Ready for your close-up? Facebook Live can be a promotional game-changer, one capable of altering the fortunes of yours or any other business willing to hit the “Go Live” button.
By 2019, WordStream predicts, video offerings like Facebook Live will account for 80 percent of internet traffic, while Research and Markets estimates that in just over three years, the industry itself may be worth more than $70 billion.
However, Facebook Live — which lives on a platform users visit an average of 14 times daily — isn’t as quick a fix as those numbers may make it sound. To keep users locked in and build the kind of constant viewership that can be monetized, you need to organically build Facebook Live into your social and overall marketing outlook. You need to make it a useful and convenient resource for viewers.
Otherwise, you’ll fall short of its power and purpose.
Get it right on the first take.
Many companies — ours included — jumped on the Facebook Live bandwagon when it took off in 2016. That’s not surprising, when you consider an Animoto study that said that25 percent of customers pass over companies with no video strategy. Besides, it’s thrilling for marketers to be able to get deeper into users’ news feeds and encourage cross-pollination of sharing and ideas.
Some early events tanked for us, especially ones led by uninspired speakers prattling on banally instead of handing out teachable, novel concepts in an intriguing manner. Events that were successful, on the other hand, used vibrant presenters creating deep connections, palpable buzz and viewer interaction with their messages. Suddenly, users felt urgency and a sense of being in the know, rather than just inhabiting the role of mere observers.
To encourage your own fantastic feedback and strong consumer-presenter relationships, focus on these four must-dos:
1. Sell viewers before the event. Would you give a TED Talk without promoting it? Of course not, but tons of people go live without sharing their intentions with a soul outside the office. Give potential viewers the logistical specifics of your Facebook Live stream.
Send out emails, post social blurbs and highlight your start time anywhere and everywhere. Build anticipation with focused event descriptions that draw in viewers before they even watch.
Gaming site Bluehole hosts a weekly Facebook Live event targeted at hardcore gamers in search of inside scoops. It offers a rare chance for viewers to get more value from the games they play and plan to try. Plus, its weekly cadence allows the platform to build a loyal, informed audience.
2. Go live instantly — don’t wait for people to arrive. According to Facebook, Facebook Live users hang out three times longer on videos with real-time presenters. Hop on the stream immediately, even if there aren’t any viewers on the app yet. Start strong and end strong to give viewers a truly professional, yet human, touch.
Put passionate, knowledgeable speakers on to start, and make sure that standard is upheld throughout the event. Even if someone jumps in halfway through, you can knock viewers’ socks off, ensuring they’ll go back to hear the beginning of the video.
3. Remember that truthful teasers turn profits. When chef Marcela Valladolid created a special dish during a Facebook Live event for Food & Wine magazine, it was a huge hit. It also gave her a chance to plug her upcoming cookbook.
Had Valladolid merely offered a Facebook Live presentation about her cookbook, viewers probably would have given her one star. But by being imaginative, informative and engaging, the chef caught and held viewers’ attention. Plus, fans left the Facebook Live experience knowing how to make a signature dish.
Don’t pull a bait-and-switch on your viewers. Give them focused, detailed descriptions of what they’re going to watch. These descriptions usually yield the kind of user who will come back for your next Facebook Live event — and the one after.
4. Bring viewers into the fun. Why do people love karaoke? Because it allows them to become part of the action and have their moment in the spotlight. Use your Facebook Live video to engage commenters and make them a core part of the show.
Facebook estimates that most live videos get 10 times the number of comments that prerecorded videos earn. Think like a broadcaster and interact on the spot, using viewers’ names and acknowledging their contributions. Depending upon attendance, you may or may not be able to talk to everyone, but you can at least turn the live stream into an inclusive, unique and shareable event.
Facebook Live has changed the playing field, but startups and behemoths are at the same level; this means it’s anyone’s game. Hit your next Facebook Live experience out of the park with a planning effort from the start. Put together a purposeful Facebook Live strategy that pulls in viewers, educates them and leaves them raring to click that “Go Live” button for future events.