As a marketer, you know how important it is to create a connection with your audience.
It’s essential for slashing through the barriers that divide us, for establishing a unique brand identity, and for building trust.
There have been times I’ve been successful in doing so. But at other times, I’ve fallen flat.
It’s getting easier than ever to create a unique connection because we now have the technological tools to do so.
One of the best tools enabling you to do this is Facebook Live, which “lets people, public figures and Pages share live video with their followers and friends on Facebook.”
The concept is simple. You record a live video your audience can watch in real time and respond to by commenting.
It’s a cool concept, but should you be doing this?
People love videos.
Over 90% of Internet traffic comes from video content.
Facebook Live provides the perfect framework for connecting, and its personable nature is ideal for facilitating interaction.
In fact, initial data has found that people comment over 10 times more on Facebook Live videos than on regular videos.
Not only do people love watching videos, but they are also actively searching for more.
The number of comments can show the popularity of live videos on Facebook too.
Facebook users comment on these videos at 10 times the rate of commenting on regular videos.
Keep an eye on these comments. Reply to your viewers if you can.
You can reply verbally or type the responses.
It’s a great way to interact with your customers and keep them engaged.
Here are some psychological behaviors that impact and create engagement:
- desire to be recognized
We’ll discuss these in more detail as we go through some examples, but here is a quick overview of each emotion.
People are curious by nature. You can use this information to your advantage while you’re streaming a live video.
People also want to be recognized. Mention them by name or username.
If a user makes a comment, acknowledge it. Say thank you or give them a shout out.
This will also give them a sense of control if their comment affects your decision.
Since live videos don’t last long, it’s an exclusive feeling for the viewers. They are part of a smaller group as opposed to just one of the thousands of followers you may have.
But how can you ensure your videos are engaging?
Here are some effective ways to implement live video in your business.
1. Consider investing in some equipment
First things first. You really want to strive for quality with your videos.
You want to look like a professional.
Any sign of amateurism can drive a wedge between you and your audience.
That’s why I recommend buying some basic equipment to enhance your quality.
This doesn’t need to be anything over the top, but a simple tripod can help stabilize your videos so they don’t look shaky.
You can usually find a decent tripod for as little as $10, so this shouldn’t break the bank.
Or if you’re recording from a location where a tripod isn’t viable, you can always use a selfie stick to serve as a stabilizer.
2. Experiment with lighting
Lighting is important for producing a good video because it can impact its overall quality in a big way.
If you’re filming outdoors, this shouldn’t be a problem as long as it’s reasonably sunny.
But if you’re filming indoors, you’ll want to try out different lighting options to see what looks the best.
Generally speaking, the more lighting, the better.
If you’re in a room with dim lighting, you may want to bring in an extra lamp so that you’re more visible.
3. Test the process before going live
Let’s be honest. You’ll probably run into a few glitches when first starting out.
It can also be a little nerve-racking when you start broadcasting yourself to a large number of your followers.
That’s why I recommend testing everything beforehand and getting comfortable with the idea of being in front of the camera.
You can do this by switching the privacy setting to “Only Me,” which can be found by clicking on “More” and scrolling to the bottom.
Record a couple of test videos until you’re familiar with the nuts and bolts of the way things work.
This way everything should go relatively smoothly, and you’ll be less likely to freeze up once you’re live in front of an audience.
4. Make sure you’ve got a solid connection
You definitely don’t want a weak connection when recording a video.
According to Facebook, “WiFi tends to work best, but if you can’t find a nearby network, you’ll want a 4G connection.”
This shouldn’t be an issue if you’re indoors. But if you’re in a fairly remote outdoor location, it most definitely can be.
If you’ve got anything less than 4G, you’re probably better off choosing a different location.
If you see that the “Go Live” button is grayed out, you have a weak signal.
5. Create an outline
From my experience, it’s best to have a basic game plan when using Facebook Live.
You don’t want to jump in without knowing what you’ll be talking about.
Of course, you’ll want to ad lib to some extent, but I recommend having at least three or four main points to cover.
You’ll also want to address each point in a logical, sequential order so that your audience doesn’t get confused.
6. Leave some room for spontaneity
At the same time, you don’t want your outline to be so rigid that there’s no wiggle room.
Because your video is in real time, you never fully know what’s going to come your way.
An interesting idea may pop into your head, or a viewer might ask a question that steers your video in a slightly different direction.
This is why I suggest trying to achieve a nice balance between an outline and spontaneity to ensure things stay on track but don’t become boring.
7. Provide context
Before you jump into all the gory details of your broadcast, it’s important you briefly explain to your viewers what’s going on.
You’ll want to introduce yourself, identify where you’re at if you’re out in the field, and provide a basic rundown of what you’ll be talking about.
This will inform your viewers about what’s happening and will provide some essential context.
8. Recap what’s going on
Another thing you need to keep in mind is that viewers will tune in at different times.
Here’s what I mean.
At the beginning of a video, you may have only 10 viewers. But at five minutes in, you may have 100.
At 10 minutes in, you may have 250 and so on.
