July 19, 2016

Facebook Live Can Be a Useful Marketing Tool

  • Subline: And a dandy way to annoy your coworkers

Last week’s M Hill Fire was a lesson in how fast the news travels. As the fire raged on the prominent Rapid City landmark, we all watched in awe from various viewpoints — thanks to Facebook Live.

Black Hills FOX, KOTA and photographer Bonny Fleming were among the social media users streaming live video of the fire Wednesday evening. From my front porch, I could simultaneously watch the fire from Skyline Drive, from Omaha Street and from Founders Park Village.

I live-streamed the tdg creatives meeting to see how it worked. (They were not exactly amused.) Facebook Live is pretty cool. Likes, reactions and comments stream past and pop up, providing a real-time conversation. You can also run analytics and post the video to your page later.

And it’s easy to do. You do need an Android or iPhone (not a desktop or laptop). Just click on “What’s on your mind?” Find the “Go Live” button. Describe your video. Pick your audience. Hit the “Go Live” button at the bottom.

What does that mean marketing and public relations? It’s an opportunity to take tell your story unfiltered and in real time, engaging your audience in ways not possible in the past. Think of a news conference, a product launch, a summer festival, a rodeo or a bike race. If you make the video compelling, they will want to learn more, see your event for themselves or go to your website. However, like all social media, you can’t be boring. Here are four ways to avoid that fate.

  • Use it sparingly. If you are tempted to use Facebook Live to cover your event from start to finish, don’t. Every press conference or event has serious down time between the watchable moments. Viewers need to see compelling content ALL THE TIME. Especially on Facebook, but it’s so easy to scroll down and go on to the next post.
  • Silence can be golden. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then there’s no need to utter 1,000 words while the video is playing. One of the feeds I saw from Wednesday night’s fire that was downright muteworthy.
  • Engage with those commenting. Mention their names. Show them that you’re paying attention.
  • Stuff has to move. This is live video, after all. An idyllic sunset makes a great still photo, but nobody wants to watch it set. If you’re streaming a pow-wow, catch the grass dancers in their spinning frenzy. If you’re at the Sturgis Rally, shoot bikes moving, not parked on Main Street.