For so long, social media has been about crafting perfect content. Those of us managing social media accounts are used to devoting time to getting everything just right. We edit our photos and videos and ensure the entire team approves of the written content before it is published – which might mean getting our spouse to say, “Looks good” over dinner.
Everything has changed. Well, sort of.
Carefully curated content probably isn’t going anywhere, but live streaming is the popular new girl. Don’t believe me? Check out these statistics from Livestream. According to their data, I should live stream myself presenting this information, because 82% of brand audiences prefer that to reading a blog post. If this were on Facebook Live I would instantly know if you agreed with that or not because you would be able to react to what I was saying using emoji’s, while I was saying it.
Let’s break down 3 reasons you (a present or future small business owner) should be excited about going live:
1) It is a low-cost marketing solution: Let’s get this out in the open, social media is LOW cost. That is not the same thing as NO cost. Going live enables you to reach exponentially more users than a typical post will organically (that means free). However, to get the most out of social media you will have to pay something. #sorrynotsorry. The newspaper and radio does not let you advertise for free, and neither does social media.
2) It is fun! (Or at least it should be): If you’re not having fun, you are missing out and so are your followers. Use live streaming for exciting topics: new product releases, milestones in your business, introducing your team, etc. If you just want to do a basic Q&A session, you can STILL have fun by just being relaxed enough to smile, laugh, and be yourself.
3) You get real-time analytic data: When you go live on Facebook, you get so much information about your audience. You can tell who was watching your video and when, you can see how many people stayed at least 10 seconds, how many total minutes were watched, and who the audience was (in terms of gender and age). What a gold mine!
Now let’s break down 3 reasons why your customers are excited about you going live:
1) They get to know you: Your customers want to know who you are. Going live builds your relationship with them and gives them a chance to see what you look like and how you interact with your fans.
2) It feels real: We all know that brands put a lot of effort into their appearance, and sometimes it feels a little too fake. Live streaming is real. Real people, real voices, and…real mistakes. Have you heard the buzzword “authenticity” floating around in marketing lately? The millennial generation is reputed with spurring the demand for authentic brand experiences (check out this article by AdWeek for more on that), but they are not the only ones looking for it.
3) They are getting something: Live streaming is your chance to give something away. Sneak peeks, behind-the-scenes details, and advice are all common choices. If you are wondering what you get in return, then you have not read the Livestream statistics yet.
Going live is a win-win for you and your customers! So, let’s talk about some tips for the first time you try it.
- Promote that you are going live. Use graphics, teaser videos, and other promotional content to let your followers know you are going live. If you have a newsletter or e-mail list send them an announcement. If you are connected to other businesses or local organizations (chambers, economic development agencies, main street alliances, etc.) ask them to help you promote your live stream as well!
- Be yourself. Remember, your customers want to get to know you. How would you act and dress if they were to walk into your business and talk to you?
- Skip the script (authenticity) but do have talking points (preparedness). You might get a surprising amount of interaction and never use your talking points, or you might get crickets and rely on them the whole time. Be ready for both situations.
- Practice. You can go live on your personal accounts to get a sense for how well users can hear and see you and just gain an overall confidence boost by knowing what you are doing. On Facebook, you can even change your privacy settings so that you are the only one who sees it. However, being authentic and saying “hey friends, I’m going live on my business page/account this month and I just wanted to see how this thing works” is probably totally OK, maybe even an awesome way to promote your actual live session! Your friends are your friends for a reason, right?
Here’s the deal: you just have to do it. Like everything in life, you will not know unless you try.
Not feeling so spontaneous? Here are some more expert resources to help convince and prepare you:
Entrepreneur “How to Use Facebook Live and Instagram Live to Boost Your Business”
Forbes “Get Your Business on Facebook Live Today If You Want To Reach Customers”
Social Media Examiner “5 Tips for Better Facebook Live Broadcasts”
You can do this! Set some time aside and ask yourself, “When should my business go live?”
P.s. Wondering when we first went live? Last week! Check it out in the videos section of our Facebook page!
Audrey is a Market Researcher helping Wyoming businesses statewide. Her work experience includes management roles in small businesses, creating digital and print marketing materials, and managing social media accounts.