Broadcast isn’t dead. It evolved. And its name is Facebook Live.

Broadcasting and advertising have a long history. Agencies are good at storytelling via broadcast. We’ve been doing it a long time. But, with the advent of consumer engagement advertising, broadcasting has been deemed a sinking ship. If we think of broadcasting as sitting on a couch while staring at a TV, as a marketer yells the attributes of a product at us, then yes…that kind of broadcasting is dying. For the most part, consumers aren’t held captive anymore to get their content (in my next post, I’ll give you a huge exception that no one is talking about). However, branding through broadcast lives….and it lives on through Facebook Live.

I originally wrote this article about Periscope when it was four months old. I felt it was set up to easily surpass Meerkat as the live streaming app of choice. It was also owned by Twitter, so the following was built-in. However, Periscope never had a chance once Facebook Live joined the fray. Facebook has an audience of 1.7 billion and growing, and their analytics are amazing. This is ideal for brands. Facebook Live is less than a year old and already 1 out of every 5 videos on Facebook is live. If you’re in marketing, advertising or branding and you aren’t including Facebook Live into your content marketing plan, you already need to do a little catch-up.

12 Ways Your Brand Can Use Facebook Live Today:

  1. Live Event Streaming — This one is the most obvious. Launch your brand at a sponsored event and stream it live. Do a promotion or a stunt. Announce your new brand ambassador. Stream a major corporate announcement.
  2. Behind the Scenes — Look behind the curtain and get to know the brand in a new way. For example, if you are Rook Coffee (a personal fave), go ahead and live stream from Costa Rica as you taste and choose your coffee beans. Using a new, fun technique to shoot your TV ad? Go behind the scenes live to tease what’s to come. Another way to do BTS: do a live factory tour, given by an employee. Great side effect: showcasing different employees helps overall morale. Win/win.
  3. Celebrity or CEO Takeovers — Let your celebrity brand ambassador do a takeover where they use your product or service in a “real-life” scenario. Get your CEO to do a broadcast from a business trip.
  4. Live Q&A — Do a live Q&A session with the CEO or other representative. Get R&D involved! Viewers send questions as text messages on Facebook Live and you answer them live.
  5. Customer Support — Have a representative of your customer support team talk about specific issues that customers have brought up recently and how the company is addressing them, or what customers can do to fix them.
  6. Tips & Tricks — I like this one a lot. It has a lot of applications. Have an expert offer tips and tricks about the product. Are you advertising Bounce dryer sheets? Talk about how it’s great for dusting furniture and getting rid of static cling too. New eyeshadow coming out? Have a makeup artist do a few different looks with the same palette.
  7. Tutorials / How-To’s / Webinars — This one’s a gimme, but you have to do it right. Does your product need assembly or application? Do a live tutorial by an expert. Make it concise though. You’re interrupting someone’s day with this broadcast. Make it interesting and succinct, or they’ll drop off quickly.
  8. Interviews — Do live interviews with celebrities, experts or employee interviews. Lots of possibilities for real-time fun.
  9. Exclusive Offers / Giveaways — The Ellen Show did this well last year (but on Periscope — same idea but now a better platform). Ellen tweeted out that her team will be giving out NYC tickets and it linked to a live broadcast where the team said, “The first person to get to us in front of the Museum of Natural History gets a pair of tickets to see the NY show.” For 13 minutes, I watched, along with 16,000 people worldwide, as people commented that they were on their way. Finally the winner showed up, and the promotion (I mean giveaway), was a success. Another way to promote? Announce exclusive Facebook Live-only coupon codes (that’s trackable, thankyouverymuch).
  10. Focus Groups — Rather than asking your daughter or your intern which color looks best in the new logo, ask your Facebook audience and get live feedback. Gap could have used this five years ago when they tried to redesign their logo and the world collectively said “nope.” #justsayin
  11. Experience — Are you Club Med? Live broadcast a beautiful sunset from the beach. The whole sunset, including crashing waves, seagulls and swaying palms. If part of your brand involves an experience, let consumers enjoy it on Facebook Live and yearn to experience it live.
  12. Sneak Peek / Teaser — Launching something new? Do a live stunt that gives your audience a sneak peek of what’s to come.


A couple of things make Facebook Live tough from a branding perspective:

  1. You need to learn how to shoot this way. With Facebook Live, you need to go live in the orientation you want to record. If you hit record when you are in portrait mode, it will only record in portrait. To get landscape, make sure you are in landscape mode before you go live. It will take some getting used to. You will also need to work on not shaking your phone so it’s painful to watch. Invest in a stabilizer. Worth it.
  2. It’s live…so it’s tough to control your message, your brand ambassador or those around him/her. Also, even though it’s live, it’s in your Facebook page video list forever (unless you delete it).

Things to Consider:

Think I’m only talking about Millenials and Post-Millenials? Think again. Once mothers and fathers figure out that they can live-broadcast Sofia’s first steps, Calvin’s school play or Alina’s graduation to family and friends, Generations Y and X join the party.

Don’t do a 100% product/brand/business push. Engage and connect with your viewers and showcase your brand personality. Are you a compassionate brand? Do a live stream about the company’s efforts to feed the local homeless community and highlight some employees doing this important work. Interview them. Here’s an opportunity to give your brand a soul. It’s key in today’s marketplace. Do us all a favor and make it authentic. Today, consumers see right through your overly curated and self-serving messages.

You will need to title your broadcast. Do it right. It’s your attention-grabbing headline. It will mean the difference between a click-thru and a ditch. Don’t underestimate its importance.

Parting thoughts:

As a Creative Director working in advertising for over 20 years, I have had the opportunity to work in a world of branding and marketing that ran the gamut from paste-up push advertising to digital & social engagement advertising, mostly in the last few years.

At the end of the day, building a brand is about communicating with your consumers/audience where they are and creating positive impressions over time, which leads to brand loyalty. Storytelling isn’t new; how and where we tell the story is.

At this point, your brand would be considered an early adopter to Facebook Live. Start now to get through the bugs and kinks. Soon, you will be an expert live broadcaster, just as the rest of the fray slowly meanders in. This is the time, people. Jump in. The water’s fine.