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3, 2, 1, We’re [Facebook] Live!

It’s no secret that social media is moving away from highly produced content, particularly video. These days, people want raw and real – an unfiltered window into the lives of others.

Up until now, Periscope and Snapchat, to name a few, have owned this space and have mastered this genuine experience for users – so far.

Now, Facebook wants to give these competitors a run for their money.

On the morning of April 6, Facebook officially rolled out the red carpet to their newly-improved live streaming feature: Facebook Live

Facebook is now giving you a way to share your life with friends in real-time (this goes for brands and their fans, too). The new Facebook Live feature enables users to share moments in time instantly from their smartphones with a hit of a button.

“Bringing a little TV studio to users’ pockets”

Facebook’s Chief Product Officer Chris Cox told “CBS This Morning” about their game-changing technology.

If you’ve kept up with Facebook in the last year, you know that Facebook Live isn’t exactly new. Facebook launched the capability in August of 2015, but only to celebrities, public figures and other verified Facebook users, like journalists. It wasn’t until December that the company rolled it out to the rest of the public via Facebook’s iOS and Android apps. By February 2016, Facebook Live was gaining vast momentum and it quickly became clear that it was the “next big thing.”

“People spend more than 3x more time watching a Facebook Live video on average compared to a video that’s no longer live.”

~ Facebook

Because of this, in March 2016, Facebook started to consider Live Videos as a totally new content type – separate from traditional video – and started to rank them higher in users’ news feeds. Videos that are currently live will now appear more prominently in the news feed versus videos that are no longer live. It comes down to the fact that users are much more interested in moments as they are happening, not after the fact.

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So, let’s dive into what Facebook Live has to offer:

TOP FEATURES

Discovery

  • A map that displays where everyone in the world is going live. Circles show how big, or small, a Live broadcaster’s audience is.
  • Shows who is Live right now, especially from friends and pages that matter most to you.
  • Topics you care most about – sports, pop culture, health, etc.
  • Search section to expedite discovery. Facebook will offer suggestions, too.
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Reactions to Live Videos in Real-Time
No longer do you only have to offer one reaction in a static way. You can now react (“wow,” “like,” “haha,” etc.) to a video as it plays, offering numerous feelings throughout. Viewers of the video will see these animated reactions stream – floating them across the bottom of the video as they roll in. If a reaction comes from a person you follow, their profile picture will pop up, too.

Replay Comments
People comment 10x more on Facebook Live videos than on regular videos. With that said, Facebook Live will replay comments as they happened during the live broadcast when people watch it later.

Event & Group Live Video
Users can go live through Facebook Groups and Events broadcasting live to other members in the group. You can share a workout plan to a fitness group or go live from a birthday party or wedding for those who can’t make it.You can also use Facebook Events to schedule and conduct a live Q&A.

Invite a Friend
You now have the option to invite a friend to watch with you right from the live video.

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How it works

Your brand can be Live in no time with these simple steps:

  1. Log into the Facebook iOS app or Facebook Android app
  2. Tap publish at the top of your Timeline, News Feed or Page
  3. Write an optional description for your broadcast
  4. Tap Go Live to begin your broadcast
  5. When you want to end your broadcast, tap Finish.


*SPECIAL NOTES:
You can only stream live for 30 minutes. Once your broadcast is done, your video will live on your Timeline or Page like any other video. You can then boost the video afterwards, if you’d like.

FB Live

How brands can maximize this new feature

There is nothing users like more than behind-the-scenes footage of their favorite brands, products and public idols.

“Because it’s live, there is no way it can be curated and because of that it frees people up to be themselves. It’s live; it can’t possibly be perfectly planned out ahead of time. Somewhat counterintuitively, it’s a great medium for sharing raw and visceral content.” – Zucherberg said in a phone interview the day before the Live Launch.

This gives brands a unique opportunity to build credibility, loyalty, trust and relationships with their customers. The content isn’t fabricated. It’s real. People appreciate real and like to invest their time and money in brands they truly know and trust.

Not sure how to tackle live video broadcasting for your company?

7 ways brands should consider using live broadcasting

  1. Behind-the-scenes event coverage: This is the biggest opportunity for brands to show real-time footage that can’t be consumed anywhere else.
  2. Celebrity takeovers: If a brand has a celebrity spokesperson or influencer, they could let that person take over their account and stream live from the brand account.
  3. Test Ideas: Live streaming is a way to throw out ideas and see if they stick. Brands can see if users join the conversation or ignore the topic – almost like instant feedback.
  4. Use in place of webinars: A live video broadcast in place of a webinar can be more authentic, genuine and conversational.
  5. Hold Q&A’s: Instead of sending users to customer service reps all the time, use this platform to answer questions that your customer’s ask all the time.
  6. Conduct live interviews: Put the spotlight on your CEO, sponsored athlete, event guest speaker, retail store head, field experts and other higher profile members to answer industry and fan questions.
  7. Hop on hot topics: The next time a news item hits headlines, use a live broadcast to comment. But do so only if it’s in your industry and your expertise can provide value to the topic at-hand and to your audience.

What’s next for Facebook Live?

Word on the street is that Facebook Live is going straight for traditional broadcast. They’ve already attempted to win the rights to stream NFL on Thursday nights. There have been talks with high profile celebrities, too, about paying them to make Live Videos. In our opinion, it smells like trouble for TV networks; if Facebook Live can generate the same kind of audiences that a regular cable channel can, then why would any brand or figure pay the big bucks for a 30-second TV spot ever again?

In-stream ad options are also coming down the pipeline for publishers. After BuzzFeed went live on Facebook and drew 800,000 viewers at one point, Facebook is now considering testing commercials right in the live stream. Sources say this option is months off and ad formats – mid-roll or display ad – are undecided.

It will be interesting to see where the world of live streaming goes…

What do you think is next?

Interested in using Facebook Live for your brand? Contact us today and we can work to integrate these updates into your brand strategy.

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