Viva La Facebook Live!
It’s finally here for the masses! Facebook has stepped up and rolled out its own version of live streaming, and don’t you just know that Zucks is sat in Facebook Towers planning to totally swallow up and spit out the competition. And quite frankly, the competition is making it really easy for him so he’s probably laughing too. An evil laugh, Dr Evil style.
Ok, lets back track for a minute. Facebook Live is Facebooks version of Meerkat and Periscope only it sits directly in your feed, there’s no need to leave the page or app and go to another app just to comment or share and you can view and comment on your desktop too. It was slowly rolled out, first to verified pages (celebrities), then to US personal users and now to all business pages and a gradual roll out to all personal users. It has also been made available to use within groups and events. Going live on Facebook is pretty straight forward. Just go in as though you were updating your status, you should see the icon for go live, create a title that fits with what you’re about to show your audience and away you go. If you are streaming from your personal page then you can chose to keep it to your friends or go public. If you stream from your business page then it’s public and your followers will get a notification that you are live.
There’s a few little quirky features too like the reactions and Snapchat esq on screen drawing, but they are just mere add ons. There will also be a new button added to your app footer any time now that will enable you to see who is live globally, much like the global list on Periscope.
So how is this different to Periscope? We won’t even bother including Meerkat in the comparisons anymore given its recent white flag surrender and business pivot away from live streaming.
Periscope, unfortunately, seems to of had its moment, missed its markers and sort of descended in to something I don’t think it was originally created for. User numbers are small fry in comparison to what Facebook can offer the lively live streamer and more importantly, brands. And that is what will be the fundamental difference between Periscope (Twitter) and Facebook Live. Facebook has already established itself as a trusted social network for brands and public figures and comes with the built in functionality to actually make it a working business tool. Facebook is on the up. Twitter is on the decline and personally, I don’t think Periscope is helping matters recover there. A quick glance at the Twitter share price tells you that since acquiring Periscope, shares have lost 60% of their value and continue to fall month on month. That is not good business by any standards.
Periscopes viewer numbers are way down for many users. The novelty has worn off and its time to get serious about how to use the app for business or as a so called professional live streamer/blogger/vlogger. But most of it’s power users appeared out of nowhere (for a number of reasons) and have very little clue what they are doing in a business sense. Yes, they very quickly learnt how to hit start broadcast and entice people in, but very few learnt or understood that Periscope was just another tool to be used in your arsenal of online tools and social media networks. They went all in on Periscope and forgot about the more powerful tools in the tool kit, which included Twitter as well as Facebook. They made the fundamental mistake of not moving their audiences off of Periscope and on to their own website, mailing list, etc, literally just anywhere other than Periscope. In short; they put all their eggs in one basket and now the basket has a hole in it that isn’t going to get any smaller.
Social media is just a tool that people and business owners use to get to their goals. It’s a marketing tool. An admin tool. A showing off your holiday photos to your friends tool. And if like me you are in the business of social media, it is still just a tool. A tool that I teach to mainly celebrities, public figures and influencers on how to use it to achieve their goals, be it being more famous or well known, maintaining a public profile, conveying their message, sharing their content or selling some more autobiographies. My goal isn’t to be the best social media person in the world. My goal is to have the best business possible to serve my ideal clients. I don’t teach my clients how to be the best person on Twitter or Periscope or Facebook. That’s pointless. They are just tools. And that is a fact many power users of Periscope could not understand. They had no actual message to convey so it just became a battle to be more popular. That mindset will eventually eat you up and tear you apart. And unfortunately there are some I can see it already happening to.
Now this is where I get to say I told you so to quite a few people. Ok brace yourself for my smug moment — Back in late September, just after the first Periscope Summit I distinctly remember having a few conversations with “top” scopers about setting up various things to start this moving of the audience process. Websites, blogs, Facebook pages (not personal accounts), Instagram, mailing lists etc etc etc. I predicted that the Periscope “community’ was fickle and would not stick around if it carried on the way it was going (see this blog post for clarification) and I did several Blabs and blogged about repurposing your live streaming content to get wider reach and a bigger audience. Many didn’t listen and I know for fact that the people I had one on one conversations with about this stuff did not follow my advice and will probably now try to start the manoeuvre process, which won’t go well as they are now starting from a weakened position. Ah well, next time I’ll charge them for my advice so maybe they’ll value it more and actually pay attention. Ummmmmm, just thinking out loud there……………..
Right, so Facebook Live. What’s the benefits?
