In 2016, Facebook released Live video on their platform. As we came into a new decade, it seemed the initial live streaming frenzy on Facebook had calmed down. But today, remote work and digital events are the norm.
The effect: Live video is having its moment in the spotlight again.
In fact, Facebook says the number of people in the U.S. watching live streams has increased by 50% since the beginning of 2020. This leaves many marketers again asking: Should I go live?
The answer will depend on your brand, goals, and resources. But for many marketers, streaming a Facebook Live is at the top of their to-do list. For starters, video consumption isn’t slowing down. By 2022, online videos will make up more than 82% of all consumer internet traffic.
Live videos specifically are attention-grabbing — especially when the audience gets a push notification.
Plus, live videos present a unique opportunity to build trust with interactive, two-way conversations.
The immediate, authentic, and interactive experience of a livestream is a no-brainer for some marketers. But it’s important to note that not every tactic is right for every brand. Going live can be intimidating. And there are nuances that dissuade many marketers from taking the plunge. Some reasons a brand may choose not to go live: time, talent, content strategy, resources, and more.
Debating whether Facebook Live fits into your strategy? Consider these questions: Why are you creating Facebook Live? Do you have resources? Do you have the time? Does your target audience consume Facebook Live? Can you repurpose the live video content elsewhere?
You don’t have to use Facebook Live to be successful. But it's worth exploring, especially now that live streaming is booming. Need some encouragement to take the plunge? Live streams are simple to set up. All you need to "go Live" is a smartphone and some creative ideas.
That’s where we come in — here, let's explore creative Facebook Live ideas, as well as best practices to take your Live strategy to the next level.
Facebook Live Ideas
- Teach a class.
- Make an announcement or share breaking news.
- Raise money for a cause.
- Host a weekly roundtable.
- Take them behind the scenes with a tour or process-style workshop.
- Hang out live in a Facebook Group.
- Do an AMA with a company expert.
- Do a consulting session live.
- Showcase current inventory and sell to a live audience.
- Host an exclusive product launch or post-launch education session.
- Host a contest.
- Play a game.
- Have a little fun.
1. Teach a class.
Once of the most valuable things you can do for your audience on social media is teach them how to do something. Free, live educational programming is a great way to position your brand as a thought leader. It also gives your audience a more robust understanding of your product and or services.
For instance, at HubSpot we often post educational content on our Facebook page, like the example below:
By going live, you're adding an extra level of authenticity and connection. For instance, you might tell readers they can send along questions in real time, and they can watch their questions get answered on-the-fly. The live Q&A format might also help readers feel more engaged than they would with a pre-recorded video.
Additionally, you can save and upload your Live videos for viewers to consume after-the-fact. This enables you to reach a larger audience than you could just through live.
2. Make an announcement or share breaking news.
Unless they choose the "Follow" setting, fans of your Facebook page don't see everything you post. However, the default setting for users is to receive a notification when someone they know or a page they follow goes live. With this in mind, Facebook Live is an ideal channel for those important updates that you want the majority of your followers to know about.
Here are some great examples of announcements you can make:
- Breaking news in your industry and your company's stance on it
- New product launches or enhanced features (more on this later)
- Changes in your organization's leadership
- An office move to a new location or renovations to your space
3. Raise money for a cause.
More than ever, consumers want to buy from companies with values. Use a live stream to support your values and raise awareness for the things your care most about.
During the live stream, explain the cause, why it's important, and how the audience can help. You can even pin a comment to direct your audience to the right place to provide support. Additionally, some qualified Facebook pages will be able to add a Donate button to their live videos on mobile.
4. Host a weekly roundtable.
Take time to talk about topics your audience cares about with a weekly roundtable. Some of the most popular roundtables on Facebook now include Red Table Talk, STEVE on Watch, and more.
During a roundtable livestream the participants could field audience questions, give perspective on industry news, or entertain the audience. Of course, a live roundtable style will take more set-up than others. But, like a TV show, it can become content your audience tunes in for weekly.
5. Take them behind the scenes with a tour or process-style workshop.
Give your audience an exclusive look at what happens behind-the-scenes of your product. Your audience will have a deeper connection to a product or service if they know the process.
Think about what you can share that would be interesting or compelling for your audience to know. This tactic is especially great for brands who pride themselves on transparency.
For instance, take a look at this Dunkin' Behind-the-Scenes Live video, in which you'll see a "First store of the future concept":
The Live video gives viewers the opportunity to deepen their connection to the brand, particularly since the video isn't especially "polished", instead showcasing a more authentic side to Dunkin'.
6. Hang out live in a Facebook Group.
There are over 10M+ groups on Facebook, with 1.4B people using them every month. Consider going live in a group for an exclusive chat with your community. Groups are often smaller and more niche than company pages, so it’s likely the audience is more invested in a topic.
