How to use Facebook Live to get the reach you want (and used to have)


Remember the “good old days” when your small business Facebook posts would organically reach a huge chunk of your fans and friends?

Those days rapidly disappeared when generating ad revenue became as important or more important than growing users for Facebook. However, in many ways, Facebook’s new video streaming feature – Facebook Live – has turned the clock back to those free ’n easy days.

Because Facebook is investing millions to establish and promote its live streaming, if you create Facebook Live content, it will reach a lot of your followers today. It’s the Wild West out there now folks, so take advantage of it, we don’t know how long this will last.

Facebook Live monetization

If Facebook follows its usual path, it will start finding ways to monetize Facebook Live, and for businesses, I predict that there will be some fee that correlates to your desired audience size. But I don’t think that will happen soon. Right now you should be experimenting with Facebook Live to find the best ways to engage your followers.

A couple of paragraphs ago I alluded to the Wild West and that’s also a good description for the live streaming video world today. YouTube is a player. Periscope is popular. Meerkat is still around. Blab died but is being resurrected. And, now Facebook Live is commanding a lot of attention.

Your business and your audience will guide you toward favoring one or two of these platforms. Video marketing guru Greg Jarboe wrote a good article comparing and contrasting Facebook Live, Periscope, and YouTube over on his Tubular Insights website.

I suspect that, in any case, many small business owners will want to try Facebook Live, especially if they haven’t already established themselves on Periscope. It is an older average demographic, but that doesn’t mean the younger consumers aren’t there; it just means that the Gen Xers and even Baby Boomers are also there.

How to use Facebook Live

There are two major approaches to use on Facebook Live:

  • Engage your audience,
  • Sell to your audience.

Most users will be working to better engage their Facebook followers. A few will discover that they can actually make sales using the video streaming feature. If you have rabid Facebook fans and spend some time using other social media to get them interested in a product, you might be able to use Facebook Live essentially as an infomercial.

Even if you hope to eventually sell directly via Facebook Live, it’s probably a good idea to spend some time testing the streaming video feature to see what kinds of content resonate best with your audience. Some concepts to consider are:

  • Product introductions,
  • Behind-the-scenes looks,
  • FAQs,
  • Interviews/Q&A with a guest
  • Live event broadcast (How about a sidewalk sale in a local community?)
  • Advanced promotion for the live event mentioned above
  • A daily “diary”
  • A video version of a written blog
  • A video “infographic” (How about using a white board like some of the cable pundits?)
  • Clowning around

Many years ago artist Andy Warhol said that everyone would someday enjoy “15 minutes of fame.” While Facebook Live probably won’t make you famous, it will give you a lot more than merely 15 minutes of valuable exposure to your most important customers. So take advantage of this window of opportunity when Facebook is letting businesses use Facebook Live with no strings (or fees) attached.