Over the last year and a half we have seen the rise of live video streaming. Apps like Periscope and Meerkat have gained popularity quickly, and appear to be formidable ways to engage audiences. But I will be honest with you…

I am not a believer in this “live streaming craze” or rather…I wasn’t.

I wrote live video streaming off as a trend or fad. I mean it is LIVE. Broadcasting anything live seems at best a bad marketing practice and at worse a PR disaster.

But then Facebook made live streaming available for business pages. And I found out it was accessible as a regular status update. No extra app downloads, no new venues to become familiar with, really no hassle at all. I figured I had to give it a try.

Here are a few things I learned from my Facebook Live experiments:

Tell Those On Camera You are Live

My Experience:

You shouldn’t hit record unless everyone around you is aware that you are live streaming. It sounds obvious, I know, but trust me, it isn’t. During one of my test runs I started recording a friend of mine (we’ll call him Dan)  doing this RIDICULOUS dance after winning a board game. The best comparison I have is a confused flamingo trying to do the Charleston.

Anyway, when I was done filming, the video went Live and Dan wasn’t happy. Now, he is a reasonable guy, he wasn’t livid or anything, but I realized that I had screwed up in two ways:

  1. I made the assumption that he knew  I was live streaming
  2. I thought he would be okay with it

Literally everywhere we go, we have the ability to take and post pictures,  film and send videos, and now record and stream live action and events   When you pull out your phone and point it at someone, they have no clue what you are doing with it!  Dan might have thought I was sending a snapchat to some of our friends or he might have thought I was getting a funny picture of the moment, whatever he thought, he didn’t know I was live streaming. He could have done or said anything in the moment without knowing who was watching. 

Knowing Dan, it  was my assumption that he would be fine with being the new star of my Facebook Newsfeed. Some people aren’t okay with being recorded period. They don’t like being on camera, and certainly don’t want a group of random strangers to be watching them live.  Remember this and respect their wishes.

What You Can Do:

If you are using Facebook Live in your social media marketing strategy, you are going to be tempted to do candid streaming of your office, events, meetings, etc.  Don’t.

I get it. You want to show the world who you really are. You want potential clients to see the people behind your company and current clients to feel a deeper connection and loyalty towards your brand. We all do, but live streaming is a risky business.

If you start streaming your employees and collegues without their express knowledge, things could be said and done that might hurt your efforts more than help them. There is a reason you have spent hours upon hours developing a social media marketing strategy. Even live streaming should be planned. 

Edit Your Privacy Settings

My Experience:

After creating a few videos, I started getting annoyed with the fact that any one of my Facebook friends could see my live stream. I found myself longing for Snapchat’s sending process. I wanted to pick and choose who could see my live stream. In my frustration I started to explore Live a little more and found something I probably should have  known from the beginning.  You can edit the privacy settings to control who sees your video. (NOT AVAILABLE ON A PAGE)

Every time you go to stream a video you can change the privacy settings and you have a few different options. You can make it public for anyone to see, limit veiwing to just your friends list, choose a custom list of “close friends,” or create a smart list (categories include family, your area, your work place, and more) you can even make viewing only available to you!

What You Can Do:

While anything you post onto your businesses page is public, you can utilize your personal account to post industry knowledge and create conversational, engaging content for your brand. If you are nervous about trying it out, all you have to do is switch your privacy setttngs to “Only Me.” If you like the video, you can adjust the privacy after posting  so others can enjoy. The smart lists options allow you to pick and choose who will view each of your live videos, making it easy for you to create specific content for your segemented groups.

You can also invite specific people to start viewing your live stream after posting it! Just click the image of the silhoutted man with the + by his head that is in the bottom left hand corner of your screen.

Interact With Viewers

My Experience: 

Alright, I’ll be honest. I didn’t learn this one from streaming live videos of my dog stealing food off the table. In fact, I haven’t used this at all yet. I mean shouting out “thanks for the like, Hannah” would be kind of a weird thing to do when interacting on your own behalf. So we are just going to skip to how you can use it.

What You Can Do:

When streaming on Facebook Live, you can see likes, emojis, and comments as they roll in. This allows you to give shout outs and thank yous to viewers who are interacting with your brand. This kind of real time, personal response can’t be beat. You have the opportunity to let potential customers see that you care about them and appreciate their engagement. I dont’ think I need to explain how important that is to social media marketing.

So, should I use FacebookLive?

Based on  my personal experiences,  I can say that I strongly recommend the use of Facebook Live in any social media marketing strategy. It is a quick and easy way to interact with your current customers, and a great way to spread brand awareness and increase your reach. Give it a try and see what works for you!

Want to get involved with Facebook Live, but feel like you have too much on your plate? Check out our content calender template. Get organized and make the time to take your brand to the top!