Facebook Live: Should you proceed with caution?

You pull up Facebook on your phone to quickly check your messages and notifications when you see something unusual. The little red “1” tells you that one of your favorite clothing brands is “live” right now. Do you click to investigate? Or are you annoyed that this notification wasn’t a comment from a friend?

Facebook launched its live video feature back in December of 2015, and while many music artists and publishers quickly jumped on the bandwagon, brands took more of a wait-and-see approach, with Kate Spade, Chevrolet and Southwest Airlines being some of the first to experiment, according to Ad Age.

Meanwhile, Facebook users everywhere scrambled to figure out how to turn off the livestream notifications, saying Facebook Live is “kind of irritating with the constant notifications.” Facebook took note, and recently began allowing users to turn off notifications for these live streams.

But this hasn’t stopped brands from adding it to their Facebook marketing strategy. In fact, when compared to similar live broadcasting services like Periscope, Facebook Live provides an easy way to engage with your current audience. And once you live stream a video, you can turn it into evergreen content that lives within a Facebook post. Viewers can also use Facebook Reactions to engage while watching, so you’ll instantly know how your content is performing.

Here are some examples of how brands are making Facebook streaming work for them:

Popeyes

Fast-food brand Popeyes used Facebook Live to take National Fried Chicken Day to the next level. “Popeyes Live Drive-Thru Bash” included two livestreams answering fan questions in real time and playing trivia games where viewers could enter for a chance to win free deliveries of Popeyes’ new fried boneless wings, which was the focus of the Facebook Live event. Many other fast-food chains have also taken on this trend, with McDonald’s creating burger-inspired art with a Bob Ross lookalike and IHOP livestreaming pancakes on a beach.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Met may be old, but they’re on the cutting edge of the digital age. The museum recently took to Facebook to start sharing some of the fantastic and compelling visuals on and within its esteemed walls. The museum takes fans on live walks through the museum as employees prepare for the day. They’ve also hosted live Q&A events, answering fan questions and giving pre-tours of new exhibitions. More than 50,000 people tuned in to see a 20-minute tour of its exhibition on the ancient Hellenistic city of Pergamon. Check out some of their previously live videos here.

A few tips when it comes to using Facebook Live

  1. Define your purpose

While these brands find success with Facebook Live, you should still proceed with caution. Just like any marketing strategy, it’s important to define your purpose. Before you dive in, take a moment to clearly identify your reasoning.

  • Is there a big event or product launch you want to promote?
  • Are you responding to a PR crisis?
  • Are you looking to connect to your customers on a different level?
  1. Be as engaging as possible

You’ll have to do a little extra work to ensure your Facebook Live broadcast is not only lively and energetic, but delivers on the entertainment factor. Pull your viewers into the discussion. Thank them for sticking with you and ask them to share their opinions.

  1. Think of live video as a part of a whole

The best marketing strategies are integrated across all platforms, so live video is just another tool to integrate. Not all of your followers will have time to sit and watch your live broadcast, so it can’t be a standalone program. Some audiences may not see the video live, but will come across your message on another channel that ties back and reinforces the point of your live event. Think of Facebook Live as a complement to all your other marketing efforts.

Some Facebook users might find Live notifications annoying, but that doesn’t mean your brand can’t use it as a successful tool to reach your audience. Follow the example of brands pioneering the path for Facebook Live as well as these tips to generate buzz and engage your loyal followers.

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