Unlocking the Potential of Live Video Streaming

If you are on Facebook, then you’ve probably noticed a rise in the number of Facebook Live videos streaming in your news feed. Chances are that you’ve even stumbled across a few that piqued your interest, or maybe you even sought them out specifically.

What you may not have fully grasped is the marketing potential of Facebook Live, and how to unlock that potential.


What is Facebook Live?

Facebook Live is a live streaming application available through Facebook. Users can use their phone or webcam to play a live video of themselves (or whatever they choose to shoot) to their followers. Followers can then comment in real time, and hit ‘like’, ‘love’ or any of the other reactions now available on Facebook. The reactions then float across the screen, indicating to you and other viewers how other people are reacting in real time.

Facebook launched Facebook Live in August of 2015 for certain public figures. It then became available to a wider (but still restricted) group, and then shortly thereafter it became available to everyone. This strategy was designed to maintain a high level of quality in order to set the tone for future applications by the wider public.

Alternatives to Facebook Live

We’ll focus on Facebook Live simply because it is perhaps the most ‘mainstream’ live streaming app, with the greatest marketing potential, but alternatives do exist. Periscope, Blab, Google+ Hangouts, Meerkat, LiveStream, Streamup, and others are all available and many already have large, dedicated communities. Some are even creating their own micro-economy with streamers fulfilling paid requests, or receiving donations. Many of the principles below are applicable to these other streaming services as well.


Periscope was the ‘original’ live streaming video service. Twitter snapped up the service before it officially launched on March 26, 2015. By August, 2015 Periscope had already surpassed 10 million accounts, with 40 years worth of videos being watched every single day.

Businesses quickly jumped on the Periscope bandwagon, using the streaming service to give candid, behind the scenes access to their industry. Adidas used Periscope to live stream Real Madrid star James Rodriguez signing an endorsement contract with the company. EA Sports streamed Madden 15 before the game was officially released to build hype, and Spotify was an early adopter, live streaming an indie concert just days after Periscope officially launched.

Other companies in diverse industries have also taken advantage of periscope in notable campaigns, including: Target, Mountain Dew, Red Bull, Taco Bell, and many more.

Why Facebook?

Facebook’s popularity at this point should go without saying, but as a reminder: as of 2015 59% of Canadian Internet users were on Facebook, and half of this group went on Facebook two times or more per day. Twitter meanwhile claims only one-quarter of Canadian Internet users, while LinkedIn does a bit better with 30%, and Instagram (despite growing quickly with a large potential) still lags behind the pack with just 16% of Canadian Internet users.

Facebook is also virtually evenly split by gender, and has a large following across almost all age demographics, only falling below 50% in the 55-64 year-old demographic. Still, according to AdWeek, one-third of the seniors who use the Internet are now on Facebook.

How to Use Facebook Live to Market to Customers

Using Facebook Live is easy, simply:

  • Access it through your profile, and click “record and share a live video”
  • Write a description that will pique people’s interest (remember they will be scanning their newsfeed so be sure to stand out!)
  • Choose your audience (like all status updates you can decide who can see your update before publishing)
  • Start filming!
  • During the broadcast you will see the number of viewers in real time, and you can invite them to subscribe to live notifications by clicking on the small downward arrow in the top right of the screen. Doing so means that the next time you stream they will receive a notification straight away. Users now have the ability to turn notifications on and off in their notification settings.
  • Once your broadcast is over it will appear on your timeline so it can be viewed later.

Facebook Live Best Practices

Facebook offers its own “Tips for Using Facebook Live” which anyone looking to live-stream should check out. They suggest you:

  • Tell people before you live stream, and build excitement
  • Make sure you have a good Internet connection (nothing will turn people away faster than a distorted, choppy video)
  • Write an effective description
  • Ask visitors to follow you
  • Respond to commenters and address them by name to add a personal touch
  • Broadcast for between 10 and 90 minutes – anything shorter will be too quick to capture a large audience and anything longer will be too long to keep your audience’s attention.
  • Be creative and be regular – that way you’ll grow in popularity.

In addition to these tips you should also be sure to adhere to general filming best practices. Find the right lighting, speak clearly, make sure that the audio is working, and be prepared for the unexpected – remember you are live!

Facebook Live Content

The type of content you publish is only limited by your imagination. Some of the most popular content includes “behind the scenes” access, events and concerts, news, commentary on current events and industry insights, and daily updates.

Facebook Live Success Stories

Although Facebook Live is a relatively new addition to the world’s favourite social media platform, it already has some big success stories for businesses and individuals. Candace Payne became ‘Internet famous’ when she live-streamed herself donning a Chewbacca mask and instantly went viral. Payne became the most watched Facebook Live video of all time, and proved that your video can have a lasting impact long after the live stream has ended. By December 2016, Payne’s video was viewed by more than 85 million people.

News services are one of the major beneficiaries of Facebook Live as more and more networks regularly stream live newscasts dealing with a specific topic (or set of topics). Facebook live is a great way to react to breaking news stories in your industry. But, journalistic content isn’t the only option for businesses. Dunkin Donuts released a “behind the scenes” style video as their inaugural Facebook Live stream, and within 13 minutes had over 21,000 people watching!

Get Started on Facebook Live

Facebook Live is a fast developing, exciting new marketing platform. Become an early adopter and your brand will benefit.

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