Facebook Live has been around since 2016. Although many companies have made social video a bigger part of their marketing plans, some are still hesitant to use this powerful feature.
Perhaps that’s understandable. Many brands still don't feel comfortable fitting social media into their marketing strategy. This is especially true for videos on social.
But Facebook is still the largest social network (and one of the biggest companies) in the world. And Instagram is the fastest-growing social platform. Both continue to give you chances to talk to consumers and build brand awareness.
These platforms have developed live video for a reason: they believe in it. This medium isn’t going away, and it’s likely time for you to get on board.
Here are 8 excellent reasons why Facebook (and Instagram) live might be right for your brand.
1. It builds extra buzz around events
You’re likely already hosting live events. These could be webinars, meetups, or presentations.
Live social video gives you the chance to share these far and wide and extend your audience beyond just the people in the room. As viewers respond and engage, the event shows up on more timelines and news feeds, creating even greater reach.
The big question you’ll have is whether your brand’s events are right for Facebook. And even more likely, whether they’re right for Instagram. These platforms are mostly used by people in their private lives, and some events just don’t make sense to share here.
For example, A B2B webinar on how SaaS companies can increase profit margins probably doesn’t work for most Instagram users.
Facebook has become such a broad platform that most helpful content can have a place. You can even broadcast live to specific Facebook groups where you know there will be interest. If you’ve spent the time to curate groups for your brand, this feature will really come in handy.
Share live clips from events and find out whether Facebook followers take interest. There’s really no better method than testing.
2. It doesn’t cost much
Facebook is free! And depending on the equipment you have around you, using Facebook Live may not cost you an extra cent. It’s just a question of the hardware you use, since the technology doesn’t cost a thing.
If you want it to look professional, it’s best to have a decent camera. This is an important investment if you plan to produce video content of any kind, and it may be one you’ve already made.
But Facebook Live doesn’t have to look “professional.” The fact that it’s quick and casual is all part of the charm. You just need to be sure that this matches your brand guidelines.
You can choose to go for the proper camera, buy some lights, and even create a backdrop. Or you can make do with a cellphone camera or computer webcam. You can even livestream your next webinar on Facebook Live, and share a Powerpoint presentation.
Again, it’s best to test.
As a bonus, these videos also shouldn’t cost you time. If you’re streaming webinars and events you’ve already prepared, it’s simply a matter of getting the stream live.
3. It lets you interact with your audience in their space
As digital marketers, we spend a lot of time trying to get people to come to us. Through SEO and social ads, we push so hard for an extra few clicks and blog views.
But instead of always trying to draw new viewers in, why not go to where they are?
Facebook and Instagram Live let you take your message to potential customers. You know they’re on social media - everyone is - and they’re constantly checking their feeds.
Livestreaming gives them the chance to discover your brand and marketing message in a new environment. Viewers have their guard down, and you’re able to reach them with exciting information live.
The content is already engaging and interesting - that’s just the nature of live video. You also gain from where the content lives.
Not every buyer wants to visit your website, but they do want to see what’s on their Facebook feed.
4. Live video is more engaging
You’re probably reading this because you know that video marketing is important. Video content is being consumed more than ever, and social networks continue to prioritise this format.
But there’s video, and then there’s live video.
Agorapulse found that their Facebook Live videos received 222% more reach than their regularly uploaded video posts, and 1389.90% more comments. That’s a pretty astonishing result!
Facebook itself found that people watch Facebook Live videos 3x longer on average than other videos. This has to be a big part of the reason why Facebook Live now makes up more than one in five of all videos on the platform.
Together, these statistics mean that brands have longer to deliver their message when live, and that the audience seems to pay closer attention throughout.
As marketers, these numbers are hard to ignore. You want potential buyers to discover your brand and listen to what you have to say.
Social media livestreams make that possible.
5. It gives you immediate feedback
One nice aspect of Facebook Live is the ability to talk with viewers in real time. They can leave comments and immediate reactions.
