How to make Facebook Live work for your business

Facebook Live is an exciting new way for your business to connect and engage with your audience. It is a live video streaming function within the Facebook app. It was launched about a year ago, and rolled out firstly to select users such as celebrities.

In the past few months it has been made more widely available and businesses are starting to experiment with how they can use it to build brand, generate leads and make sales.

Facebook Live had its breakout moment a month or so ago when the live stream made by “Chewbacca Mom” Candace Payne went viral. This event ignited interest among business people and marketers about the potential of Live to become a powerful engagement tool for business.

While it is nearly impossible to replicate the sorts of numbers (upwards of 50 million views) the Chewbacca Mom video attracted, smart businesses will be keen to explore some of the ways live streaming to their Facebook fans might work for them.

This will depend on what type of business you are running. There are some sectors and businesses that will definitely be better suited to live video streaming than others. For example, a talent school for young performers might have stronger basic content material to work with than a manufacturing business.

You could easily imagine a talent school producing a live stream on Facebook for its end-of-year show, showcasing the performers, all for the enjoyment of friends and family on Facebook. That would make a fantastic way to get the word out about the talent school.

Similarly, retailers might look at doing special live streams of product launches or even put on catwalk shows and the like. There are plenty of possibilities for businesses who are willing to put a bit of creative thought into it.

What’s working for businesses on Facebook Live

Social Media Examiner looked at three businesses that have already successfully used Live to generate sales. The businesses are a gym and fitness business, online children’s gift store, and a marketing consultancy. Each business used a different format to create its live streaming event.

For the gym, it was a live flash mob event to celebrate its 16th birthday. The online children’s gift store streamed three separate online sales over four days, each live stream lasting about 20 minutes. The live streams attracted a total number of around 24,000 views, which is very impressive. The marketing consultancy held live QA sessions for mumpreneurs – a variation on the webinar format.

What makes Live so potentially powerful for your business is that it’s real-time engagement through the medium of video. People can interact, leave comments, ask questions, all as this video event unfolds. This makes it quite different to a recorded video, which sits on YouTube waiting for comments after the fact.

Going back to the example of a retailer that might decide to put on a catwalk show for the new season line of fashions, imagine having a designer or stylist on hand for the live stream, chatting to the audience about what they are seeing? Shoppers would then be able to click and purchase while they have the clothes paraded before them.

So if you’re going to use Facebook Live, think about:

  • the format for what you will be streaming;
  • the on screen talent you can use;
  • how you will handle audience comments; and
  • what message you want to put out.

If you’re going to attempt to use the platform, you will also have to remember that Live is indeed live. That means things could go wrong, as they sometimes do on live broadcasts, which are produced by professionals. Think through what you’re doing before hitting the button to go live. The ease with which you can go live could lull you into a false sense of security and result in a PR or marketing disaster.

It’s worth going to the Facebook Live page to get some tips on how you can start streaming. You can also check out Live videos from around the world as they happen. Be warned, some of these videos can be a little odd!

Fi Bendall is CEO of The Bendalls Group, a business that leads STRATEGY : ADVOCACY : MOBILE delivering the business acumen to drive effective positive results in a disruptive economy for the C-suite. Fi has recently won a Westpac/AFR 2015 100 Women of Influence award. 

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