By Alexandra Zamfir

June 6th, 2016

Facebook Live is not news anymore. While scrolling through my Facebook feed these past day, most posts I come across are Live Broadcasts. Back in April, Facebook released live to all users, making it possible for everyone from famous beauty magazines, Gary Vaynerchuk to my kindergarten friends to start a broadcast and create all sorts of content. At its core, Facebook Live is just a new way of publishing content – but one that is taking over our social channels really fast.

The state of Facebook for brands.

According to more recent research by [email protected], organic reach on Facebook has dropped to just 2% for pages with more than 500,000 likes. For marketers that rely on content to generate awareness, leads and sales, this is an uphill battle of trying to find the next best blog post or campaign that can bring back the old-time glory of Facebook, or investing significant spend to increase their reach.

Over the past year, and especially since the F8 event, Facebook has made its intentions of becoming a video-focused platform very clear. According to a recent study published by NewsWhip, engagement for non-video content has seen a sharp decline in engagement. Likes dropped by about 55% between July of last year and April of 2016, shares fell by 57% and comments by almost 64%. Through its announcement that they will be pushing more original content in the feed, an interpretation of this being live videos, Facebook may have given a cue to publishers of all kinds and sizes that they need to adapt to the medium.

What are you missing out on?

#1 – It’s an easy way to reach not just your followers, but also hundreds, if not thousands of people out there in a more personal and real-time manner. Armed with just a smartphone, you can access a new way to serve your content that excites and interests through its visual appeal. This format is stripped away from all major production effects, focusing on the quality and authenticity of the content and empowering all brands to become media entities.

#2 – It offers the ability to turn all brands into real-time publishers. Live can be Facebook’s answer to the real-time appeal that Twitter has. By allowing users from all over the world to go live at any moment of the day, Facebook facilitates the transmission of information in a more visual way than Twitter did before. Through Live broadcasts, Facebook can offer a more immersive experience, connecting people, places and events, and turning anyone into a journalist, content creator or storyteller.

#3 – It engages audiences. Spotted a Live Video? You could be the first to know about a crisis halfway around the world. The appeal of live comes just from this urge that we, as users, have to be constantly connected and informed. In addition, it allows brands to easily communicate with followers, by answering questions during the broadcast, and increasing the relevancy of the video.

Falcon goes live.

Picking up on these trends, we also decided to try out Facebook Live. Over the past few weeks, we have hosted a live session every Thursday, talking about social media pain points and offering advice and solutions from our experts. What started out as a test, has clearly proven that for the moment, video is reaching the far corners of Facebook.

For our latest Facebook video session, our reach surpassed 83k people, and the video had 600+ views, making it our highest reaching organic post on the network.

Could Live be the way to regain organic reach on Facebook?

With its recent features, Canvas for Ads, Instant Articles for blog posts and now Facebook Live, it seems that Facebook has embarked on the journey of becoming a full-fledged content owner. For users, this means an enhanced experience, faster loading times and content served in the exact space that they have spotted the content to begin with.

Why should your brand care? The shift in power has already happened, and brands now have to put in a significant amount of effort to reach their desired audiences where they are. With its increased appeal, both for users, but also in the news feed algorithm, Live seems to be the long-hoped for solution to marketers’ struggles with Facebook.

Facebook Live can be used to broadcast various types of information with many purposes. Considering going live? Try to make the time count and offer the viewers content that they otherwise cannot find in an article, and that is visually appealing. Here are some ideas:

  • live Q&A session – engage your audience in the conversation and answer questions that allow viewers to learn more about your activities. Show your expertise while providing valuable content and insights.
  • host a webinar – Live is a great opportunity for brands to show their human side. Host a webinar and bring relevant guests to talk about the frequent pain points of your customers.
  • broadcast real-time reactions to announcements and events – are you launching an important feature for your product? Are you participating at a trade show or listening to an interesting keynote? Allow your audience to experience this with you.
  • community management – use the tool to answer your fans in real-time and create more personalized and stronger interactions.

Heineken used a combination of the above for their Live strategy. They first broadcasted a live Q&A session with one of their master brewers, bringing in around 500 viewers at any given time, and more than 5000 views after the session. By being innovative and a going a step forward, they designed the session in such a way that allowed them to cut short clips that later could be used for their customers’ most frequent questions on social.

Why marketers should pay attention.

Live is here to stay and it’s taken over our news feeds. It can be done with minimal effort, it provides great value for audiences when done right and, most importantly, it’s free for brands to take advantage of. However, with Facebook constantly introducing new features, such as mute options for notifications and rank posts based on viewing time, it is clear that Live won’t amount to easy access to organic reach for much longer. This presents marketers with the perfect opportunity to start a trial and error process and figure out key insights that later on can help them maintain their position in our feeds.

So what are you waiting for? Have you tested out Live already? Let us know what your experience has been and join us every Thursday for our own Facebook Live Session.

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