The Rise of Facebook Live
From blog posts to infographics to GIFs, new forms of content to engage audiences on social media are continually being created and tested. One form of content that stands out because of its instantaneity, authenticity, and cost-effectiveness is Facebook Live.
Facebook Live first rolled out in 2015, but at the time it was only available to “VIP” users, like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Serena Williams, and Neil Patrick Harris. Celebrities and verified figures could access the new feature to connect with their fan base in a new and intimate way.
Facebook Live was made available to all users in 2016. Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement on Facebook: “[Facebook Live] is like having a TV camera in your pocket. Anyone with a phone now has the power to broadcast to anyone in the world. When you interact live, you feel connected in a more personal way. This is a big shift in how we communicate, and it’s going to create new opportunities for people to come together.” His words really ring true in the present. Facebook Live has quickly become one of the most popular ways to share video content, and 1 in 4 videos on Facebook is now live.
Benefits of Using Facebook Live
Let’s look at the advantages of making Facebook Live part of your social media strategy.
1. Connects you to your community instantly
Have you ever shared a social media post on your channel and then sat back and waited (or hoped) for the likes and comments to roll in? A perk of going live is that the engagement received is instant. If users are given enough of a heads up of your live video and are interested in the topic, they will tune in. You will instantly be able to see the number of views, likes, comments, and shares under your video.
In addition to direct engagement, you are directly connected to your viewers, and vice versa. This makes Facebook Live more of an intimate form of content, which can strengthen your relationship with your followers.
In September 2016, Starbucks embarked on its first live event, using Facebook Live on National Voter Registration Day in New York. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and rapper Common spoke about the importance of voting and viewers were encouraged to come up with questions and tune in to see if they were answered by either of the speakers. By broadcasting their appearance at this event, Starbucks showed that it is an integral part of the community. The brand was also able to educate on the importance of voting to those that couldn’t attend.
This live video was a win for Starbucks: it gathered 173k views, 3.5k reactions, 440 comments, and 350 shares.
2. Makes your business look more authentic
Facebook Live, like live television, involves broadcasting in real-time to your followers. Although you can plan ahead for your live video—perhaps by using a script or a set— you cannot edit the video as you would a regular video or written post. Because of the nature of live video, your business ends up looking a lot more genuine and this generally appeals to social media users who want to engage with real people, not corporations. On that topic, live video is really helpful for companies that don’t have a visually compelling product (like a tech company that specializes in web hosting infrastructures) because it humanizes their brand. Through live video, followers can see that a company is made up real people with emotions and quirks, just like everyone else.
Social media management company Hootsuite regularly uses Facebook Live to talk about social media trends and interview digital marketing experts. This puts a face to the company (and their social marketing team whom customers engage with on a daily basis) and positions them as leaders in the industry. Their live videos regularly accrue views in the thousands.
3. More of a cost-effective strategy
The idea of incorporating video into your social media strategy can be a little daunting. Creating videos takes time and some talent. Fortunately, making video is getting easier and easier these days and there’s no simpler way than live video. Making a live video on Facebook is as easy as going to your newsfeed and clicking “live video” at the top. But wait! You’ll want to put a little thought into your video before you bare it all to Facebook’s 2 billion-plus audience. These are some things to consider in your Facebook Live plan-of-action:
- What is your topic and why?
- Will you require a script (or prepared talking points)?
- Who will the speakers in front of the camera be? (one employee or multiple, or perhaps a guest or expert on a topic)?
- What will the length of the video be?
- Will you require a set (you may want to go somewhere quiet, with a simple background)?
- What equipment will you be using (mobile phone or actual video and audio equipment)?
In addition, you’ll want to promote your live video beforehand and offer a link, so that your users will know where to find you. Think of exciting ways to entice your audience to watch, whether it be through vibrant graphics or the promise of prizes for those who participate and ask questions.
Another great thing about Facebook Live is that the video doesn’t disappear after it is finished, as live streams do on other social media platforms. Rather, the live video is added to your page afterward, which means that those who missed out on the live action can still find value in your video.
Media company Buzzfeed is known for its questionable listicles and addictive quizzes. In April 2016, two employees sat down at a plastic-covered table and began to attempt to make a watermelon explode by covering it in elastic bands. How much do you think this video cost to put together? It garnered over 11 million views, 53k reactions, 318k comments, and almost 18,000 shares!
4. Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm favours video
You’ve probably heard the phrase “video is king” thrown around. Video has begun to outperform all other forms of content because for many users it’s more engaging to watch something than it is to read about it. Not only are videos easier and more fun to watch, Facebook prefers them too. Facebook’s algorithm has made it so that videos are more likely to display on other’s people’s newsfeeds. So if your company has an important message to get out, Facebook Live is likely a better option than a traditional update.
Just keep in mind, the longer your broadcast, the more likely people are to discover and share your video—so give the algorithm a little time to work its magic!
5. Can be used in new spontaneous ways
The ephemeral feeling of Facebook Live and its low-budget use means it can be used in new, engaging and creative ways. With your brand in mind, get creative and think outside the box!
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Interviews with guest speakers or experts
- Q&A sessions
- Product releases or teases
- Behind-the-scenes of an event
- Demos, tutorials or how-to’s of products
- Hot topics and breaking news
- Holiday-themed video
In honour of Adopt a Shelter Dog Month in October 2016, the ASPCA launched a #31DaysOfRescueDogs campaign. As part of this campaign, they broadcasted a Facebook Live of their volunteers walking around New York City with several adoptable pitbull puppies. The volunteers were decked out in bright orange t-shirts (while the dogs wore matching handkerchiefs), which increased brand awareness, offline and online. Their video drove 33k views, 2.9k reactions, 277 comments, and 215 shares, as well as gathered a sizeable amount of donations.
Don’t be afraid to try Facebook Live for your business! It’s straightforward, inexpensive, and most importantly—fun! The marketing team at Canadian Web Hosting will be attempting its first Facebook Live next Friday, February 2, 2018 at 10:30AM PST. Tune in to see what our first topic will be!
Is your company utilizing Facebook Live? What is your favourite (or least favourite) thing about this video form? Tweet us @cawebhosting or let us know in the comments below!