To compete with the popular Twitter-owned Periscope, Facebook released a new way to upload content called Facebook Live. Facebook Live is a tool that can be used from the Facebook app on an Apple or Android device to stream video live. It provides companies and users with a way to interact with their followers in real-time as viewers can react and comment on the stream as it is happening—and after. It is also a fun and creative tool to use so your audience sees you as a person rather than a faceless entity behind the screen. The streaming service offers a variety of creative tools—like filters and drawing tools, which can be used as the video is streaming—so the streamers and viewers can have fun with the content they see. Other Real-Time tools the app provides are live destinations and live maps, so people all over the world will know when and where you are streaming, which could open you up to a lot more viewers.
Facebook Live provides a great new way for companies to interact with their followers but many are hesitant to take that leap. Well here is a short guide to get you started so you can begin integrating the new tool into your marketing strategies.
How Facebook Live Differs from Other Streaming Apps
Facebook Live is just one of many streaming services offered in the App store and Google Play. However, like with their main site, Live’s biggest competitor is Periscope, which is owned by Twitter. While they may have the same key concept, they are both very different in the way they chose to execute it.
The main difference is Facebook Live does not require you to download a second app, which is very appealing if you want to save storage on your phone for more important things. Although it does update your Twitter followers as soon as you start streaming, Periscope is only available through a separate app that would need to be connected to your Twitter before you could use it to notify those followers. So, Facebook Live cuts out a very small middleman if you are looking for a streaming service that has it all in one place.
Facebook Live was also designed with businesses in minds because like with any other content sharing you do on the site; you can easily target your niche or the niche you are trying to wedge your way into. This allows businesses to deepen their brand’s reputation with their current audience and gain access to new audiences they may not have been able to reach through status updates alone—because status is static and a live stream creates a sense of urgency. However, Facebook Live streams also save immediately to your Facebook Timeline so people who miss your stream (for whatever reason it may be) can go back and watch it at their earliest convenience. Periscope deletes the video after 24 hours, so it is not the best choice for long term content.
Other options for live streaming include YouTube. These live streams do not have to be done on a mobile device, although a mobile device has its obvious benefits like not having to set up a tripod for a perfect angle. However, YouTube required your channel to have at least a 100 subscribers before you can live stream, so if getting subscribers to your YouTube channel wasn’t a big concern for you, or if you were going to start just for this occasion, think again. Also, only those 100 subscribers would get a notification that you were doing a live stream, so you would still need to announce it on Facebook and share the link ahead of time, when Facebook Live takes care of all of that for you.
Therefore, if you are a business trying to create a better connection with your audience, Facebook Live is going to be the better option.
Facebook Live For Business
First things first, in order to access Facebook Live you have to have either an Apple or Android mobile device and the Facebook App—you cannot live stream just by going to Facebook in your respective web browser. To start the stream, you would do exactly what you would do when you post a status update. However, you will select a new icon on the post option section—a human figure. This is this is how you will start your stream. Once you understand how to access it, you are practically good to go.
As for getting the word out about your stream, Facebook takes care of that for you. When your stream starts, Facebook will immediately notify your followers via their notifications. If they are online, they will have the opportunity to drop by. Viewers will also have the chance to subscribe to you during the stream to ensure they get notifications about any future streams you do—even if they are new to your page.
Because of its mobility, Facebook Live can give your company a chance to really show itself in a more personal light than your average status update can. It gives your followers a behind the scenes look into how your company conducts business, what your offices look like, or just a better idea of who is behind the screen posting content and answering questions.
An idea for stream can be an office tour—a way for your followers to see how your company works. A lot of people just think of companies as never ending rows of cubicles. Break that stereotype by showing co-workers and have them share exactly what they do for the company. Let your clients know that there are real people putting in the effort to create the products and services they liked enough to start following you in the first place.
Another idea for a live stream—in that same vain—can be the good old Question and Answers session. Q&As are always a fun opportunity for followers get to know the person they are following much better. Instead of taking questions at an earlier date and uploading a video later, answer questions as your followers in the comment section ask them. Acknowledge the person who asked the question by name to show you are paying just as much attention to the viewers as they are to you. Other ideas could involve demonstrating a new product, showing conference prep, or just doing a live stream to touch base with your audience to get a better sense of what they want to see for the future. Just do whatever feels right for your company and your brand.
