Released in 2016, Facebook Live allows Facebook users to share live video with their followers. One of the key benefits of Facebook Live is its flexibility; it can be used for a wide range of purposes, depending on the business’ social media objective.
Here, we take a look at what businesses have achieved using live videos and the takeaways this exercise offers.
Why go live?
Live videos are an excellent way to grab an audience’s attention in real-time. They can be particularly useful to highlight a major event such as product launches, contests, buying trips and in-store events.
While a sizeable chunk of live videos are put out by industries that have prior experience with the live format – think media, entertainment and sports sectors – this is not to say that small businesses should not try their hand at it.
Here are a few reasons to go live.
Introduce a product or service
Airtime can be quite expensive for a small enterprise to acquire and an advertisement might not provide the opportunity to showcase the unique features of a product. Live videos enable businesses to show products in use and in real-time – a valuable asset when promoting the intricate details of an item like jewellery. Videos also remove any doubts customers may have about the truth-value of what is shown in an advertisement. Demonstrations of a jeweller on the bench and tutorials on pearl care are excellent ways to exhibit expertise.
E-commerce brand Zulily is an example of how to make great use of the live video format. Targeting the ‘back to school’ period, Zulily conducted tutorials and demos on how its hair products could be essential for school-going children. Viewers were also given a gentle push to shop the product with a special offer and the social media manager painstakingly replied to every comment, which conveys that the business cares about its audience and their feedback.
Project the brand personality
Large brands often use live videos to highlight the brand’s human side, granting audiences a peek at the people responsible for making the brand what it is. A fun way to do this can be to tap into current internet sensations. Dairy Queen Mexico, for example, capitalised on the Mannequin Challenge with a video that showed customers ordering and eating ice cream in freeze-frame, mannequin mode. Jewellers can also use video to show audiences that they participate in sector-relevant, high-profile events such as trade fairs.
Motivate audience interaction
Listening tools and market research are essential to finding out what potential customers like and dislike. For small businesses, live video can be an effective way to understand what people would like in their products or services.
For instance, conducting a live video demo of a product gives the audience the opportunity to ask questions regarding the features of the product. Encouraging audiences to like, comment and share are also beneficial as this interaction not only helps live videos gain a better reach but to fuel further interaction on other posts.
Build excitement around an event
Product launches, sales, contests and giveaways are all super exciting but if no one gets to know about the events, all those fabulous plans will fall through.
Facebook Live is an easy and effective way to get audiences interested in an in-store event. Videos that show retailers preparing for an event or providing exclusive backstage coverage to customers will boost enthusiasm. Mercedes-Benz did a great job of this: tinyurl.com/mercvideo
Don’t forget that events can take place exclusively within a live video too. As discussed earlier, offering a few freebies via a contest can encourage social media audiences to take part in the event.
Something else to consider is Instagram Live Stories, which was launched in December 2016 in the US and recently became available globally.
In summary, here are some tips for ensuring businesses get the most out of live videos:
- Use Facebook Analytics to see peak views and other metrics – what time of day are customers most active on the page?
- With this data, decide on the optimum duration and approach
- Rope in ‘influencers’ – examples include local celebrities and brand ambassadors
- Announce the live video in advance with some sneak-peek posts
- Promote the live video post-streaming to extend the reach and viewership
- Encourage audiences to comment – audience interaction and feedback are worth well over a few freebies.