Facebook Live is a new feature that allows users to livestream to their friends. As a marketer, what you need to know is that this feature is coming about on the heels of two trends: increased video consumption online, and instant updates to followers.
The way it works is that users start streaming from their Facebook applications, most likely on a smartphone or iPad, and the users followers can tune in to the broadcast live. Once the broadcast is ended, it becomes permanently available on the users timeline to be accessed whenever you want. It’s an impressive feature–but does that mean you need to spend your time trying it out?
The answer depends on your marketing goals. Do you want to try Facebook Live because it serves a need in your existing marketing plan? Or do you want it because it’s new and you have an itch? Or, even worse, because everyone else seems to be talking about it and you’re anxious of being left behind?
I see my clients falling into the trap of “Shiny Object Syndrome” when it comes to trying out new applications. When consistency and perseverance are what’s desperately needed by new marketing channels, folks tend to flit from fad to fad instead. Everyone and their mother are writing blog posts and articles about whatever new thing Facebook is doing at the moment. This is because they’re a leader in social media and marketing. This doesn’t necessarily mean that Facebook is a leader that your company should be following, however.
Facebook is pushing their new feature hard, of course, with their existing users. They might even be pushing it harder than with previous features and updates. A banner ad appeared in my Facebook feed calling on me to watch a video explaining “How to go Live even if you don’t think you have anything to go Live about”.
This is a marker of the times, I think, and the current climate of social media in marketing. Facebook Live is tapping into the need to be generating content always, and the trend of fast-and-frequent rather than occasional-and-quality. On the downside, I think it’s also tapping into the trend of “say anything, even if you don’t have anything worth saying”. That’s not to say that some marketers aren’t going to do some awesome and innovative things with Facebook Live. I just know that many will jump in without a plan.
If your marketing plan calls for video and frequent updates with your followers, then yes, you absolutely need to know what Facebook Live is and how it works. Forbes suggests “you might live-stream a major company announcement, a seminar, or some other participatory event, or you could aim for something more content-intensive like an interview or a whiteboard strategy session”. I think these are good ideas for practical applications of Facebook Live.
At the end of the day, you need to ask yourself this question: if you want to try out Facebook Live, are you fulfilling your plan or chasing a fad?
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