Once again, Facebook is taking social engagement to the next level.
Viewers of these real-time video events have been able to ask Stephen Spielberg questions about his latest movie, attend batting practice with the Texas Rangers, or just hang out with a quirky friend while he feeds his fish every morning.1
What does Facebook Live mean for your camp or school?
Using Facebook Live, anyone can become a live broadcaster – but with added features that allow you to see who’s watching, reacting, and commenting during your broadcast. You can invite specific groups to real-time meetings or Q&As.
You can share expertise with a broad, public audience to generate interest in your camp or school, and you can respond personally and immediately (live!) to those making comments. Anyone who misses your live event can watch the video afterwards. (Or you can choose to take it down.)
As an added incentive, especially for those using Facebook Live for marketing purposes, Facebook prioritizes live video because viewers respond to it. “While Facebook gives priority to video in the news feed, live video ranks even higher,” says Mari Smith, social media expert and blogger. “According to Facebook, people spend triple the amount of time watching a video when it’s live, because of the nature of live content: it’s exciting, in-the-moment, and the next best thing to being there.”2
Should you try Facebook Live?
The latest trends can be exciting, but business owners also have to be willing to resist the hype – at least long enough to analyze how (and if) Facebook Live could benefit them.
Here’s some background: Facebook introduced Live last year, and various updates have been developed since then. Some speculate that Facebook will eventually find ways to monetize Live (i.e. through mid-broadcast ads). But that hasn’t been developed yet.
“Don’t use it just because it’s there,” experts caution in Search Engine Journal (SEJ). They offer a few things to think about before trying Facebook Live:3
1) Facebook Live should complement your overall marketing program. Brian Shin, CEO of video performance analytics firm Visible Measures, suggests thinking of live video as “another arrow in marketers’ quivers.” How can live video work within your larger marketing plan?
2) Define your audience. To get the most out of your initial efforts, focus a live-stream event on your best customers to promote retention, as well as your influencers. (Here’s how Forbes magazine defines “influencers.”4)
Facebook reaches 1.6 billion people, but even high-profile brands will more than likely get a small audience for their first Live experiments, says Greg Jarboe, president of content marketing agency SEO-PR. “If they aren’t focused on those two key areas – customer retention and influencer marketing – they’re not going to be able to cost justify it,” he said.
3) Have a clear purpose. Alex Membrillo, CEO of digital strategy agency Cardinal Web Solutions, says it like this: “Do you have a big event or product launch that you want to do something different for? Do you have a PR crisis you are trying to respond to? Do you want to connect to your customers on a deeper and more personal level? Whatever it is, pick your topic and stick to it.”
Tips for Getting Started
- Explore the Medium. If you’re not familiar with Facebook Live yet, you can find a helpful, concise overview here.5 Watching Chris will help you understand the medium as a whole and how it works.
- Learn how to post on Facebook Live. This post at Hubspot6 will walk you through the steps of how to access Facebook Live. It also helps you analyze your metrics (to help evaluate your audience response) and offers tips for a strong Live broadcast.
- Decide on your audience and build anticipation. Facebook advises that you tell people you’re going live in advance, and write a strong description about your purpose.7
- Set the stage. Facebook also emphasizes the importance of making sure you have a strong Internet signal. In addition, scan your background to make sure it’s clear from distractions and anything “that might inadvertently compromise privacy or confidentiality,” according to SEJ. “You want it to be spontaneous, but you want all your ducks in a row,” Shin says. “It’s like preparing for a big party – you want all of the things in order, but you still want spontaneity as well.”
- Get to the point. Say the topic of the video right away, introduce yourself and your company, and establish credibility.8
- Keep it interesting. “Don’t just talk about yourself and your business – make sure the topic you address is of interest to the audience generally, “Jarboe says in SEJ. “It’s okay as the speaker to mention your point of view, but it can’t be just you, you, you. If it’s propaganda, no one wants to watch.”
- Stay positive. “The Internet is a place that naturally breeds negativity, some of which will make its way to your Facebook Live stream. Stay positive,” Membrillo says in SEJ. “Know that your stream is being watched and engaged with because people like your brand or your company. The vocal minority can seem a loud bunch, but they are still a minority. Keep your eye on the prize and focus on your stream.”
- Interact with viewers. A few more pro tips from Agorapulse: Pretend you’re talking with only one person to reduce any anxiety you may have about speaking to the camera. Make eye contact, and acknowledge your viewers.Facebook also encourages you to stream live video for at least 10 minutes: “The longer you broadcast, the more likely people are to discover and invite their friends on Facebook to watch the video.”Ask viewers to follow you and post their reactions and comments. Then say hello to commenters by name, respond to their comments, or answer their questions. “When you are fielding questions on Facebook Live, you only have a few seconds to come up with an answer,” says Membrillo in SEJ. “This process is far easier if you create a list of possible topics before you begin the stream. This way, you can answer difficult situations with pre-prepared answers that still adhere to your brand’s voice. The last thing you want is to say something you didn’t mean on a live stream that lands you, or your company, in hot water.”
- Analyze your results. Facebook added two new metrics for live videos.9 You’ll be able to see the total number of people who watched at least a portion of the video, along with a running count of how many viewers you had at different points in time.
Ready to give it a try?
Let us know how you’re experimenting with Facebook Live. We’d love to hear how it’s working for you!
1http://newsroom.fb.com/news/2016/04/introducing-new-ways-to-create-share-and-discover-live-video-on-facebook/ (See video of Facebook’s Chief Product Officer Chris Cox.)