By Alicja Gados

Facebook is constantly on the go with regular product invocations in social media. The latest from social media giant is Facebook Live. You can now go live on Facebook, broadcasting to the largest audience in the world using your mobile device. Promoted as he best way to interact with viewers in real time, the Live functionality is a very effective way to answer questions, monitor live reactions and gather valuable data on how an audience reacts.  The applications to business are plentiful. People love watching video, so Facebook built a dedicated place to watch content within Facebook.  Current fans of a certain organization or brand will be able to keep up with the latest news from them.

You can instantly connect with the people and pages you care about most, your followers will receive notifications when you go live so they will be alerted to when you’re going live.

Availability

The Live functionality is available to all Pages and profiles on Facebook for iOS, Android and Facebook Mentions. When a video of one of the people or groups you follow is live, there will be a red icon at the top left hand corner of the video indicating that there is a live video available.  The word “Live” is written next to the icon with a number of viewers currently viewing the video. 

If a video was missed it will be published on a page or profile so it can be viewed again and again. And the broadcaster can remove or edit the post at any time, just like any other post. The broadcast can last up to 90 minutes.

A social media innovation

The Live feature aims to capitalize on the recent trends of the immense popularity of online video viewing and instant updates. Live may change the way both marketers and consumers use the platform and may also influence coexisting users.  It may seem like a basic feature, offering live streaming videos capabilities to users that is already done well by such providers like Periscope and Meerkat.  But Facebook Live goes a bit further, notably since video to be retrieved anytime and the connection with other Facebook features.

If you’re a social media marketer, it’s important that you understand Facebook Live, even if you don’t plan on using it.  Facebook is recognizing an important progression in mobile technology and social media.

On the surface, it may seem simple. When you tap the live stream icon, you can begin to broadcast your video right from your mobile phone and write a description of the broadcast or event.  Your followers can views the video, whereby it will appear in their feeds, and at the end when you hit ‘finish’ to end the live broadcast, the video is permanently published in your timeline, leaving it available to be viewed again and again. 

How to use Facebook Live

Wildlife conservation group Explore.org uses Facebook Live to raise awareness. Image from their Facebook Live page (available at https://www.facebook.com/endangeredanimals/?fref=ts).

Wildlife conservation group Explore.org uses Facebook Live to raise awareness. Image from their Facebook Live page (available at https://www.facebook.com/endangeredanimals/?fref=ts).

There are a number of best practices that you can use, no matter what you are presenting, as explained by Facebook and listed here:

·      Announce ahead of time when you will broadcast

This will allow you to build anticipation in your audience and given them time to prepare should they have any questions.

·      Make sure you have a strong connection

This is fairly obvious, but don’t take it for granted.  You’ll want a 4G connection in case you can’t get a wifi signal (wifi will work the best).  If you do have a weak signal, you won’t be able to broadcast as the live button will be show up in grey instead of red.

·      Attract more followers

Try to attract more regular followers on the platform. Users will be notified when you go live, so the bigger the following you have the larger your Live audience can be.  Ask your audience to follow you using the “Follow” button on your live stream, and opt-in to get notified the next time you go live.

·      Write a compelling description

This is your chance to get your fans attention and let them know what your broadcast is all about. It should be accurate and compelling to encourage participation.

·      Engage with commenters and viewers

Address your commenters by name, they’ll be excited when you mention their name and answer their questions live.

How Facebook live innovates

Facebook Live is innovative because it takes advantage of the following trends:

·      Video. People love to watch video, and it’s only getting more and more popular as content marketers incorporate this trend into their marketing.

·      Real time updates.  Real time updates have become very popular in social media.  They seem more honest and sincere and require greater attention, which makes people pay attention more than to dated posts.

·      Availability. Though live video sharing already exists, Facebook makes it better by making the videos available after the broadcast is complete.

Interesting ways Facebook Live has been used so far

So what’s going on in the business world? Many businesses are already using the Live feature, such as explore.org to show wildlife videos. Here are a few more examples.

NASA

Zuckerberg demonstrating Facebook Live with a chat with three astronauts live at the International Space Station. Image from Mark Zuckerbergs Facebook page (available at: facebook.com/zuck/videos/10102866910495181/).

Zuckerberg demonstrating Facebook Live with a chat with three astronauts live at the International Space Station. Image from Mark Zuckerbergs Facebook page (available at: facebook.com/zuck/videos/10102866910495181/).

On June 1, three NASA astronauts took part in a special live chat with Facebook founder Mike Zuckerberg, about how astronauts spend their time in space.  The video was live streamed from the International Space Station and marked the first use of Facebook Live in space. The live-streamed video received hundreds of thousands of views while broadcast and 2.6 million views at press time.

In the video, NASA astronauts Jeff Williams, Tim Kopra and British astronaut Tim Peake are interviewed by Zuckerberg and focused on talking about things that training can’t prepare you for, and the truth about astronaut ice cream.

Check out the space video here.

McDonalds

Image from the McDonalds Facebook Live page (available at https://www.facebook.com/McDonaldsUS/videos/10153531626362014/). 

Image from the McDonalds Facebook Live page (available at https://www.facebook.com/McDonaldsUS/videos/10153531626362014/). 

McDonalds made a bold move, finally hosting it’s first Facebook Live video after avoiding live streaming videos to engage consumers for fear of criticism. The subject of their hour long video was an art show hosted by a comedian playing the part of “Bevin Burger,” who was shown to paint three burger inspired portraits in honour of National Hamburger Day, which was last Wednesday (May 25th).  The broadcast, to their surprise was well received with 80% of feedback at positive or neutral.   

McDonalds largest audience, which is 64 million followers, is on Facebook, so they decided to give it a try.  In the broadcast, they wanted to emphasize that their burgers are made with 100% real beef and have no preservatives.  The video got an audience of 1.1million people and 64,000 people engaged with it.  This video is actually really funny is non-promotional in nature. 

It is going to be exciting to see where marketers will take Facebook Live. Stay tuned!  

 

Further Reading  

Facebook.comhttps://live.fb.com/about/

Facebook.com  https://www.facebook.com/facebookmedia/best-practices/live

Forbes.com http://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2016/04/26/facebook-live-everything-you-need-to-know/#187e3e777a82

Space.com space.com/33051-facebook-live-space-astronauts-mark-zuckerberg.html

PR Week.com prweek.com/article/1397277/lessons-learned-mcdonalds-first-facebook-live-video

Explore.org on Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/endangeredanimals/?fref=ts

 

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