Consider keeping this style of live video very casual. For instance, you could set a discussion topic each week for the audience to ask questions around. Or, ask your group want they want to talk about and program around their interests.
7. Do an AMA with a company expert.
Access to experts in-person is difficult — even before physical distancing. Host an AMA and give your audience access to your businesses’ most knowledgeable employees.
During the live stream, the expert can answer questions on the fly — or consider fielding questions from other social channels and promote a loose agenda.
8. Do a consulting session live.
Service-based industries, particularly ones with a coaching or consulting element, can use Facebook Live as an opportunity to show off skills in real time. This can often be even more interesting than an AMA since you're able to go beyond high-level strategy and into the gritty details.
If you have a prospect who is interested in taking the first step with you, ask for their permission to be featured live. You'll increase your chances of them saying yes by providing an incentive (whether that's making the session free when you normally charge for it or some other kind of bonus).
The goal of the live consultation will be to solve one of their pains or problems in front of an audience so that each viewer imagines themselves in the prospect's shoes. Ideally, they'd be thinking, "That person could be me. I wonder what would be said in a consultation/coaching session about my business/situation."
9. Showcase current inventory and sell to a live audience.
If you're a product-based business with visually interesting merchandise, you might consider showcasing your existing inventory with a live video and allowing customers to comment when they see something they want to buy.
It's best to use this type of content sparingly, though, because you don't want to always come across as overly salesy on social media since most people aren't logging on with purchasing intent. However, once in a while and with a lot of engagement, this kind of post can prompt curiosity and generate revenue.
10. Host an exclusive product launch or post-launch education session.
Want to make a splash with your next product launch? Consider launching it on Facebook Live. This tactic gives your audience incentive to tune in.
Alternatively, you might consider launching your product across all channels and provide a supplementary live stream. Then, during the live stream you can give the audience a first look at the product in action.
11. Host a contest.
Everyone likes a chance to win something, right? Incentivize your audience to get involved by promoting the contest ahead of time and putting up a prize that excites them.
Some examples of Facebook Live contests include:
- Spin to Win
- Pick a Number
Those are all great examples, but don't be afraid to get creative, either. Any kind of carnival-style test of skill could work for your audience to (virtually) "step right up."
12. Play a game.
One of the key ways to succeed on social media is to humanize your brand. And what better way to do that than share content of you playing a game? Challenge one of your employees to a Jenga match or game of Taboo. Recording it live is a way of including your audience in on the shenanigans you get up to (and, in effect, the human elements of your brand).
13. Have a little fun.
Speaking of humanizing your brand, you don't have to play a game or run a contest. There are other types of content you can share that shows your fun and playful side:
- Doing a dance
- Highlighting "a day in the life" (or rather maybe just a few minutes in the life)
- Recording an experiment
- Tapping into acting skills to convey a message or make a point
- Lip syncing
Just let loose and be authentic. Your audience will love the chance to get to know you. For more inspiration, take a look at The Best Facebook Live Videos We've Ever Seen.
Best Practices for Facebook Live
Once you have your ideas set, there are best practices to keep in mind. Below are some tips for before, during, and after you go live.
Before Going Live
Before your live stream, encourage your audience to tune-in. Do this by notifying them via social media posts and Stories.
In your promotional content, source questions from audience members. This will help guarantee the content you produce is relevant and timely. Next, grab a tripod or prop up your phone in a stabilized place. Check your Internet connection and get ready to start the show.
Pro-tip: Write a compelling description of your live video beforehand. That way there are no spelling or grammar errors.
During Your Live Stream
At the start of your live stream, be sure to build-in time to allow your audience to tune in. If filming on a phone, get the best picture possible and lock the focus and exposure.
Some live stream concepts require the talent to move further away from the phone. In that case, consider purchasing a wireless microphone that plugs into your phone.
Once you’re live, make it conversational and encourage your audience to participate. You can respond to and or pin fan comments. Get more exposure by sharing the live stream in groups or Pages you manage.
Additionally, although your audience isn’t there in person, try to make direct eye contact. Look at the lens and connect with the camera. When it comes to using music in a live stream you need to have the rights to it. Using commercial music without rights can be grounds for removal of your live stream. Try using music from the Sound Collection within Facebook’s Creator Studio.
Facebook recommends going live for at least 15 minutes or longer. But remember, the time limit for a session using the Facebook mobile app is four hours.
After the Live Stream
After the live stream is complete, save the live video to your camera roll. There will be a prompt once it ends. A great way to repurpose this content is to share it in your Feed, Stories, and even on IGTV. Repurposing a live video into supplementary social content can be even more rewarding.
So why go live on Facebook? It's a unique content opportunity to help build brand awareness. The real-time, two-way conversations that happen on live also help build relationships.
There are so many options for live streaming so get creative! And don't forget, you can repurpose live videos across social channels. Adding value for your fans and followers in real time has never been easier.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in May 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.