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Remember where you were when you first saw Chewbacca Mom? On May 19, 2016, Candice Payne reached the world with her laughter by using Facebook Live from the comfort of her car in a Kohl’s parking lot. In the span of less than a week, the video had over 140 million views and shattered previous Facebook Live records. It turns out that Candice and I attended the same small-town university, so I saw the video soon after it was posted by a mutual friend and watched as the views, likes, and comments skyrocketed.

How did this happen? In addition to Candice’s engaging personality, Facebook loves “live” and has stated its preference for live video in its News Feed algorithm since early 2016. Plus, live videos facilitate the opportunity to connect with audiences in a unique way.

Since that day when Chewbacca went hysterical, brands have been asking how they can take advantage of live video, something that continues to grow in influence. At the Social Media Marketing World conference I attended earlier this year, live video was one of the hottest topics. From sessions such as “How to Create a Live Video Strategy” to “How to Create Community Using Facebook Live,” everyone wanted to know how to leverage live video. This makes sense considering that Mark Zuckerberg himself predicts Facebook will be mostly video within the next few years. All you have to do is open up your Facebook app right now to see this trend is already becoming a reality.

“Publishers and media companies have really owned the space for Facebook Live, like the New York Times or NPR, who use Facebook Live to stream interviews, press conferences, and breaking news,” explained Aimee Abad, Senior Social Media Manager at Wpromote. “Some companies, like the New York Times, in addition to Buzzfeed, Huffington Post, and Mashable, have also entered into multi-million-dollar agreements with Facebook to publish high-quality video.”

While these companies were some of the earliest adopters, that doesn’t mean it’s too late for digital marketers and even amateurs to take advantage of the medium. There are creative ways to implement live video in simple and cost-effective ways. One of our clients, Zenni Optical, posted this video showcasing top picks of their sunglasses, an easy and highly visual way to engage the audience.

Another great use of live video was done by Walnut Beach Resort, which posted this update to current water levels at its beach after reports of local flooding. Each of those posts received considerably more engagement than typical organic posts. By choosing to do live video, the brands could personalize themselves and provide helpful information in an efficient and engaging way.

Some ideal ways to use Facebook Live include:

  • Q&A sessions (utilizing your FAQ page on your website)
  • Behind the scenes
  • Tours
  • How-tos
  • First-person adventures (come have fun with me)
  • Demos or unboxing of an item (the surprise element intrigues viewers)
  • News discussions
  • DIY projects
  • Contests
  • Share live events (ribbon-cutting ceremonies, etc.)

While Facebook remains the biggest player in the social media world, with nearly 8 of 10 adult internet users having an account, other platforms are batting for the fences with their streaming services. Instagram and Snapchat stories are continually transforming the way we see the world. Twitter is still trying to keep up, now allowing live streaming without a second app, and YouTube also provides live video services. However, neither are quite as sharable as Facebook videos, which have more seamless integration across the board.

Amid so much change, including continual updates to the Facebook News Feed algorithm and the opportunity to now advertise within live videos, it’s important to keep up with the trends while anticipating what the future of the medium holds. If you’re looking to incorporate Facebook Live into your social strategy or would be interested in advertising on Facebook, get in touch with our talented team for help planning a successful strategy for your social media presence. Stay tuned for a future post on best practices for posting live video.

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