In case you haven’t heard, live is in.
It’s been almost exactly a year since Facebook fully launched Facebook Live, and it’s pretty safe to say that in that time, Live has dominated the social media landscape. News outlets are increasingly using it for breaking news, retailers are using it for giveaways, bloggers are using it for Q&As, and media and entertainment companies, such as Buzzfeed, are using it for polls or, um, …exploding watermelons.
With video viewing statistics growing at increasing rate, it’s no surprise that the exciting, spontaneous medium of Facebook Live is drawing in many big businesses, but it seems that smaller companies are still reluctant to hit that big red REC button.
Bigger businesses have the time and resources to funnel into trying out new and exciting marketing techniques, but when you’re a small business owner, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to find the time in between managing clients, securing business opportunities, organising staff, running your marketing, and everything else in between.
So to make it easy we’ve put together a run-down of everything a small business needs to know about Facebook Live, including what it is, how it works, how to use it, and what you can use it for.
What is Facebook Live and how do I use it?
Simply put, Facebook Live is a tool used to live-stream video. If you’re familiar with Periscope, or even webinars, think of Facebook Live as a similar tool, but based entirely within the Facebook app. The social media site started rolling it out exclusively to celebrities and public figures way back in 2015, before launching it for all users in April 2016.
Going live is really easy – click ‘What’s on your Mind?’ as if you were going to start a status, then select ‘Live Video’. You then have to fill in a title/description of your video. Once you click ‘Go live’, you’re on!
Should my business be using Facebook Live?
Whether you use Facebook Live depends entirely on your business and what you have to offer an audience. However, there are some pretty compelling statistics that suggest that Facebook Live could be a pretty sound investment…
- Video is pretty big. In 2015 it was the fastest growing digital sector. It’s also been suggested by Cisco that this year, video will make up for 69% of all consumer internet traffic. Facebook Live is a cheap way of capitalising on the appeal of video content.
- Couple this with the fact that last year, Facebook specifically generated 8 billion video views on average per day…
- And the fact that people will spend 3x longer watching a video if it’s live.
The benefits of using video, specifically Facebook Live, are clear.
What can I use Facebook Live for?
Again, how you use Facebook Live depends on your business, but here are a couple of ideas:
- Respond to comments on your blog
- Do a Q&A with your customers
- Conduct a mini webinar and give away your expertise
- Give a behind the scenes tour of your business
- Sneak peek new products
- News announcements
- Live stream an event
- Get creative! If you own a restaurant, why not conduct a cooking class? If you’re a music venue, why not live stream a jam session? If you’re a book store, you might consider reading a chapter from the latest best-seller. Could your business host an online quiz? What about a giveaway where your audience guesses the location of the prize from clues in the livestream? The beauty of video means you’re not limited as to the type of content you produce there’s plenty of scope to come up with something fun and unique.
How do I make sure I don’t mess up my live video?
Lots of business owners avoid Facebook Live because of what could go wrong. What if my mic doesn’t work and I don’t realise? What if you accidentally say something rude? What if your children burst in while you’re giving an interview about South Korean politics?!
We would suggest that you should prepare as much as possible when using Facebook Live. Just because it’s live doesn’t mean we want any Oscar-esque mishaps!
First thing’s first, you’ll need to prepare your content. We’d recommend creating a script or series of prompts to keep by your side but out of sight during the broadcast. You might also want to prepare for any questions or comments you think might come up!
You can also test it out first! As with any Facebook post, you can adjust your privacy settings to ‘Only Me’ and go live. You can then watch it back and ask for any feedback before you do the real thing.
Any other tips?
- Where possible, promote your live stream in advance. This means that you can make sure that your audience can be available at the right time.
- Make it personal. If you’re doing a Q&A, be sure to mention people by name when you answer their question. You can even welcome people as they click to view the stream, and ask your audience questions.
- Have a good Wi-Fi connection! Nobody like pixelated picture and sound that cuts out.