It’s no longer enough to live Tweet or post photos from events as they happen. Now, with better mobile networks and a video camera in just about everyone’s pocket, live video streams are becoming the standard in updating followers and customers. Recently, Facebook introduced Live, its own version of live streaming. It’s currently available in the US to all iPhone and now all Android users, and availability in other countries is expected in the next few months. And, like Facebook’s other features, Live is free to use.
While Facebook Live may seem like just another feature on the popular social network, it actually marks an important shift in how businesses can communicate with customers. Everyone and every company is a newscaster now, and using Facebook Live well can improve your relationships with your clientele and even earn you some new followers.
Marketing Professionals, Take Note
Live streaming is exciting because it’s happening now — it’s very “in the moment.” Whereas a year or two ago, you might have posted an online photo gallery from an event or a text-based update, Facebook Live allows you to broadcast (or mobilecast) as events are taking place. And, that video can be saved and shared at your discretion.
There’s an endearing rough quality to Facebook Live videos; these are not the polished promo videos with well-lighted interviews and slick editing that so many companies post on their Facebook pages. Facebook Live is exciting because there is no editing, which creates an excitement that’s hard to create in a more scripted and planned video. The possibilities for including Facebook Live video as part of your marketing plan are practically endless.
Isn’t This Just Like Periscope?
Short answer: kind of. Long answer: not exactly. Fundamentally, other live streaming apps like Periscope and Meerkat, plus YouTube Live, do more or less what Facebook Live does. However, Facebook Live offers a significant advantage to marketers because your followers are already scrolling on Facebook. With Periscope or Meerkat, customers need a whole other app, and posts on YouTube Live can often get lost in the shuffle. If you’ve got followers on Facebook, the likelihood of them happening upon your Live stream is much greater than them finding it on Periscope or another place. While announcing that you’ll have a Facebook Live stream in the near future is probably good from a marketing standpoint, you’ll get a lot more incidental viewers on Facebook.
It’s Not Over When It’s Over
With Facebook Live, the video isn’t dead once the livestream is over. In fact, it becomes a powerful marketing tool that you can share later on, especially if something unexpected and compelling happened while the camera was on. You can also edit the post, change the thumbnail, and tag people who appear in the video. And again, because it’s on Facebook, it’s likely that your audience reach will be greater than the same live video on another app.
Ready to Go Live?
These are just the basics of this important new marketing tool. When used well, it can do a lot to strengthen the relationships your business has with its customers. Next week, we’ll take a look at some tips for making the most of your Facebook Live videos. Be sure to check back!