By: Ashlene Larson
ICYMI last Wednesday, Facebook rolled out Facebook Live, its live streaming video service to the masses. Initially available only to celebrities and verified sites, like news channels and journalists, Facebook Live now lets you broadcast everything from the sandwich you’re about to eat, to your backstage meet and greet with Taylor Swift.
Unlike Periscope or Meerkat (which you’ve likely never even heard of), you actually have followers on Facebook. A built-in audience. Which is what makes Facebook Live such an exciting tool for small business owners. You have been investing time and energy into building up your audience for years. You can now create simple videos, which can be viewed in real-time and also replayed when you’re done. Your audience can also comment as you stream, giving you immediate feedback on what they’re seeing. Now that’s what I call engagement. Although the new service certainly has multiple applications for everyone, from nonprofits to big brands, here are just a few of the ways I’d love to see small businesses jump in quickly with using Facebook Live.
1. Flash Sales
Just the other night I skeptically tuned in to a VIP Lularoe sale via Facebook Live. The consultant created a VIP group, where she streamed various pieces from her new collection before it was available for general sale. Viewers were able to comment “sold” on items they wanted. Invoice and shipping information was collected via Google Doc once the sale was done. This was a simple production (live streaming was done via iPhone), yet it was successful. Throughout the sale, she had an average of 40 people tuning in, which doesn’t seem like a lot until you envision 40 people coming into a small boutique to browse. That’s a lot of potential sales and as it turns out, she sold more than 25 pieces in an hour using this simple tactic.
2. Behind the Scenes
Live streaming is a great opportunity to take your customers to places where they can’t usually go. Heading to New York for a buying trip? Set up a Facebook Live event to give your customers a sneak peek at next season’s look book. Experimenting with new recipes at home? Go Live and get your viewers to weigh in on which recipes they would like to see on your menu.
3. Trivia Contests
I wouldn’t be doing this post justice if I didn’t at least mention one way I see this working for promotions and contests. Of course, there are multiple applications, but one thing I would love to see would be a Facebook Live trivia event where viewers compete to be “first to comment”. This would be a really fun way to drive engagement in real time with your audience and gain new followers. Plus everyone loves trivia night!
4. News Coverage
Perhaps one of the most exciting uses for Facebook Live from my perspective as a PR professional, is the ability to create your own “news coverage.” As fewer people tune in to their local news channels in the evenings, Facebook Live allows businesses to broadcast their own stories in real time. I see this working for events such as new store openings, sponsorships and donation announcements. Following the official part of the event, business owners can sit down for a real time Q&A with their Facebook audience.
If you’re not exactly sure how to get started on Facebook Live, here’s a handy guide. How would you like to use Facebook Live for your business? Leave a comment or let us know on Facebook.
Ashlene Larson is a PR and marketing consultant with a decade of experience generating positive buzz for clients. A busy mom of two girls, she often finds herself pondering the important questions in life, such as “Are leggings really pants?” Formerly a voracious reader and avid runner, Ashlene aspires to have two minutes to herself on any given day. Connect & check out some of her work at: www.AshleneLarsonpr.com.