Firstly, it’s Facebook and it has a shit ton of users. More users than the population of most countries on the planet. More active daily users than any other social media platform and the place that most internet users spend the most amount of time (by a freaking mile — see this article for the facts). Now please stop listening to all the idiots that say Facebook is dead. How can a platform with 1.5 billion active users be dead? Seriously! Think about those numbers for a minute there and then come back and tell me it’s dead. And millenials are on there, in abundance. Yes they are using Snapchat and Instagram, but most still have a Facebook profile and secretly they are checking it 20 times a day, just like the rest of us. Take a survey of your real life friends (not online friends). Pretty much most of them are on Facebook, few are on Twitter and even less on Snapchat. That representation of your friends is mirrored in most peoples’ worlds too.
But for brands, the spending power, the £££, is on Facebook. The folks with the credit cards and disposable income just itching to hit that purchase button are on Facebook. And if they are already invested somehow in your brand or your persona, then they will be quite happy to watch you on Facebook Live too.
Live streaming or streamers can be split in to four categories; Brands ultimately wanting to sell you something. Bloggers/vloggers adding to their reach tools that they can use to get better brand deals. People that just live stream any old crap and think its interesting and then just normal people who happen across something of interest and decide to broadcast it. There’s also various news, sports and weather channels also using it but they are more professional broadcasters using live streaming apps as another broadcasting tool.
Oh and then there’s puddles. Yes, a puddle in Drummond was the most watched Periscope broadcast to date. A mere half a million viewers sat and watched people jumping over a puddle all day. It made headline news the world over.
There are also those that claim to do it to enable “community” and create relationships. Mate, let me give you a tip here; if you’re in business then there needs to be an ROI to everything you do in that businesses name. If it isn’t making you money then it’s not worth your time. Move on to something that actually benefits your business and not your ego. Stop just playing at being in business and do some god damn work! In business work equals money; time equals money. Pratting around drinking coffee and talking about the weather where you are is not bringing in the business and you are more likely to go out of business before you start breaking even. Creating relationships is all well and good and vital to growth, but creating relationships with people that are never going to buy from you is just a waste of your time and energy. Focus on creating relationships and content for the people that are your ideal customers, serve them not other people in the same industry as you. For some odd reason there is this trend of online marketers marketing to other online marketers. Bewildering. Anyway, I digress.
Do you have blogging influence?
Brands and bloggers/influencers should be operating from a business or public figure Facebook page. Remember, it’s against Facebook’s terms to use a personal page for business or commercial activity. Many use personal pages instead of business pages because they are too lazy to put the effort in to gaining reach or pay for adverts. Remember, it’s business not a hobby. You’ve got to pay to play. This is where Facebook will separate the good from the idiots. They have already said that they will give priority and reach to live streams from business pages. Therefore, if you have already put the effort in to build up your pages’ audience and get them engaged your live streams will be seen by a good percentage of your following. So to all those who abandoned their pages or didn’t even start one when I told them to, now’s the time to start playing catch up and you are going to have to work for that reach now.
However, a word of caution to the bloggers/vloggers/influencers working with brands. It is against Facebook terms to use your page for sponsored content. Therefore, as an example, the review that you have been paid to do is not allowed as native content on Facebook. This includes all written posts, photos, videos and live streams. Facebook does not like adverts, apart from the ones you pay for in its own advert platform. But, there is hope on the horizon as they have recently lifted this restriction for verified pages only, so long as the brand is tagged within the post. There’s like a shaking hand button you must use to tag the brand in to the post. Personally I think this will be the process of Facebook rolling this out to all business pages and the introduction of their ad revenue sharing programme similar to YouTube. But buyer be warned. I would hazard a guess that Facebook will be strict on the disclosure notices for sponsored content, so if/when this rule is changed be extra careful to ensure you fully disclose your position on all sponsored content whether you are paid for it or it’s just a freebie product you received. Full disclosure is key to transparency for any influencer and avoiding big OFCOM and FTC fines. Disclosure is going to become like copyright within the content creator industry. It’s common place now for people to be sued for copyright breaches within their content, disclosure is going the same way and it’s already this year’s hot topic following the new Google rules. But that’s another post for another day.
All the personal live streamers and those who stream their lives because they think it’s interesting and are in fact as dull as dishwater, I’m sorry but I’ve got some really bad (good) news for you. Are you ready for this? You aren’t going to cut it on Facebook. Nope. People will not watch that shit over there. Do the Facebook community a favour and stay on Periscope.
No more feeding the trolls
Facebook also has standards (I know hard to believe given some of the crap that gets posted on there!) but they do tend to monitor and keep to their standards pretty well. Unfortunately, this is something that is fast becoming Periscopes downfall and if they don’t get control soon it could well be the final nail in its coffin. Trolls, abuse, sexual harassment, crime, drug use and just outright nastiness are rife on Periscope. And that’s before you even get started on the in-fighting between users, the backstabbing and over inflated egos. I think Facebook have far more processes in place for dealing with the abuse and trolls and I would hope that it won’t become as big an issue there. They have a huge moderation team already plus a 150+ team just working on the live stream app itself. In terms of man power and resources Facebook have it covered.