Really, the possibilities are only limited by your imagination. When developing your content marketing strategies consider what aspects might benefit from a well-organized live stream. It is a fun and creative way to spread your brand and develop a relationship with your followers.
How to Optimize Facebook Live
Facebook live is still a new tool so it might be difficult to get the hang of it right away. You may have a lot of questions about how to get the word out about your stream, where you should do it and how often should you take questions from the peanut gallery. Luckily, Facebook released some tips on how to optimize your streaming experience and they have been paraphrased below:
The first step to having a successful stream is to announce it before it happens. This gives your followers a chance to mark it in their calendar so they can tune in and not miss a thing. Facebook recommends posting a status update about the stream and what you are going to talk about roughly 24 hours before you start your stream, which will give your audience the perfect amount of time to fit it into their schedule.
You will also want to have a good connection. Since you are going to be streaming on your mobile device, it is important for you to either connect to a Wi-Fi source or use the 4G on your phone—3G is not recommended. Wi-Fi is probably the preferable choice because when you do a live stream it is important that buffering is kept to a minimum due to the fact that no one likes to deal with a video that constantly stops to buffer.
Optimizing your video description is something you should do to get people interested in watching your video and help them find it afterwards. Writing a strong, catchy description is the best way to do this—just as you would with any other content you share on your page. Just because it is a live stream doesn’t mean you can skimp on the Search Engine Optimization, treat your stream the same way you would a formal video uploaded to your YouTube channel.
Just like would in a YouTube video, it is important to remind your viewers to subscribe for live updates, that way they will get notified every time you start a new stream. Since Facebook Live is still growing a lot of your viewer may be unaware that they can subscribe to get stream updates, so don’t be afraid to remind them—you are doing this to build new relationships with your followers, after all.
Facebook also recommends you do longer broadcasts—about ten minutes long to be exact. This way, you are giving your viewers enough time to get to your stream because you never know if they need to get to a Wi-Fi area or if their connection is just slow. Nothing is more frustrating than a stream already finished by the time your browser loads, so give them time to get there. However, your streams can be up to ninety minutes in length, so plan your stream accordingly and make sure you live time for any questions and comments that come up during the video.
As said earlier, you should take the time to acknowledge your viewers during your stream. Greet them as they join the stream (unless you have 1,000 join at one time, then you don’t necessarily have to unless you want to) and answer questions they have as they are asked. This shows your viewers that you know they are there and care just as much about their viewing pleasure as they do your stream. With Facebook Live, you do have the ability to limit commenting privileges, so remember that if you are worried about getting bombarded with too many questions. However, you should let people know if they had a question you couldn’t get to, that they may send you a private message and you will get back to them as soon as you can.
Lastly, let your viewers know when your stream is coming to an end. It can also be annoying when a stream cuts to black without giving its viewers a proper goodbye. They won’t know whether your phone battery died or if you just don’t care about the stream. Your closing line doesn’t need to be flashy, just a little something at the end to let them know you are glad they were there and you hope they join you for your next stream. Short and sweet but still shows that you care.
Naturally, with any live stream you are going to have difficulty finding a time of day to do it. You never know what all your followers are doing, especially with different time zones taken into consideration. However, you shouldn’t let this stop you because there’s bond to be one person ready to participate in a live stream and one is better than none.
Facebook Live is going to provide businesses with a great opportunity to build a stronger connection with their audience and new viewers. It will open new doors as followers grow a better understanding of what the company does on a daily basis and what it plans to do for the future. Facebook Live will show that there are real people behind the screen, which will ultimately help create a more open relationship than if you followers continue to think of you as a faceless entity behind a glass screen. Therefore, when you are creating your next Facebook marketing campaign, don’t forget to include one or two live streams into the mix to try something new. It would be a wasted opportunity for any company that chooses to ignore Facebook Live.