In order to keep everyone in the loop, you’ll want to periodically restate who you are and what’s happening.
This is why it’s smart to recap the details from time to time. I’ve found that the following intervals tend to work well.
- Two to three minutes in
- 10 minutes in
- 25 minutes in
Just make sure you keep your recaps brief because this can be annoying to viewers who have been watching from the start.
9. Be personal and make a connection with your customers
It’s important to show your face and let your customers and subscribers know you’re a real person.
I’ve explained that you should be personal with your email marketing tactics.
The same idea can be applied to your live videos.
Have a sense of humor.
Just stay away from discussing or making jokes about taboo subjects like politics, race, or religion.
Make sure you’re providing the viewers with compelling content.
Look at some of these statistics:
Interesting content was the number one reason why customers viewed a live video.
What else stands out to you?
How about that 25% of people watched a live video because a family member or friend recommended it?
If you use personalization techniques during your video streams, your customers will like you more.
As a result, your customers will recommend you and your brand to their loved ones.
Introduce the viewers to your staff as well.
Don’t underestimate the value of being personable.
10. Be relaxed
Okay, this is easier said than done.
It’s common to get a case of the jitters and be a little unnerved by the whole prospect of being broadcast live to potentially hundreds, or even thousands, of viewers.
But it’s important to get yourself in the right headspace when recording.
Although it’s normal to be a little nervous, especially if you’re new to Facebook Live, you’ll want to remain as calm as possible.
This should help you be more fluid with your delivery and make your content more interesting.
11. React to viewer comments
One of the easiest and most effective ways to crank up the engagement level is to simply respond to what your viewers are saying.
During a video, viewers can leave their comments and ask questions. Be sure to spend part of the time reacting. This is key to making the process as intimate and organic as possible.
I even recommend addressing some of your viewers by name because this really gets them in on the action.
And because people have a natural affinity for hearing their own names, it’ll give you some brownie points that can pay off in the long run.
If you know you’ll be so preoccupied with recording a video that you won’t have the time to respond to comments (this can be really difficult when comments come in fast), I suggest having a partner who is also logged into to the primary account.
They can be responsible for answering comments and can help facilitate the overall process.
12. Stay live for longer to extend your reach
Want to reach as many viewers as possible and maximize the engagement level?
Stay live for longer.
Facebook recommends you stay live for at least 10 minutes per video, but you can go for as long as 90 minutes.
Think about it. The longer you stay live, the better your chances of reaching a larger audience will be.
While 90 minutes may be overkill when you’re first getting the hang of Facebook Live, somewhere between 15 to 30 minutes can be the right formula.
Once you’re more familiar and comfortable with the process, you can go live for longer and longer.
13. Stream live events
Streaming an event can have a positive impact on your sales.
Take a look at the numbers above.
Two-thirds of viewers are more likely to buy a ticket to an event after seeing a live video of something similar online.
That number is on the rise.
Over 80% of people watched more live videos last year than the previous year.
It’s clear that those numbers are trending upward.
Your business needs to stay up to date with current trends. Use this strategy to promote events for your company.
This works especially well if you’re trying to endorse similar events in the future and drive ticket sales or attendance numbers.
You can also stream videos from events you’re attending as opposed to just hosting.
Let your customers know you’re attending a conference or business expo.
Ask them if there are certain booths or displays they want to see.
This all relates back to that feeling of exclusivity.
Your viewers can feel as if they are at a special event even if they weren’t invited or don’t have a ticket.
14. Host a live interview
Set up an interview or discussion with a client or employee.
This discussion can establish you as an authoritative source in your field, which is a great way to generate social proof.
Focus the interview questions on educational information for your viewers.
The conversational structure of an interview may be less formal and more entertaining than just a presentation with one person.
Try to get your customers involved in asking questions as well.
Remember, you want them to be engaged.
Allow some time during the interview to field some questions directly from your live audience.
Like I said earlier, always acknowledge the user by their name.
It will make them feel they are contributing, which is a psychological way to connect with your customers.
15. Show the customers how your product creation process works
If you’re selling a product, use live video to show your customers how you make things.
For safety and practicality purposes, it may be unreasonable to offer tours of your production facility.
However, you can take your customers on a virtual tour with a live video stream.
Walk them through your building, and explain how the process works.
Take them through each step of your production.
This is a great chance to showcase the quality control of your product.
It holds you and your employees accountable.
You wouldn’t want to show customers a dirty or dangerous production facility.
Doing live video will prompt you to tighten your quality control and tidy up your facility if you’ve been slacking in that regard.
16. Give your viewers a behind-the-scenes look
Behind-the-scenes live videos trigger some of the emotions we discussed earlier:
- sense of belonging
This is a great technique for certain businesses, e.g.:
- tattoo artists
- hair stylists
- media companies
It will give your viewers access to areas they normally wouldn’t be able to see.
A photographer or movie producer wouldn’t let just anyone stand behind the camera while they’re working.
But live videos can give fans a sneak preview of what they’ll see when the final product is released.
Live videos temporarily remove the “off limits” feeling your customers may have.
