How Facebook Live can be a powerful marketing tool for small businesses

As a business owner, embracing live video may seem daunting but Facebook Live presents a big opportunity for SMEs, argues Chris Holmes.

Facebook Live presents a great opportunity for SMEs

Facebook Live presents a great opportunity for SMEs

Facebook Live is a really exciting development for social media marketing. Big brands such as Doritos, Dunkin Donuts and Benefit are certainly using it to their advantage. However, the platform offers many benefits to SMEs too, allowing business owners to easily engage with their customer base, while increasing traffic and driving sales.

Whether you have the budget to work with a video agency on a professional quality broadcast for Facebook Live, or you decide to stream yourself, the key to success is always having the right content to engage your audience.

Facebook Live doesn’t always require a huge budget or specialist technical equipment. It is free to use, which means it’s a cost effective way to broadcast directly to audiences in real time. You can go live from your phone or tablet, which provides a quick and easy way of broadcasting, but it does give you limited production values.

If you need a professional quality broadcast, I would highly recommend working with a video agency. Although it may not always be necessary to use an agency for every Facebook Live stream you do. Businesses with a limited budget may want to consider using an agency just for the bigger launches or events they have planned.

A professional live streaming agency can push the production values and provide multi-camera TV broadcast style delivery, which suits bigger brands and higher profile announcements.

Quality of broadcast reflects quality of brand

Business owners who decide to stream video using Facebook Live themselves should always be mindful that the quality of broadcast reflects the brand. If the quality of your live stream is poor, it could potentially end up doing your business more harm than good.

Timing is also key; there is little point streaming live video aimed at busy mums at 6pm in the evening.

The power of a live stream and its ability to excite and increase interaction with your audience is huge. Facebook Live has enormous possibilities for small businesses.

If done properly, the platform can offer a great way to engage with your Facebook audience. It also helps to increase brand awareness and exposure as people like and share the live feeds.

In order to engage with your audience, the content has to be relevant, ideally with exclusive content and maybe even access to expert speakers. If you’re stuck for ideas on what makes engaging content, think about what makes your business unique and what would appeal to your audience.

Facebook Live can be used by any small business from bars and restaurants to fashion designers and financial advisors. Whatever your business, giving customers an insight into your brand or your business personality can really help build an emotional connection with your audience.

For example, if your business makes clothing or accessories, you might want to use Facebook Live as a platform to get the message across that you’re team is highly skilled. So, why not offer a behind the scenes glimpse of your skilled workers adding intricate detail to a piece from your collection before it goes out on sale? Not only is this interesting content, it subtly suggests the skill required to produce each piece.

If you’re a restaurant owner, you might want to use Facebook Live to show behind-the-scenes footage of your chef preparing the evening’s specials.

Exclusive previews on Facebook Live can also make great content. For example, if you’re an independent clothes retailer, why not use Facebook Live to give your audience a ‘sneak preview’ of the new season’s collection as it arrives in store?

Equally, if you’re launching a new product, why not showcase it on Facebook Live first? After all, everyone likes to be the first to know about something new.

If you’re staging an event or attending an event, why not give customers access through Facebook Live? This works even better if you have guests speaking or attending your event as they can also engage their own Facebook audiences.

Promotion is key

Whatever content you plan to stream, I would always encourage you to pre-promote the date and time you plan to go live in order to attract an audience. Don’t forget that Facebook Live content can also be edited afterwards and posted for audiences to view at a later date.

We recently live broadcast a Jurgen Klopp announcement via Facebook Live and had huge live traffic figures that then nearly trippled post-event via on demand views. The online audience participated via the comments box – asking questions and feeding back.

So what other benefits does Facebook Live offer SMEs? By embracing a fairly new platform like Facebook Live, small businesses can position themselves as being forward thinking. Facebook Live takes small business owners one step closer to their customers, allowing them to give instant feedback and ask questions in real time.

Facebook itself has significantly invested in promoting the platform through TV and billboard campaigns. Small business owners who are not yet using Facebook Live really should take the leap.”

Chris Holmes is director of live broadcasting at Zut video agency.

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