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Facebook Live is a video streaming option that Facebook began rolling out in select markets in 2015. First available to businesses and people with verified accounts, as of early 2016 it is available to anybody who has the Facebook iOS app.
While there are other live streaming options available, such as Meerkat and Periscope, Facebook Live does have some things that make it unique:
- Unlike Periscope videos, the video is saved and will be available to you and your customers as long as you leave it on your page.
- It’s very easy to use – all you need to do is click the video icon at the top of your page and start recording.
- As you record, you can see a count of how many people are watching as well as comments from viewers, making it truly interactive.
- After you are done streaming, you can share the video on your website, blog, or even on other social media accounts.
Perhaps the most important benefit of Facebook Live is that it is free. Because it lends itself to “talking head” videos, you don’t need to spend much on production.
Creative Ideas for Using Facebook Live
As you might imagine, there are dozens of ways that you can use Facebook Live to engage your customers. Here are some that you may want to consider.
1. Unveil a new product. Do you create your own products? Are you getting a much-anticipated product in your store? A great way to build buzz and show what you have to offer is to launch a live video and show people instead of telling them. For example, if you have a boxed product, you might choose to do an unboxing video. An apparel store might reveal a new item of clothing and then have a model come out to show viewers what it looks like on a real person.
2. Do a product demonstration. This is an especially good option if your product has multiple potential uses. For example, the owner of a craft supply store might decide to do a demo showing five different ways to use a particular product. It’s a good way to sell products by showing people their versatility.
3. Are you offering an in-store class or event? Consider streaming it live so that people who are unable to attend in person can see it online. You can even create an event page on Facebook and invite people to sign up to attend. Facebook will send reminders about the event to increase the chances that people will remember to watch when the time comes.
4. If you are speaking at a conference or event, ask the event’s organizers if you can film your speech. If they agree, all you need to do is mount your phone nearby or ask someone to use your phone to film you. As long as your speech is less than 90 minutes, you can stream it on Facebook.
5. Have a Q & A session with your customers. One thing that consumers crave is personal attention from the businesses they patronize. Why not use live video to encourage questions and comments? This can be especially helpful if you offer a service because it gives you an opportunity to provide valuable information that might help a customer who’s on the fence make the decision to buy.
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6. Take a customer poll. Are you wondering what people think of your products, or what kind of content readers want to see on your blog? Instead of guessing, ask them. Go live on Facebook and ask direct questions of your viewers. They can post their responses in the comments, giving you the opportunity to have a real give-and-take with them – and ideas for future blog posts and videos.
7. Are you an artisan? Do you make your own products? If you do, Facebook Live is the perfect medium to give customers a behind-the-scenes look at what you do and how you do it. Even if your process is too long or involved to demonstrate in a single video, you can show different stages of production or talk about your creative process. When people understand what goes into making a product, they may have a greater interest in buying it than they did before.
8. If you have posted a particularly provocative or controversial blog post, use Facebook Live to read it out loud and get people to talk to you about it. You can encourage people to leave comments on the video and respond on air as you see fit.
9. Do an interview with someone interesting in your industry. For example, if you own a book store and you have an author in your store, why not ask if you can film a short interview and stream it on Facebook? You can also have someone interview you if you prefer.
As you can see, Facebook Live is incredibly versatile. It’s a way of making customers feel that they are personally connected with you even when you are miles away. It can help build brand loyalty and increase sales. Best of all, it’s a free form of marketing and one that – in the end – requires very little of your time and offers the potential to help your business to grow.