I can still remember rushing home from high school to watch TRL. For those of you unfamiliar, TRL (Total Request Live) was a live broadcast from MTV studio in Times Square, where the one and only Carson Daly would count down the 10 most popular music videos in the country. I was so impressed by the fact that Carson and his guests were able to appear so calm, cool, and collected on LIVE television!
No, this post is not about my long-time obsession with TRL, but rather a new live video trend for marketers: Facebook Live.
Nowadays live video is popular not just for large broadcasting networks, but also for small businesses. With live video becoming a trendy (and effective!) tool for digital marketers, this guide will teach you everything you need to know to grow your audience with Facebook Live.
What is Facebook Live?
Facebook Live is a live video streaming feature on Facebook that allows you to broadcast a live video out to your audience through your company page or personal profile. Facebook Live was released in April of 2016, and while many marketers are still getting their heads around it, the ones who are using it seem to be reaping the benefits.
Once a Facebook Live video is created it will reside on your page or profile for viewers who missed the live event to view. Videos are eligible to show up in an individual’s news feed during the live event, as well as after the event has ended. Yet, the chances of seeing a video while it’s live are now higher since Facebook has updated their ranking algorithm to show more live videos that are streaming in real-time.
Businesses using Facebook live on their pages have the ability to customize and control their audience once it has ended. Page followers and visitors may get a notification when a page or individual is going live.
Why (and How) You Should Use Facebook Live
By now, you have likely heard how effective video marketing is, but did you know Facebook Live videos receive 3X higher engagement than a video that is no longer live? Facebook Live videos also receive 5X more than standard photo posts, according to AdWeek.
Whether you’re trying to raise brand awareness, get more leads in the door, or increase interactions with your current customers, Facebook Live is a tool you should be using. Below are five ways you should be using Facebook Live in your marketing campaigns:
#1: To Connect with Your Audience in the Most Genuine, Human Way Possible
Do you ever feel like your audience sees you as a corporate, stuffy robot? Well, there couldn’t be a better way to connect with your followers and potential customers than live video. It’s essentially like meeting your customers in person, since the event is happening “face to face” and in real time. Facebook Live gives you a chance to show there are real, caring humans behind your business, which in turn builds trust and leads to more business in the door.
#2: To Answer Questions in Real Time
Interacting with your followers doesn’t have to be limited to when you happen to be checking back in on your company Facebook page. Facebook Live allows you to answer your followers’ questions in real-time. This gives you an opportunity to engage with viewers when they’re most interested.
The best strategy to do this effectively is to create a recurring series. Sephora provides a great example with their “Scouted by Sephora” series, where they share information around less well-known makeup products, and answer questions as they come up.
To nail this strategy, be consistent with the time and day of week you go live, feature hosts that aren’t afraid to show off their personalities, and ensure you have someone at the ready to monitor questions so you can answer them either in real-time in the comments or in the actual broadcast itself.
#3: To Showcase an Event to People Who Couldn’t Attend In Real Life
Facebook Live is a great way to broadcast events and connect with your customers or leads who weren’t able to attend. Perhaps you have a guest speaker come into your office or your CEO is speaking at a local event. As long as you have a strong internet connection and the permissions to stream the event live, you should absolutely do it!
A small marketing agency headquartered in Sarasota, FL does a great job at promoting and streaming their live events. Check out the post below where they broadcasted a guest speaker from HubSpot to ensure those who weren’t able to attend in person could still get value out of her workshop on email marketing.
#4: To Share Industry-Related Updates
Keeping your audience informed on industry trends without being overly sales-focused is a much more natural way to build trusted followers on Facebook. People will start turning to you as their go-to source to stay informed on industry news, and you’ll build a loyal and engaged following.
Take social media management tool Hootsuite as a solid example. Hootsuite started a series called #HootLive where they broadcast the latest social media news Live on their feed.
#5: To Show Off Your Company Culture
Facebook Live is the ideal opportunity to show off the unique personalities and values behind your company, whether it be strolling around the office and showing off your space, interviewing employees, or sharing a sneak peek into a company outing or event. Sharing your culture with your audience has so many long-term benefits whether it be for recruiting new hires, or getting new followers interested in your genuine brand.
At Wistia, we’ve found that sharing our culture with our audience has been one of the most beneficial ways to grow the business and build brand advocates. Below, check out how our social team is using Live Video to give our audience a sneak peek behind one of our video shoots. The comments really say it all.
This strategy worked particularly well because it was not only showing off our culture, but it’s also relevant to the product, and helps give video creators an inside look into how we do things at Wistia.
How Do I Get Started with Facebook Live?
Now that you’ve got some inspiration, it’s time to get the wheels turning with Facebook Live. The good news is that it’s quite simple to create your first live video. All you need is a mobile device or desktop computer that has a solid camera or webcam and microphone.
Here are 5 easy steps to get started:
Step #1: Select the “Live Video Button”
If you’re on a mobile device or going live from your Facebook profile rather than a Facebook company page, a small button will appear when drafting a post that says “Live Video.” Select it to get started!
If you’re going live from a Facebook page on your desktop, you’ll see a box that says “Live Video” below the post box, like the one below.
Step #2: Write a Click-Worthy Description
Your description and video thumbnail are by the far the most important pieces of your video. Without compelling copy to entice your viewers, your live video isn’t going to get much if any traction.
When writing your copy, ensure it’s direct, actionable, and informative, with a hint of mystery to spark curiosity in your viewers.
For additional tips on writing click-worthy headlines, check out this post on 9 Tips for Writing Great Headlines in 2017.
Step #3: Get in Position & Hit “Go Live!”
Put on your finest ball-gown, and style your hair! Or you can go the more casual, authentic route (recommended) like the image of me below working from my parents’ dining room (I swear my hand is not that large in real life).
PRO TIP: If you’re filming a recurring series like the examples above from Hootsuite and Sephora, try to maintain an air of consistency. While you don’t necessarily need to wear the same outfit in every episode, use the same “set” and set up your camera in the same place and distance away from the episode hosts in each post. It may also be worth looking into purchasing an external microphone to improve sound.
Step #4: Click “Finish” Once Your Post is Done
Be aware of where the “finish” button is (at the bottom of the page) so you can give a proper sign-off.
Step #5: Post Your Live Video on Your Page & Make Any Desired Edits
Once you’re no longer live, your video can still live on for fashionably late viewers to enjoy. Share your video on your page, and make any edits you need to the description, thumbnail, add caption, etc.!