The media is all about speed: Who can get the information out there first? Who gets the ball rolling? Who will be the first to know? Social currency and trends are nothing new, but they remain just as important as they did when the terms were first invented. Facebook Live launched in April 2016, but only now is it peaking as the world’s most popular live-streaming service for both the everyday user and businesses alike. Often regarded as a “nice addition” versus an integral component of online marketing strategies, read on to discover how you can improve your audience outreach and optimise your online presence.
In a Nutshell
Facebook has more than 2 billion monthly active users, making it the most popular social network worldwide. Its live feature surpasses YouTube, Instagram and Livestream. According to Facebook’s website, “Live lets people, public figures, and Pages share live video with their followers and friends on Facebook”—but it doesn’t stop there. Like traditional posts, users can control their audience outreach from friends to public, encouraging fellow Facebook-ians around the world to reach out and follow with a single click. It’s an open playing field, democracy at its best, where anyone can take part in streaming, commenting and watching from their mobile devices around the world.
Why Facebook Live?
“Over the past year, daily watch time for Facebook Live broadcasts have grown by more than four times,” Supratik Lahiri, product manager at Facebook, explains in a press release, “one in five Facebook videos is a live broadcast.” Users are more likely to respond to real-time videos for an instantaneous connection—it’s gratifying and immediately inspires audience engagement, something that traditional marketing could never do. There’s no waiting time to hear back about a new product launch, a new feature on an app, and there’s also a sense of exclusivity between the company and user.
Once companies have sparked an interest in a potential consumer, they can then be followed via Live subscribe. From here, notifications are sent to the follower when a live broadcast is about to begin so they can tune in at the right time. People love videos. Simply scroll through your own newsfeed and take note of the amount of interaction on a video in comparison to a static shot or looping video. On average, people spend more than three times longer watching a Facebook Live video than a video that is no longer live, showcasing the urge of immediacy and sense of being in the now. In response to this, Facebook has modified their newsfeed algorithm to give higher precedence to live videos.
According to a survey conducted by Livestream and New York Magazine, 80 percent of people would rather watch a live video directly from the brand instead of reading a blog, and 87 percent would prefer to watch a live video online if it meant behind-the-scenes content. Audiences crave authenticity, and to feel as if they are part of a real community. Facebook Live is essentially reality TV for real-life people, it’s personal and offers a humanising aspect to a company through the informality of the live stream and creative tools that can be used such as filters, text and emojis. It’s simple to use and an effective tool in communicating brand stories and establishing authentic relationships, made clearer by people commenting 10 times more on Facebook Live videos than traditional ones.
Businesses on a Budget
Through Facebook Live, users feel like they witness firsthand what a day-in-the-life of the company they’re investing in really is. It secures customer loyalty. Facebook Live allows for comments to be posted during the broadcast, which provides immediate responses for the viewers, as well as valuable, real-time feedback for the company. In conjunction with this, Facebook’s algorithm doesn’t allow unpaid posts from businesses to appear in a follower’s newsfeed, but Live overthrows this, thus giving more opportunity to be exposed to a larger audience and extremely beneficial for companies on a limited budget.
Developing original video content can take time, skill and a substantial sum, but with Facebook Live, all you need is a smartphone and a bit of mirror practice. Videos can last as long as four hours, and as soon as the broadcast is over, it is saved to the page’s wall or person’s profile for followers who aren’t able to catch the live stream. Facebook also provides a plethora of information to companies on how the Live video performed. For example, businesses can check how many people the video reached, their demographics, how long they watched for and at what point the video had the highest number of live viewers.