This is a great way to connect with viewers. But it also lets you ask followers for their reactions to new ideas or products.
For example, you can include polls and questionnaires in your webinars and presentations. And now instead of just limiting these to the audience in the room, you’ll receive responses from your social followers too.
You can also use breaking industry news in this way too. Go live to give your own reaction (or perhaps your CEO’s) to important industry updates, and then open the discussion to everyone watching.
This is again a nice way to make a connection, but you’ll also find out how the news has been received by your audience.
Lastly, for brands with a large enough Facebook following, you could test out unveiling new features. Show users what a new product looks like and how it works, and tease the full release. That way, you’ll have people excited about new features and eager to try them for themselves.
6. You can go live on multiple Pages
Active social brands don’t need to limit themselves to just one Facebook Page. You might have Pages for different languages or locations, or specific Pages for various branches of the business.
Facebook actually lets owners “Simulcast” across their various pages at once. So if you have huge news that applies to all of your Pages, this is a great way to reach all of them at once.
Suppose you’re a company like Adobe. Your audience includes designers who use the Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, and more), filmmakers using Premiere and After Effects, and website builders who use Dreamweaver.
Most of these tools have their own Facebook pages and user groups. Plus there’s the Adobe company Facebook page, and pages for Adobe UK, Adobe Education Summit - you get the picture.
If it had a significant update to share - something that affected all Adobe users - the company could go live across all of these pages at once.
It’s not something you’d want to do often, but it’s nice to know that this possibility exists.
7. “Live” doesn’t mean “one time only”
The most interesting and exciting aspect of Facebook Live is the fact that it’s, well, live. But that doesn’t mean that you only have one chance to use this video.
You can easily save your live streams to your camera roll, and every Facebook or Instagram Live is saved as a video to your profile (unless you want to remove it, of course).
This is useful, especially for marketers who worry that they are producing content for a limited time only. Some brands might be hesitant to put time and effort into a video that’s not going to last.
Actually it shouldn’t cost too much of either, and you’ll have the video to use however you like once you’re finished.
Even if the live video wasn’t the smooth and polished success you were hoping for, the raw footage can still be useful.
Simply break it up into chunks to use in your Stories or blog posts, and create quotable chunks to use in your timelines.
And you can always re-publish and promote the full video if it was a roaring success.
8. It puts a human face on your business
Perhaps more than ever, companies care about the public face they’re putting out. Corporate responsibility is hugely important, and customers love to buy from brands they can believe in.
And yes, there’s absolutely a place for slick, carefully scripted video for social media. You want to ensure that your products look good and that you give off the right image to buyers.
But sometimes it’s nice to show the real people who make the products.
This not only makes your company look human, but it’s also great for hiring. It shows you value your team, something which new potential hires will notice.
Here are a few video formats that are great for this:
- Live Q&A videos to talk directly to customers. They ask, you answer.
- Quick reaction videos about industry news. Let the smart people in your business prove that they know what they’re talking about.
- Behind-the-scenes sneak peeks to show viewers inside the business.
And even if you do still want to carefully script and rehearse videos, the fact that it’s live will undoubtedly lead to minor mistakes. This can humanize your company in the best possible way.
When people mispronounce a word or flub their lines, it doesn’t have to be embarrassing. In fact, this can be completely charming.
So those were eight great reasons why Facebook and Instagram Live can be useful for your business. But there’s another great way to make easy and affordable video that converts - webinars.
How do you know which to use?
Facebook Live vs live webinars
We’ve seen a range of different scenarios in which Facebook Live can be a powerful tool. But you’re probably also already aware of how popular webinars have become for brands - especially for marketers.
So if you’re one of those marketers, which option should you choose? How do you know when to opt for Facebook Live or host a webinar?
Here are several instances where webinars are more useful than Facebook Live videos.
When you want your sessions to be gated
The obvious situation where you’d almost always choose a webinar is when you’d rather keep your video exclusive. For most marketers this is the case when you’re trying to generate leads.
