Facebook Live: Now the Single Most Essential Video Marketing Tool
Just because Facebook Live is accessible from an app on an iPhone, does not mean that a brand’s live broadcast should have the quality of an iPhone video. The Facebook Live tool is not a “cheap option” for brands to provide video content to followers. Brands have the responsibility to provide broadcast quality streams to their audience. In order to achieve this, we highly recommend brands and agencies hiring a professional video company with extensive experience in live broadcast.
Prospective and existing clients have been calling us non-stop to ask about Facebook Live, and we all tell them the same thing: We approach shooting your Facebook Live video the same way we would approach shooting a live broadcast for CBS or NBC. Facebook Live is not an excuse to deliver sub-par content, but rather a unique platform that allows you to deliver quality content instantly to a large group of people, giving them an immersive experience, and giving you the ability to interact with your followers in real time. The benefits of this tool are real. This is not the area where brands should be skimping on budget dollars, but rather investing a good chunk of their video marketing budget.
There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to livestreaming. Making sure you are using the right gear, the right encoder, the right switcher, and a reliable internet source are all essential aspects of a live stream that you do not want to leave up to chance. The right production company with the experience in broadcast will only assure that you are providing your audience with the quality and reliability that they’ve come to expect from a brand. Professional lighting, cinematic cameras, and professional audio are all as relevant for a Facebook Live production as they are for the brand’s flagship video content. It is worth the investment, even for a social media app like Facebook. Pay for pre-production, prep days, and test shoots. Not only will high-quality broadcasts help you keep face with followers, but the video then becomes an instant piece of content from the brand to promote and repurpose across all of its channels.
Why We Love Live Video
With Facebook Live, brands have an advantage because most already have a Facebook page and a social media following that consists of people who have already taken an interest in their brand. Facebook Live gives brands the opportunity to connect with these people in the most authentic and raw way possible, while allowing new viewers to discover the brand as well. Users who follow certain pages likely do because the brand appeals to them in some way. They are especially interested in the story behind that company or CEO, and Facebook Live gives them the best opportunity to immerse themselves into that story and engage with the brand.
Facebook is not shy about helping its users utilize the live feature to the best of their ability. Tips and best practices tailored to their powerful tool (including the suggestion of hiring experts) can be found on their website and in this Production Guide. So to save you time, here are our takeaways from the production guide that brands and agencies specifically need to know.
1. Promote your broadcast before and after the fact.
Give followers the heads up and let them know beforehand when you will be going live. This way they can make time if they want to be a part of the broadcast. Secondly, Facebook says that most users wind up consuming the content within 24 hours of the broadcast. So definitely make the video available on demand for the users who may have missed the live experience. Again, there are several opportunities to segment the broadcast to create multiple videos for repurposing across all platforms.
2. Ensure that your Facebook Live broadcasts fit into an overall video content strategy.
As with all video content, Facebook Live campaigns need to be well-thought out and fit into the bigger picture marketing strategy. Perhaps it is a live behind the scenes video broadcast that promotes an event later that day, while in the meantime cross-promotes the sizzle reel of the event that will be released over the weekend. All social media and video posts should be part of a greater strategy that will help grow brand awareness and a digital presence.
3. Preserve live video as a special occasion.
Be careful to not oversaturate your live content by broadcasting too much. Live broadcasts should be a special experience that allows users to see something unique and share that experience with others.
Here is a quick list of types of content you could and should be delivering via Facebook Live:
- Live Events
- Behind the scenes of a production or event
- Company announcements
- Breaking news
- Discussions of hot topics
- Q&A’s with industry leaders or company executives
- Weekly or daily shows that have a specific topic or theme
- Product Launches
- Fireside Chats
4. Know and utilize all of Facebook Live’s features.
One example is using the filters that Facebook offers. Also, asking customers to subscribe by clicking the follow button will allow them to receive notifications when you go live, and help grow viewership. Finally, take note of the comments and “reactions” that are coming through. This gives instant feedback to the broadcast and can be used as a tool for improvement.
5. Interact with your audience.
It is imperative to remember that Facebook Live gives followers an immersive experience, that instant access. Therefore interaction amongst them is key. Read their comments, react to what they say, listen to their suggestions, use their names! In theory this broadcast is for them, and you should give them what they want if it is feasible. Providing a connected experience like this will only improve the chances of them coming back for the next one, sharing the video with friends, and essentially growing your following.
6. Maximize viewership.
A smart trick that Facebook suggests is creating a lobby or countdown before live broadcasts begin, so that viewers can begin to pile in beforehand and there will be a larger audience at the commencement of the actual broadcast..
7. Create themes that are unique to your broadcasts.
While Facebook doesn’t recommend using branded bumpers during live broadcasts, it may be a good idea to have a catchy title, with an inviting description, and a tagline or signoff that people can become familiar with each time they return to the program. Also, keep in mind that people will be coming in and out of the broadcast. Therefore, make sure to repeat the purpose of the broadcast, and any other information that would be important to the viewer (promotions, schedules, etc.) so that new viewers are always informed.
8. Do your research. Be prepared.
Agencies and brands shan’t go into this blindly. Know everything about Facebook Live, livestreaming technology, and equipment such as, encoders, switchers, software, and cloud capabilities (all laid out in the Facebook Live Production Guide). Finally, hire the right production company to guide you through the process and help you get the job done the right way.
Do It Now!
Live video has been teasing brands for a few years now as apps such as meerkat and periscope had attempted (and failed) to be the next big thing for them to utilize. While many predicted Snapchat to be the wildcard to take over the live video world, it turns out Facebook Live was the dark horse this whole time and is now what we believe to be an essential marketing tool for brands to deploy. Brands and agencies need to approach it with the seriousness and poise as they would any other important piece of video content.