No matter where you surf or search the Internet today, online video is big. From pet videos and advertisements to full-length films, viewers watch millions of hours of video content – in fact, YouTube now has over 1 billion users and on mobile alone, reaches more 18-34 and 18-49 year-olds than any cable network in the U.S.
Not to be outdone, Facebook has recently added a way to get more videos into their News Feed. Facebook Live is a new way to share video content with friends and followers – and when used effectively, it can be a great way to build loyalty, answer questions or share announcements with customers.
Let’s take a look at Facebook Live, how it works and how you can include it in your marketing mix.
What is Facebook Live?
Introduced earlier this year (2016), Facebook Live allows you to create and share live-stream video. In fact, you may already have seen invitations from businesses or individuals to join you for a live event.
The Facebook Live option is different than just posting or linking to a video on your page. Of course, those are options for your business, too, but they’re not actually happening live.
How does it work?
With Facebook Live, anyone can broadcast video directly from a mobile device (or other video camera) and have it run online for friends and followers. Users following you can “tune in” and see your broadcast.
[Note: Wondering who’s broadcasting right now on Facebook? Scroll down to view the Apps menu in the left-hand column and click on Live Video. This will bring up a map showing you places where live video is currently running.]
How to get started
You can start by using any smartphone or tablet to create your video. To begin:
- From your mobile device, log in to your Facebook account using the Facebook app and open the status bar just like if you were going to write a post.
- Tap on the “Live” icon at the bottom, which looks like a person surrounded by circles:
- When prompted, allow Facebook access to your camera and microphone (this should only pop up the first time).
- Tap the blue “Continue” button on the intro page. Note: This does NOT start recording at this point! You still have a few steps to go.
- Choose a privacy level. Once you become a pro at this, you’ll want to make things public – but we strongly urge you to choose “Only Me” in the beginning to try things out! Scroll all the way to the bottom to find this setting.
- Add a description/title. This is optional, but this title will appear in your viewer’s News Feeds, so be sure to help your viewers understand what it’s all about and why they should be interested.
- Aim your camera where you want it (you can use the arrows in the top right circle to flip from “selfie” to what’s in front of you).
- Tap the blue “Go Live” button to begin. As soon as you start, your video will appear in your News Feed (and can be seen by others) just like any other post. Once you’re done, click “Finish” to stop recording.
Once you’re live, you’ll have the option to take and respond to comments from viewers – and once you’re finished, your video will stay in your News Feed. And just as with any Facebook post, you can delete or edit information when you want.
How to use Facebook Live to your business’ advantage
So now that you’re familiar with this tool and how it works, how can you use it to your advantage? Here are three tips for getting the most out of Facebook Live:
- Practice, practice, practice
BE SURE to try this out a few times before you go public! Yes, live video always has some mistakes and surprises, but your results will be much better if you determine what you’re going to share before you go live.
- Create a plan – and share it
Think about ways to use live video that would help inform and engage your customers. Do you have a new product to talk about? Could you share a live testimonial, discussion or interview with a member of your team? Put together a plan for what and when you’re going to include live video as part of your overall social media strategy. Next, let your followers know in advance when you’re going to offer a live video. Ask viewers to subscribe to live notifications by clicking the little arrow in the top right-hand corner of your live post, and then choosing “Turn On Notifications.”
- Engage with your audience
One thing that makes live video so interesting for viewers is the fact that they can immediately request and receive information. For instance, if you’re presenting a new product in your video, you have the chance to answer questions about how it works and get feedback from viewers.
Need help creating a strategy for using live video at your business or improving your social media plan? Contact Byers Creative today!