You keep the webinar gated, and require attendees to provide their details in order to join.
By contrast, most Facebook Live videos are public, open, and visible to anyone. Of course, most of your viewers will be your Facebook followers and their friends, but in theory anyone could watch.
The downside to this is that you won’t necessarily know who watched, and you won’t be able to capture lead information as easily. That doesn’t have to be a bad thing - perhaps you’d rather build brand awareness and improve your social media presence.
Note: You can also host public webinars, and even simulcast your webinars to Facebook Live.
When you want to look more professional
Facebook Live is perfect for casual conversations and spontaneous events. But when you want to demonstrate just how organized and experienced your organization is, webinars are a better choice.
Webinar tools are built specifically for businesses, with professional interfaces and clean screensharing.
They also tell you who’s in the session, so you’re able to address participants directly. This lets you create more interaction throughout the presentation, and makes it feel more organized.
And let’s face it, most people use Facebook in their personal lives. So it’s always going to feel less professional. That’s part of the charm of Facebook Live sessions - they’re not supposed to feel like the boardroom.
When you have plenty of planning time
As we said above, Facebook Live is absolutely perfect for spontaneous content. If you have a guest expert in the office or want to answer viewer questions for five minutes, this is a great format.
But a well-planned, carefully constructed webinar is just better. You can create beautiful webinar slides, run polls, and have guest speakers join from anywhere in the world.
And although Facebook Live works great as an informal, off-the-cuff channel, it’ll never quite have the polish and precision of a live webinar.
When you want to choose your audience
Another good and bad aspect of Facebook Live is the fact that it’s so accessible. Pretty much anyone can tune in.
That’s wonderful if you’re presenting a nice broad topic that suits pretty much everyone. But what if you want to be more specific? What if you only want to speak with CFOs, or chartered accountants?
If your topic is too niche, it may actually negatively affect your followers. They may wonder whether you’re the right fit.
By contrast, a webinar lets you invite whomever you like. If you only want to speak to CFOs, you choose the right topic that appeals specifically to them. Then you send emails and create targeted social ads that’ll fall into the right hands.
If your message is clear, you can be confident that only the right leads will attend your webinars. With Facebook Live, you rely on the right people seeing it in their feeds. Which is just a little less precise.
It all depends on your goals
Webinars and Facebook Live aren’t mutually exclusive. You can and should use both if you want to make the maximum impact with video marketing.
The one you choose for a given project really depends on what you’re trying to achieve. Here’s what we’d suggest:
Ideal for Facebook live
- Videos to increase brand awareness
- Teasers and sneak peeks of new products
- Quick reactions to breaking news and trends
- Q&A videos for people who aren’t necessarily active users or customers
- Short interviews with industry experts
Perfect for webinars
- Qualification and nurturing presentations for marketing and sales
- Onboarding walkthroughs for new customers
- Deep dives into industry topics that require slideshows and analysis
- Masterclasses for current customers
- Any videos that you want to keep gated
Of course, there are countless other ways to use both Facebook Live and webinars. And as mentioned above, you can even livestream your next webinar to Facebook Live for the best of both worlds.
Hopefully it’s clear that we think Facebook Live is an excellent marketing and branding tool. Marketers are always looking for new and interesting ways to deliver their messages, and Facebook has built a worthy tool.
Plus, it’s easy to use and fun.
Likewise, we feel strongly that every brand needs a good webinar strategy. Like Facebook Live, webinars let you deliver content in a way that’s easy to understand and more entertaining than blog posts and ebooks. (We love those too, by the way).
The big takeaway is to use both hand-in-hand: social livestreams are for when you want to communicate with lots of followers, fast, and webinars when you have more specific marketing and customer success goals.
And of course, it’s all about testing. Try things out, make mistakes, and figure out how these increasingly important video marketing tools can work for you.
Have you tried either of these strategies? Which do you prefer? Let us know in the comments section below.