So how will Facebook Live enable brands to better use live streaming?
Let me give you a workable example. Please feel free to steal this and try it out. Let me know how you get on.
Let’s take one of my favourite online fashion retailers Pretty Little Thing. Whenever they do a new collection release it’s like a mad scramble to get your size before they sell out. They have several celebrity endorsements so they will run many teasers posts before they launch. What if they did a collection launch via a live stream, catwalk style? That would create huge buzz around the brand and enable viewers to see the clothes actually being worn, live.
Logistically this is how it could potentially work.
Because a Facebook business page can have several admins, this means that more than one person can be logged in to the account at once. One person can be the camera holder (or phone in this case) and giving a commentary. Another can be logged in and dealing with comments, blocking trolls, answering questions but more importantly putting in live, clickable links to the products in the comments when each product is being shown. Imagine as the viewer you see an outfit you like and boom there’s the link to click to buy. Because of the hype and the excitement of it being a live product launch, viewers will be far more inclined to click to buy now than on a static post. With live launches there is an urgency that the product will sell out even quicker. Viewer will be quick to click. This is just not possible on Periscope.
Then you have all the stuff you can also do on Periscope for brands like demonstrations, reviews, tours, behind the scenes etc. But since Facebook is way more stable and produces to the end user far better quality visual and sound, then you can be more rest assured as a broadcaster that you are showing your brand off well. You then have the added benefit that the broadcast can be saved directly to your page and live on forever. No need to download then upload etc. It’s all just there for your future viewers. It won’t vanish after 24 hours.
Predicting the future
At the point of writing this the F8 conference is about to begin and rumour has it that Facebook will announce even more features for live streaming including multiple cameras so we shall see what this brings. This is something that is available on YouTube Live currently but a very under used feature as you have to use other apps (mainly Wirecast) to achieve this. I fully expect Facebook to have GoPro integrated pretty soon and I see no reason as to why this wouldn’t extend to other cameras. Basically if the camera can connect to your phone then it will be able to live stream.
Just on the point of YouTube, they have had the live function for some time and has been the main tool used for live webinars. However, news broke recently that they are working on a new feature (app) to rival Periscope and obviously Facebook. Make no mistake, Facebook has been working to take on YouTube for years, this will just up the battle. Like when two tribes go to war.
I do predict that Facebook, for now, will win the live stream battle. Kayvon Beykpour, Founder and CEO of Periscope recently said that he wasn’t worried about Facebook Live. Well of course he isn’t! He’s already sold out to Twitter and made a tidy fortune. He doesn’t need to worry. He could sell out his remaining shares for $1 and still be in profit. It doesn’t matter to him employment or financially wise if Periscope fails tomorrow. He has achieved what he set out to do and he can move on to his next project. If he was looking at the bigger picture then right now he should be shitting himself and working night and day to bring Periscope back up to scratch to have a hope of competing in the live stream market. However staff at Periscope have openly admitted to only working 7 hours a day, Monday to Friday. Facebook play to win. You can bet they have their teams working 24/7.
Besides the functionality of live streaming, Facebook also allows the page owner to house all of their content under one roof. This gives great convenience to the viewer and the content creator. But again, be warned, you need to build your following on a platform that you own. Facebook is rented real estate that you aren’t paying rent for. They also have an awful lot of rules that can easily have you kicked off in a heart beat. So my previous advice still applies. Get your following over to your website and preferably a mailing list. Even as a humble blogger you should still have the tools in place to build up your list. Why? Because it’s data that you then own. Which makes it very valuable. But that’s yet another lecture for another day.
And last but by no means least is the all important measuring metrics. Data. Facebook Insights is full of information that from a business perspective you need. From a blogger/vlogger/influencer perspective you should study religiously if you want to get brand deals and know your audience and from the brand and PR perspective it cuts out the bullshit. One look at your Insights will tell a brand or their PR if you are worth investing in. Everything they need to know about you and your audience is right there and the numbers, or data in this case, don’t lie. There’s no faking it. Periscope does not have anything like that.
So in conclusion, sorry Periscope, you started out with so much promise but you somehow turned off your sat nav and managed to get yourself lost along the way. Facebook will win this battle. Periscope is small fry to them and no competition. YouTube is a different story but we shall wait to see what they unveil in the coming months. But for now I think Periscope may just be one of those apps that sits on the App Store for a while and then goes all MySpace.
Keep an eye out for my upcoming post on My Year of Periscope and my thoughts and reasonings as to why I think its lost its way.
After reading this do you feel like you need a bit more help with your live streaming strategy? It’s a good job you found me then! Just click the contact button below and we can have you streaming like a true pro in no time with a kick ass strategy that will have brands begging to work with you.
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Originally published at sociallysam.com on April 13, 2016.