Should You Use Facebook Live For Business? Maybe...Maybe Not!

Facebook Live is often a top choice for brands wanting to increase their engagement - and it doesn’t take a great deal of expertise to pull off.  But it isn't for everybody and it isn't worth the time IF you don't understand the focus behind the film.

Truth be told, any video feed can be useful in building your brand online - the key is to compel your views to interact...not just view and comment.  Whether it's a live stream or a pre-recorded video, the ultimate goal should always be to ENGAGE your audience...in more ways than one!

We like to believe that the audience is ENGAGED just by what we're sharing; while good content should be a priority for all video feeds, the opportunity most Facebook Live users miss is the opportunity to ENGAGE the audience in REAL-TIME.  

There are some serious pitfalls to be aware of, and falling into these could seriously harm your brand.

If you want to successfully launch a Facebook Live campaign, here are a few things to consider to avoid disaster.  

1. Looking like you don’t know what you’re doing, rambling off-topic, or using it to 'sell sell sell', are all things that could rub your audience the wrong way. Amateur Facebook Live streams work well to share something off-the-cuff - a good example of that is video feed that is covering a crime scene for instance.  However, IF YOU FACEBOOK LIVE for the purpose of building your brand and your business...it takes preparation, promotion, planning, and as close to perfection as you can get.

2.  Not clear in your heading and description - when you’re setting up your live broadcast, Facebook gives you the option to add a heading and description. This is your chance, not only to get your video found online but also to encourage more views.

Tip:  Use language that makes your video seem imperative to watch - make it compelling - INFLUENCE your target audience.  Never, EVER use industry jargon.

3.  Making it too short - One of the benefits of Facebook Live is that it offers a long time limit -  up to 4 hours!   I’m not suggesting you make your live posts a full four hours long, but your Facebook audience won’t be expecting short snippets of footage from you, so make sure you don’t cut off prematurely. You aren't LIVE to videos of your pets or your latest meal - you're Live to INFLUENCE an audience!  

Tip:  Ideally, you want to make your live stream at least 10 minutes long. The longer you’re live, the more discoverable your stream will become.

4. Using it as a sales pitch

Facebook Live audiences are not looking for a sales pitch. It’s a social medium, so they’re tuning in to find out more about YOU - who you are and what you stand for -  not to get sold to.  Leave the sales pitch up to Facebook ads.

Tip: Take some time to consider the goal of your live stream. What do you want to convey and how do you want your audience to respond?  What are you fishing for? Use it to engage people with your brand, not to hard-sell.

5.  Awkward pauses - Facebook Live audiences can be fleeting - they might tune in to see what you have to say, but can just as easily click away if they don’t feel engaged. It’s your job to keep up the momentum and keep talking to the topic at hand.

Top tip: The key to making your live video seem effortless is to prepare well in advance, and practice until perfect. If necessary, have some cue cards with you to avoid getting flustered, but avoid reading from a script.

Remember to keep on message, and include a call-to-action. What do you want your viewers to do once they’ve seen your live video?

Similarly, not rising to the occasion and engaging with your audience in real-time is a missed opportunity.

Avoid these pitfalls, however, and you could see your engagement soar. Test which of your live broadcasts do best, then tweak your strategy as you go to get the most out of Facebook Live.

6.  Making it low-quality - To create a decent Facebook Live broadcast, you don’t need all the gadgets and you don’t have to be a professional. Having said that, a poor-quality video will run the risk of damaging your brand.

Tips: The first thing is your camera. Most smartphone cameras stand up to live-streaming, but if not, you can pick up compact camcorders for a reasonable price.

Secondly, a tripod or similar will help steady your camera. There’s nothing more annoying than a shaky picture.

Other things to consider are the audio and lighting.  

Make sure you’re in a quiet space. If there’s more than one of you speaking then you may want to invest in external microphones.

Then there’s lighting - make sure your subject is well-lit, whether that be from natural light or lamps.

7.  Alienating your audience - When Facebook Live is done well it can encourage a two-way engagement between you and your audience via the comments feed.

It takes a bit of multitasking to respond to live questions as you’re concentrating filming, but if you ignore your audience interactions, then you risk not only missing out on the opportunity to engage but losing fans along the way.

Tip: Look at the camera when you’re speaking, as if to talk directly to each of your followers. And when people comment, answer them by name.

8.  Broadcasting to an empty theatre

You’ve put in the work to provide a great piece of live content for your audience then you click to 'go live', and you have zero in your audience.  Either you’ve failed to let them know it’s happening, or you’ve timed it badly and they’re all asleep.

Tip: Make sure you promote your live stream well in advance. You might even offer incentives for people to watch it.

Facebook Live isn't for everybody but everybody CAN make it work as a branding tool IF they set out to stream WITH PURPOSE in mind!   

 

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