It's not hard to see why live streaming draws an audience. It's in real-time, it's interactive and anything can happen. Businesses of all stripes and sizes are jumping on this social media trend, like Facebook Live, to promote their brands - as they should be!
So what does it mean to go live on Facebook? Technically, it means that by tapping "Live" on the app, you'll instantly broadcast to your followers and interact with viewers in real-time as they write in their comments, questions, and reactions. It's a bold approach to gaining more exposure.
Social media's leap into video live streaming is revolutionizing the way organizations reach a broader audience, so much so that its rippling effects have expanded onto Instagram too. This comes as no surprise considering 28 million people tuned into Facebook's live streaming of the first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
Let's zoom in on the pros and cons of Facebook Live.
Photo Credit: Facebook Live
LIVE Streaming Pros
1. Increase brand awareness
No advertisement, announcement, or a history of live streams required. Anyone can start a live video stream. Popular types of live streaming are Q&A sessions, news sharing, sneak peek of a new product launch, and behind-the scenes at a live event. The feedback you receive from viewers is immediate which can serve as an excellent PR, marketing and communications tool for a brand's strategy.
2.More brand engagement
The longer you live stream, the more likely people will discover and share your video. Yes, the reach is bigger than you think. You can stay live for up to four hours at a time. It's an opportunity to humanize your brand and establish a higher engagement with your customers and social followers.
3. Cost savings
The beauty of live streaming is it’s completely free. Startups, home-based entrepreneurs, and even bigger organizations looking for easy brand exposure can spend little money on lighting, a tripod, or microphone and cable. Or they can spend $0 using natural lighting and a free helping hand to hold the mobile device camera!
4. Cuts down time
You don't need to spend time recording a video, editing the video, posting it, and everything else that goes into the process of generating content. You can offer real-time video content to your audience that's more authentic than a pre-recorded video.
5. It sticks around
Like everything else on your Facebook page, your Live video can sit there permanently and still get views. Marketers are jumping on this opportunity to use their videos for online marketing campaigns, mailing list, and repurpose them on other social media channels to boost engagement.
Live Streaming Cons
1. Technical issues
Expect the occasional technical glitches that can cause lagging, blurry videos, warped sounds, or slowness for the people that are tuned in. Unfortunately, the risk of losing viewers due to obtrusive issues is a Facebook fail.
2. Anything can happen!
It can work for you, or against you. Sometimes, going live means you might face some obstacles while filming. There's no telling what could happen! Fumbling on your words, falling over, accidently dropping the mobile phone, etc. Just stop and breath. You can always delete the evidence off of your Facebook page once you're done.
There's also running the risk of experiencing low engagement from people (or lack thereof) tuning in live to watch your live stream. This makes it difficult to get to know your followers or deliver a great video experience. We recommend preparing your Live video content beforehand in case this happens and keeping it short.
Facebook Live is accessible for all Facebook users (over 1 billion in standing). That said, it has been under pressure to tighten its Live censorship policies after several streamed footage of deadly shootings in the U.S. went viral. In their response, "The rules for live video are the same for all the rest of our content. A reviewer can interrupt a live stream if there is a violation of our Community Standards." Facebook also stated that video depicting violence will be taken down if it's celebrated, glorified, or mocks the victim.
But not the good kind. When you're in a competitive line of business, confidentiality and conduct is integral for a brand's image and strategy. Such was the the case for NFL Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver, Antonio Brown who went against the league's social media policy by using Facebook Live to celebrate with fans in real-time following the team's win in the AFC playoff game. The video amassed almost 900,000 views within a few hours.
It's hard enough for entrepreneurs to schedule a meeting in their day, let alone expedite a live video for everyone to see all at once. For those who want to boost engagement using Facebook Live, there's the question of catching people at the right time, especially if your reach extends across the globe. As a result, some brands resort to multiple live streams in a day.
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