different times throughout the day. Timing could be key to creating significant reach and engagement, or you could be streaming to an unexpectedly small audience if the best time isn’t picked.
As Facebook Live gradually becomes the go-to sharing method for both public and brands alike, care should be taken against simply jumping on the bandwagon. Whether your brand is new to Facebook Live or you’ve already got a presence established, ensure live streams don’t become a box ticking exercise. As with everything, advanced planning and structure is needed for great execution.