On Friday, 8th April, ‘watermelon’ became a trending topic on both Facebook and Twitter. This was a result of a Facebook Live video put up by BuzzFeed. The video featured two Buzzfeed employees who were testing how many rubber bands you could put on a watermelon before it exploded. The video was shot with just an iPhone (on a tripod) and a microphone connected to a drumstick. By the time The 44 minute video ended, it had acquired an audience of 800,000 concurrent viewers. As at 13th April, the video had attracted more than 10 million views and over 320,000 comments.
In this article we discuss the new live video broadcasting application by Facebook. We discuss how it can help your business. We find out how your business can use this application. And finally what you need to know to succeed with Facebook Live (on your business/fan page).
What is it?
Mobile Live streaming involves broadcasting live (in the moment – as it is happening or as close to real time as possible) videos. It is like opening up a window to the world around you. Mobile Live videos have been around for quite some time now. The introduction of Meerkat in March 2015 helped to open up an exciting era. This paved way for all kinds of possibilities in marketing with videos on social media. Other Live applications like Periscope and Younow (both mobile and desktop) are also available for free. Desktop live streaming video applications like Blab and Google hangouts have been around as well.
Facebook Live was launched about a year ago as Facebook Mentions. Only celebrities and public figures with verified Facebook accounts had access to it. After a few tweaks and improves the option of live streaming is open to ‘ordinary people’ and pages worldwide. This feature is not available to everyone right now though.
The benefits of Facebook Live for Businesses
According to Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, “Live is like having a TV camera in your pocket. Anyone with a phone now has the power to broadcast to anyone in the world.” So why is Facebook Live important to your business?
- Cost: Using Live for the purposes of marketing and connecting with your brand’s audience is cheaper and easier than using traditional media like Television to get that same message across. Little resources are needed to give your Live videos a go.
- Interactive: Live involves multimedia content which allows for interactivity in present time. During Live streams, viewers may even direct the course of a video through their questions and requests.
- Intimate: Connecting with audiences in real time when done the right way can create a level of intimacy. Depending on the type of content you create, you can draw your audience in and make them feel part of your world, your brand and the video.
- Genuine: Live video smacks of genuineness. They are unpolished and unedited, they are raw and uncut. In a world where customers are daily bombarded with advertisements, deciphering the truth becomes difficult. Live is thus a great way to communicate authenticity and build trust with your audience.
- Ready-made audience: Your fans (anyone who has liked your Facebook Page) can discover your live videos in their News Feeds. This gives you access to an already inbuilt audience for your videos. Besides, your fans will receive notifications when they subscribe to your Live video broadcasts. People who frequently engage with or have recently interacted with your Page may also receive a notification when you are Live.
- Permanence: Videos broadcasted with Facebook Live do not expire and disappear after they have aired (unlike other live streaming services such as Meerkat or Periscope). Your Live video turns into a recording after you are done. It is published and available on your Timeline for your audience to watch at a later date.
- Promote: You can boost the video with Facebook advertising for further reach!
- Narrative: Live videos capture the essence of the event as it is happening. Hence if a picture is worth a thousand words, the value of a video and furthermore a live one is considerable. Imagine shooting a Live video of an occurrence as a replacement for a status update (in words) describing the same event. Some people are gifted with the ability of bringing words alive but for others a video would say more. In summing up, Facebook Live gives your content life.
How to start a Facebook Live video
- Click publish or post (depending on the device your are using)
- Tap the Live silhouette icon in a status update. The icon is a graphic of a human head with a halo like effect around it. See figure 3.
- Describe the video you are about to make.
- Go live!
Note: anything published on a Fan/Business page is public.
Features of Facebook Live
Facebook Live has features which if harnessed creatively can provide new marketing opportunities for businesses. These include:
• Time limit: you can broadcast a Live video up to 30 minutes. This is the time it will take for an episode of some television programmes.
• Live reactions: viewers of your Live feed can append Facebook’s Reaction emojis to the footage as it is playing in real time. Anyone re-watching the video would see the reactions and comments just as they occurred in real-time.
• Discovery: A desktop-only Facebook Live Map allows users to explore content from other users around the world. This map shows you Live videos being currently broadcasted around the globe. According to Fidji Simo (Product Management Director of Facebook), “The Facebook Live Map gives you a window into what’s happening in the world right now.” Public Live stream shows up as a blip on the map. You can also discover live videos in the Trending menu and in search results. Visit https://www.facebook.com/livemap to view the live map (see figure 4 ). From my experience however, the live map is not accurate in terms of locations of Live feeds especially those from Africa.
Figure 4 – A desktop screen shot from www.facebook.com/livemap. It shows the Live feed I clicked on (at the top) with the number of viewers and the comments at the right side of the video. Beneath it are thumbnails of other Live videos streaming from around the world.
• Filters: has added five filters to choose from whilst you shoot your Live video. These filters can be changed quickly to improve lighting without equipment. Filters are not available to all accounts as yet. In the near future, as announced by Facebook, you will have the ability to draw or doodle right onto your video in real time.
Next week we will discuss how you can use Facebook Live for your business. We will include examples of how some businesses have implemented this feature. We would also share tips on how to make your Facebook Live streaming a success.
Do you have Facebook Live for your business page yet? Do share! Let me know if you also found this article helpful. Kindly leave your comments here. suggestions and questions are also welcome.