We have written before about how brands are making the most of Snapchat and how the more personal style of interacting with customers does their business no end of good. Now, sneaking up behind us and whispering ‘boo?’ is Facebook Live. It didn’t exactly shout at us when it launched last year, and some people aren’t even aware of its existence yet. Initially, it was available only to celebrities and public figures with verified accounts, but it was opened up soon after to regular, mundane people like us.
So if it isn’t as well known as Snapchat or Periscope, is it worth using at all? In short, yes. Apart from anything, we’re talking about Facebook – it has a pretty large user base. Rather than hoping that your followers will come and find you on another social media platform or trying to find brand new followers there, using Facebook Live will broadcast to the list of followers you have already spent blood, sweat, and tears building up.
The Practical Details
Anyone with an iOS or Android device can use Facebook Live without having to add an app to your account or to your device – it’s a simple case of going up to the status box and selecting Live video. While broadcasting, you can see how many viewers you have and their comments. Once finished, the video will save to your timeline like any other video you upload, so live viewers aren’t quite as vital as with other platforms (despite the name). Once saved as a video, you can edit the title, description, thumbnail, and add a call to action and link. Then you can use it like you would any video, adding it to blog posts and sharing it around.
The Potential Uses
As detailed in the Snapchat article, a more genuine and transparent view into you and your business draws people in and makes them feel more involved and invested in it. It is also a free and quick way of creating content, marketing, connecting with customers, etc. Give your followers a glimpse behind the scenes; broadcast events, parties, launches; host interviews (AMAs), with you and/or your team answering your followers’ questions; give how-to demonstrations or whatever is relevant to your business.
A good first step into the world of Facebook Live is to have a look at a few businesses that are already taking advantage of it:
It stands to reason that they would use their own live streaming service. Mark Zuckerberg used it to give us a brief tour of Facebook HQ, show us his desk, and explain why things are laid out the way they are. It’s unlikely that your business is quite as large as Zuckerberg’s, but this is a perfect example of the kind of thing that your followers could find interesting and engaging.
Mermaid pillows man
Believe it or not, as of March, the most viewed video from Facebook Live was one about Mermaid pillows, with over 35m views. This doesn’t technically count as the business’s own product video, as it seems to be from someone else who happened to think the pillows and their vendor were worth videoing. It does, however, give you a good idea of how popular such a simple video can be. So don’t be afraid to do the same thing – you don’t have to confine your live streams to your own business and products; part of the point, remember, is showing your audience interesting things and giving them reason to take more notice of you.
Tattoo artist, Liz Cook
Static images are all well and good, but being able to watch the artist at work is far more interesting. Tattoo artist Liz Cook’s page currently has over one million likes, having climbed by over 300,000 since she started live streaming.
Esther the Wonder Pig
You have probably heard about Esther at some point – she’s the smiley 700lb pig that lives indoors with her owners. While not a product or really a business, this one is worth knowing because this 6-minute video giving a brief explanation of just why the above is the case, also tells us that Esther’s Facebook page got 120,000 new followers following a previous video where Esther...ate some food. This kind of traffic and interest is especially useful for her owners because they run an animal sanctuary that requires donations and fund-raising to stay open.
So, to recap: is it time to take notice of Facebook Live? Yes.
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