Take a look at how media publishers are using live videos:
Compared to other industries, media pages are using live video the most.
Consider giving your viewers access to a news anchor or reporter preparing to go on TV.
Even if you’re not part of the media, you can still use live videos.
As I mentioned earlier, it’s trending now.
17. Provide training seminars
Make sure you’re streaming high quality live videos.
You’ll need a strong Internet connection.
Quality is the most important aspect of live videos, according to 67% of viewers.
This is especially important if you’re broadcasting a “how to” video.
It’s vital your customers can clearly see what you’re doing.
Make sure your training videos are informative.
Keeping your customers informed is a great way to increase customer retention.
Let’s take a look at some of the top perceived benefits of live videos:
Creating a more authentic interaction with the audience is number one on this list.
A training seminar is a great way to accomplish this.
You can establish a regular viewing audience and host a live video like this on a weekly basis.
It gives your customers a reason to keep coming back.
18. Do a live Q&A segment
Question and answer sessions are a great way to establish trust with your customers.
You want your customers to trust you because it shows you care about them.
If your customers don’t think you care, chances are they will leave you for another company.
In fact, based on the graphic above, it’s the number one reason why customers stop using your service.
You need to provide and emphasize excellent customer service.
Amazing customer service can help you double your revenue.
Your customers have questions.
You need to be there to answer them.
Hosting a live question-and-answer session is a great time to do this.
Plus, you can do it at a time that’s convenient for you.
Encourage customers to ask questions.
I’m sure lots of people have similar questions, so by answering them in front of an audience, you won’t have to keep repeating yourself.
This is more effective than taking calls from one customer at a time.
19. Use live stream video to run a contest for the viewers
Everyone loves getting free stuff.
Live videos are a great way to give away gifts and prizes to your customers.
Promote the event, saying a winner will be randomly selected from the live audience list.
You can use this as an opportunity to promote and market other aspects of your company.
Let’s take a look at some numbers:
Viewers watch live videos three times longer than they watch pre-recorded videos.
How can you use this to your advantage?
The key is to get your customers to view your live video initially.
Once they start watching, they will watch for a long time.
Using a gift or giveaway promotion is a great way to drive views to your live stream.
Based on what you’re promoting during the stream, those views can ultimately generate leads, clicks, and conversions on your website.
20. Get feedback for your new products or services
Use your live video stream to hear from your customers.
In the past, I’ve explained ways to understand your customer.
Surveys and interviews are a highly effective method.
Earlier, I suggested you use a live question-and-answer forum for your customers.
This is similar, but the roles will be reversed.
You’ll be asking the questions, and the customers will provide feedback.
Have you ever used a focus group?
Look at this graph.
Focus groups are expensive.
You can use live video to connect with your customers and ask them questions, and it will not cost you anything. The only cost is your time.
And trust me, it’s well worth it.
You can gain valuable information about your products and services by asking your customers directly about them.
Your customers have an opinion, but they may not share that opinion if they aren’t asked.
Use this information to make your business better.
Take the customer feedback seriously, and apply the necessary changes moving forward.
You can do this on a regular basis, but it’s especially effective right after a new product launch.
21. Launch a new product
Speaking of new products, use live video to create a buzz about something new.
Tell your social media followers you have a special announcement on a certain day and at a certain time.
Don’t give it all away ahead of time.
Make them attend the live video to hear the announcement.
You don’t have to come up with a completely new product.
Announce a product extension instead, for example.
Look at this growth model:
Extensions can improve the life cycle of a product and prevent a decline over time.
Launching something new is a great way to get your customers excited.
Again, this relates back to that feeling of exclusivity.
First, you get them curious by saying you have a special announcement.
Then, you get them enthusiastic about a release.
During the live video stream, you can even give away a couple of products as we discussed earlier.
This is a great way to make sure people keep tuning in to your live events in the future as well.
Should you be using live videos to promote your brand and business?
In short, yes.
Just make sure you’re doing this in an appropriate fashion.
You don’t need to live-stream every aspect of your personal day-to-day life.
However, there are definitely ways to use live video to your advantage.
I recommend using the tactics we discussed above.
So, what platforms should you use to stream live videos?
Facebook Live and YouTube are most popular right now, but you can research to find out which platforms your customers use the most.
Stream live events.
If you’re going to host similar events in the future, this is a great way to increase ticket sales.
Host live interviews and training seminars.
Provide question-and-answer segments.
These sessions will showcase your authority and knowledge within your industry.
You also want to stimulate curiosity and customer engagement.
Running contests, giving away items, and launching new products will help you excite your viewers.
Create a feeling of exclusivity by giving people a behind-the-scenes look at your production process.
Use live videos to get feedback about your products and services.
Try to stimulate certain emotions that will help you develop a bond with your viewers.
Respond to their comments, and call them out by name.
Facebook Live is no doubt a powerful medium for bridging the gap between you and your audience.
If you use it correctly, you can create incredibly engaging content that “pops” and allows you to connect in a personal, intimate way.
This form of two-way communication can be just the ticket for tightening your relationship with your audience and for taking your brand to the next level.