A Marketer's Guide to Live Streaming with Facebook Live

On air sign lit up
Tetra Images/Getty Images

It's often hard to keep up with social media platform changes and sometimes new introduced features come and go, so it takes us a bit to adopt them and integrate them into our social media marketing strategy.

Facebook Live is about bringing fans face-to-face with hosts and/or guest that they are interested in. It is all the buzz now and is even getting the attention of media companies. Celebrity Chefs are adopting Facebook Live and the popular morning television show Today recently launched a Facebook Live video booth that Facebook paid for in their green room.

What This Means to You as a Marketer

Facebook Live enables you to stream your live video feed from your mobile device through the Facebook application, no need to download anything additional. You can film you or use the away feature to film what you are viewing. You may be thinking to yourself "live streaming is not new." Correct. Facebook isn't the first to launch video live streaming, it follows a long line of applications that have been introduced, including:

However, for the purpose of this article, let's focus on Facebook Live. Facebook Live lets you use the live stream feature via your personal profile or through your Facebook business page. This means your audience is built-in. You select to stream a video and you select the audience. It can be public, friends only, specific friends or just to a few. Once you select who you want to live stream your video to they will receive a notification and your video will appear in their news feed letting them know that you are streaming live.

This notification process attracts and audience organically. Obviously, if you are reading this as a marketer and wanting to use this to drive engagement, you will want to set the audience to "public" for obvious reasons. 

Facebook Live makes it possible for us to reach our audience easily, spontaneously and in an authentic and transparent way humanizing our brand and driving home a connection that is difficult to gain unless it's through an in-person connection.

How can you use Facebook Live? Think of how you can individualize it for your industry. Could you offer a weekly message, daily tip, product launch, breaking news, tutorials, or Q&As? As you can see there are many options.

Who's Using Facebook Live

  • QVC uses Facebook Live to broadcast live and host live chats.
  • The Bachelor Ben Higgins and Fiance Lauren talked about their engagement on Facebook Live on Live with Kelly and Michael.
  • GM Motors used Facebook Live to live stream a quick keynote from Mary Barra, Chairman and CEO from CES.
  • Guy Kawasaki uses Facebook Live almost daily to share quick tips and give behind the scenes look his travels.
  • Gabby Bernstein uses Facebook Live to share spiritual information and meditations with her followers.

Tips

After all of this, you may be ready to start dabbling in Facebook Live, go ahead, but just be sure you take into consideration the following tips, you'll be glad you did.

  • When possible plan your Facebook Live stream, tell your followers about the broadcast and encourage them to participate.  
  • Ask your viewers to subscribe to your live videos so that they are always notified when you are live and broadcasting. 
  • Plan a broadcast that is at least 5 minutes. While most the time I'd advise to go shorter when you are talking video, this is a little different since you are live streaming. You have to give fans a chance to tune in.
  • Plan out your content to fill at least 5 minutes. Dead air, especially when it comes to live streaming dampens the user experience.
  • If you find that you do have dead air or are struggling to fill the time use the comment section as a Q&A by responding to their comments and or questions live.
  • Have a strong internet connection. Wi-Fi is suggested, but a 4G cellphone can also work as long as you have a strong connection. If you do lose your signal, the stream will pause until you are reconnecting.
  • Make sure you don't get caught in an embarrassing moment, wait at least 5 seconds until you hear the "ping" signaling that you are no longer on the air before you say anything you don't want others to hear.

The good news about Facebook Live is that when you have finished your broadcast your video will post on your timeline and people can choose to replay it.

Like most marketing tactics Facebook Live will require a brainstorming session to determine if it will work for the brand your represent and if so what type of programming you want to broadcast. The more that you use Facebook Live the better you will get at it, the easier it will get to identify programming and the more loyal your followers will get when it comes to tuning in. Let me know how it goes!