How Brands Can Use Facebook Live to Boost Engagement and Interest

22 December 2016

How brands can use Facebook Live to boost engagement and interest

Video and the internet are a compelling combination and, now, the major social media platforms seem to be getting to grips with making it work economically. Live streaming is fast becoming a major draw, since it offers the highest level of personal engagement currently possible in the digital world. Google has long supported live streaming on YouTube and Twitter has been pushing Periscope, its own live-streaming platform. Facebook meanwhile has introduced Facebook Live.

All three platforms offer much the same capabilities but, for better or for worse, Facebook is still the major player across social media so it makes a lot of sense for companies to use this as their main, or even only, live streaming platform.

Why live stream at all?

People are accessing the internet from all kinds of devices and many of them have small screens i.e. smartphones and tablets. On these devices, watching video can be much more practical than trying to read through equivalent text, plus video gives its creator the opportunity to show as well as tell, for example to prepare a recipe on camera rather than just listing the instructions.

Live streaming takes this one step further and makes it possible for the viewers to interact with the presenter in real time. This engagement makes for a more compelling experience for the viewer and can provide useful feedback for the company.

What are the technical differences between live streaming and video?

Professional YouTubers tend to use high-standard video- and audio-recording equipment and to edit their videos carefully before they are released. Those involved with live streaming have to forego these luxuries. It is, however, highly advisable to invest in a top-quality smartphone or tablet to give the best possible quality of video. It could also be argued that getting the right presenter is even more important than it is for pre-recorded video. Video presenters know that they can re-record as often as they want until the footage is exactly how they want it. Live-streaming presenters are out there in real-time and need to be comfortable with this and able to engage with a live audience.

If live streaming is so great, why are Instagram and blogs doing so well?

Different channels serve different purposes. Live streaming is great for when you want to recreate the experience of being in the same room with a person and having a conversation. Composed pictures are great for presenting ideas in a succinct, visual and appealing way. Blogs are great for conveying detailed information. Social media influencers tend to be active across a variety of channels and these days, that is generally a good idea for brands too. Brands need to build a following and cross-pollinating across channels can be a very effective way to achieve this. For example, you could announce your live streaming with a tweet and Instagram post and end it with a pointer to a blog or Facebook post that summarises the key points and/or gives further information. Encourage more engagement by giving your loyal followers incentives such as special offers or promotional codes. Be careful with giveaways, however, as these can attract people who simply want to win the prize rather than those who are genuinely interested in your brand.