Videos continue to dominate social feeds because of their ability to tell a story in a short amount of time. Facebook’s research team discovered that, “people gaze five times longer at video than at static content on Facebook and Instagram.”

What could foster more engagement than an edited video? Uncut, raw, live video.

Facebook launched live video in April 2016 and since then, it has continued to grow at a rapid rate. Instagram followed suit and launched live videos in January 2017.

This ability to “go live” from wherever, whenever and have your followers engage in real time, has launched a powerful social media tool that every social media marketer should have in their arsenal.  

Facebook Live

Facebook Live allows users to instantly broadcast to their followers and have engaging conversations at the same time. For brands, Facebook Live works well for things like Q&As, how-tos, and event coverage. You can take questions directly from your followers, gaining valuable insight. Facebook Live is also a secret weapon to combat the changing news feed. Not to mention it’s a powerful way for audiences and businesses to build stronger connections.

Facebook’s recent announcement explained that the change in news feed will place posts that generate meaningful interactions higher in the feed, including videos that inspire conversation. They go on to say that, “live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos.” This is music to a social media marketer’s ears, especially since branded posts and bait engagement posts will be pushed to the bottom. Encouraging clients to schedule live videos once a week will help get more eyes and engagement on their posts.

Another reason why Facebook Live is a social media marketer’s secret weapon is the rise of mobile video. A survey on Facebook and Instagram users in Canada and the US concluded that mobile video viewership is on the rise because of its’ convenience, flexibility, and connection. This means that users are tuning into their smartphones wherever they are – on the bus, at work, or at home – to watch mobile video so they can engage with their communities. Good news for Facebook Live, because in 2017, daily broadcast watch times quadrupled. All that to say, your brand’s Facebook Live posts have the potential to reach a large audience and spark meaningful back-and-forth discussion – and they aren’t the only ones “going live.”

Instagram Live

Being under the Facebook umbrella, Instagram also introduced live video. However, it looks a little different. What Instagram does better than Facebook is ephemeral content in the form of Instagram Stories. Similar to Snapchat, users post photos and mini videos to their Stories for 24 hours only. Users can also “go live” in their Story and have their followers notified to join in on the conversation. The live video will stay up for 24 hours, then poof, gone. Since Instagram’s algorithm works similarly to Facebook’s, live video is your secret weapon. Maybe you’ve noticed a decline in engagement on your posts. Using live video can help reach your audience because it’s pushed to the top of the Stories feed. You may have noticed brands, celebrities and businesses using Stories to notify followers that a new post or video is up on their page. This is a good strategy because your followers may have missed the original post due to the algorithm. On top of that, the more replies and shares you get on your Stories, the more they will show up at the top of the feed.

Live Video Tips

  • Let your audience know when you’re planning to go live so they can tune in. Having a weekly day and time is beneficial to gain loyal watchers.
  • Let your audience know what it’s going to be about ahead of time.
  • Check your connection, lighting and audio before you start your video.
  • Respond to some of your followers’ questions and comments as they come in.
  • Keep it at a good length. Too short, and people won’t be able to join in. Too long, and people will lose interest.
  • Keep it real. Have a general idea of what you’re going to say, but don’t have the whole video scripted. It is LIVE video after all.
  • Thank your followers at the end and let them know when you’re planning to go live again so they can tune in.

With the plethora of social media content being circulated on a daily basis, social media marketers need to zero in on what will stand out. Live video for both Facebook and Instagram has the ability to reach, entertain, and engage a large audience, making it the ultimate secret weapon. What are your favourite things to watch live?