Why all social video roads lead to Facebook Live

Note: This blog post was born from a CrowdCast.io conversation on Aug. 24, 2016 between two of the most influential voices in live-streaming today — Joel Comm and Brian Fanzo @iSocialFanz. I encourage you to view the replay here.

If the “future of business is community,” wouldn’t it make sense to go where that community resides?

With live-streaming apps cropping up left and right daily, each chasing the success seen by pioneers like Meerkat and Periscope in 2015, it can be tempting — and, inevitably, exhausting — to follow the bouncing ball.

Huzza. Firetalk. Crowdcast. The list goes on … in fact, our friend Brian Fanzo @iSocialFanz even calls the space a ‘hot mess:’

Look, I’m one of those “early adapters” who loves tinkering with every single one of these apps. My friend Ross Brand did a fantastic job comparing them here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/which-livestream-platform-right-you-firetalk-vs-crowdcast-ross-brand

But because most businesses (especially nonprofits!) don’t have the resources to actively conduct this research, the most frequent question I field through my work with Humana is this: “Which live-streaming platform should we focus on?” My answer is (almost) always the same:

Facebook Live.

Yes, Facebook Live.

Facebook Live is far from a sentimental choice. Facebook has long suffocated great content from brands worldwide. I don’t like trying to ‘win’ the Facebook game.

It’s far from a sentimental choice. Over the years, I’ve often voiced my frustration with the dreaded Facebook algorithm, which has effectively suffocated great content from brands worldwide for years. I don’t like trying to “win” the Facebook game. See:

In my previous life as a Social Media Director, I might as well have been titled ’Facebook Algorithm Maestro.’
Content is always king.

But here are the 5 reasons I remain hung up on Facebook Live as the long-term answer.

1. Every (reasonable) brand has an existing Facebook presence. Developing a community is the most difficult part of a successful social media strategy — and yet, every brand has that audience already at their fingertips. Starting on a new app means your audience is, well, zero — and it can be very difficult to bring your Facebook fans to other platforms.

2. Facebook Live is simply a feature of Facebook; unlike Periscope, which is closely integrated with but not truly a part of Twitter. Users do not have to download a separate app to see your content, nor do you as a broadcaster need an app to go live.

With a push of a button, and my phone simply propped against a water bottle, we were live from the offices of Leadership Louisville — no heavy equipment or fancy technology necessary.

3. Facebook’s market share is just overwhelming. Dreamgrow.com reports 44% of market share of social network visits in Feb. 2016 were on Facebook — even in a “down” month for Facebook, that’s more than #’s 2 through 10 on the list combined. Notably, Facebook owns Instagram, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp — often listed among the “other” top-performing social media apps.

4. Facebook is directing its unparalleled resources into perfecting the live video experience. The company’s announcement last week that they’ll (gradually) introduce collaborative live broadcasts signals the beginning of the end for every other collaborative live video platform. (I also foresee further integration with MSQRD — here’s betting you’ll soon be able to live-stream using those fancy facial filters without having to leave the friendly confines of Facebook.)

5. Need to get your content seen outside of those who ‘like’ you on Facebook? The platform’s best-in-class advertising functionality provides immense discoverability opportunities.

As an economics major, it pains me to conclude that all roads lead to Facebook. Competition is always healthy for the market, and in theory, the business would spread around —some joining, some failing — until the market reaches equilibrium.

In 2016, the invisible hand belongs to Mark Zuckerberg.

But this isn’t your average market. In 2016 — like it or not — the invisible hand belongs to Mark Zuckerberg. Brands — even those currently invested in Periscope (sorry, Chocolate Johnny) — will eventually realize that their resources are best invested in the world’s most ubiquitous platform.

Even with a delayed start in the live-streaming world, Facebook’s market share is too great, and its pockets too deep, to allow any competitor to succeed in the long run.

-- — — — — — — — -

Chris Strub is the first man to live-stream and Snapchat in all 50 U.S. states, the author of ’50 States, 100 Days: The Book’ and currently, a storytelling expert/live social video evangelist for Humana, although his thoughts on this blog are purely his own.