They say that the only constant is change. And nowhere is that sentiment truer than in the world of social media—new platforms, new algorithms, new rules. It’s enough to make you feel like you’re drowning. And if you want to have the best representation of your brand and business online, then you need to do your best to stay on the cutting edge of these trends and new technologies.
So what’s the next greatest innovation in the social media landscape you can leverage to promote your brand? Facebook Live. Perhaps you’ve heard of it, or maybe those words are totally new to you. Either way, we’re digging into everything you need to know—including what exactly it is and how you should be using it.
What is Facebook Live?
Facebook Live allows users to share their experiences with their followers using real-time via video on their timeline. Think Periscope and Meerkat—except based totally on Facebook.
But don’t jump to conclusions and think Facebook is simply following in the footsteps of these two popular apps. In fact, the social media giant has been working on this live video feature for quite some time. They released it in August 2015 exclusively for verified public figures, and have been steadily rolling it out to other profiles ever since.
How does it work?
The platform is actually pretty user-friendly and intuitive. Since you’ll be using a camera to share either yourself or your surroundings, you should use Facebook Live on mobile. To start a live broadcast, click “What’s on Your Mind?” to draft a status for your personal profile or page. Underneath that, you’ll see the option for “Live Video.”
Click that icon, and you’ll be prompted to enter a description of your video broadcast. Think of this as the “title”—you want it to be descriptive and enticing to draw in viewers. As with any other Facebook post, you can select your audience (friends, public, etc.). Additionally, you can choose which way you want the camera to face, depending on if you want to record yourself or all around you.
Press the big, blue “Go Live” button and you’ll be live broadcasting right on your timeline! You’ll see a count on the screen of how many viewers are watching the broadcast, as well as which friends in particular are tuning in. Once you’ve finished the live broadcast, the video will be saved to your timeline, just like any other video you’d post or share.
How can it benefit your business?
Today, there’s so much content online, it can be tough to cut through the clutter and truly develop a voice and personality for your brand. Facebook Live provides the opportunity to connect with your audience and customers in a real, authentic way. Because you can see who in particular is viewing your broadcast, you have the ability to call them out by name and foster a personal connection. Plus, you’ll see a real-time stream of comments, meaning you can directly reply to questions and concerns immediately.
Facebook Live provides the opportunity to connect with your audience and customers in a real, authentic way.
Beyond establishing a strong relationship with your consumers and followers, live video is a powerful tool for capturing the attention of your audience on a platform that’s already saturated with content. Facebook shared in a blog post that people are three times more likely to watch a video if it’s live. And, because of that, Facebook’s algorithm now ranks live videos higher in the newsfeed—so, you’ll draw more attention than if you just post a traditional status or photo.
The bottom line? Engagement. You’re always looking for ways to connect with your audience and expand your reach and Facebook Live is a powerful tool to help you do just that.
What are some tips to use it effectively?
So, now that you have a handle on all of that background information, you’re likely wondering how you can best leverage Facebook Live to have a big impact on your business. Much like anything, you shouldn’t just post content for the sake of being present in the space. Every move you make should have a purpose and offer distinct value.
Here are a few tips for using this new feature to successfully promote your brand and your business:
1. Have a plan.
Live video is great for engagement. But it also means you don’t get a chance to rewind and fix your mistakes. So before ever pressing the “Go Live” button, make sure you have a solid plan in place. Know what you plan to talk about (outline bullet points to guide your conversation!), as well as goals for your broadcast.
2. Consider quality.
People enjoy live video because it’s authentic. But there’s a big difference between authenticity and poor quality. Make sure you speak loudly and clearly so that you audience can understand what you’re saying.
3. Don’t forget engagement.
Remember, the main benefit of Facebook Live is your ability to engage with your audience. You don’t want to treat the tool as an opportunity to talk at your customers—you want to talk with them. Mention those who comment by name to encourage a spirit of community. And make sure that you don’t simply ignore questions that are asked of you. Even if they’re seemingly negative, it’s important you address them to remind your audience that you care about their thoughts and opinions.
Treat Facebook Live as your opportunity to talk with your customers—not at them.
4. Implement a call-to-action.
Incorporating Facebook Live as a piece of your overall marketing strategy means you’ll want to direct your audience to do something specific following your broadcast. Maybe you want them to subscribe to your broadcasts, so they’ll be notified the next time you go live. Or perhaps you want them to sign up for your email newsletter or check out your blog. End your broadcast with a call to action to make the most of your video!
There you have it—a quick rundown on what Facebook Live is, how it can benefit your business, and the best ways to use it effectively. Used correctly, it can be a great tool to work into your overall marketing and social media strategy. Because, again, more engagement and interaction with your audience is never a bad thing.