Bring Your Business to Lifewith Facebook’s New Livestream Feature

Live video streaming is one of the hottest trends in social media, and social media giant, Facebook, now offers Livestream as a free feature to its users. (To enable Livestream on your Facebook account, just type “Livestream on Facebook” in the search bar of your web browser or Facebook page and install the app on your mobile device.) This feature offers tremendous opportunities for businesses to engage their customers and followers in innovative and exciting ways. Harnessing the power of Livestream should be a consideration for every business’s social media strategy. To illustrate, I’ll share a couple of my recent experiences with Livestream.

A few weeks ago I watched a CNN live feed (along with 8 million other viewers) as the New York Police Department took down the man that climbed the Trump Tower with a pair of suction cups—all while live chatting with other viewers about what was happening. True, news articles covered the story just after it occurred, but I witnessed it firsthand—as it was actually happening and in the palm of my hand. It was edge-of-your-seat entertainment. I didn’t have to wait for evening news on television, and the other viewers and I had the chance to share opinions on why this man would think to climb the Trump Tower with suction cups. It provided a level of interest and engagement that just isn’t possible with traditional photos and videos or after-news commentary.

As the social media coordinator for the Halifax Humane Society, I quickly realized that Livestream was an out-of-the-box way to grab attention in the world of social media and would be a great way to engage our 29,000+ Facebook followers. We use our virtual social media relationships to promote our shelter’s mission, showcase animals available for adoption, encourage others to get involved, and educate the community (or even the world) about the 36 unique programs we run in order to serve 25,000 animals across Volusia County each year. While digital posts like graphics or photos engage our viewers for a couple of seconds, attracting more viewers and holding their attention for longer periods enhances the opportunity to illuminate our message and increase their knowledge.

We achieved those goals using Livestream at one of the Halifax Humane Society’s big events, Dog Park on Ice. Dog Park on Ice is held twice a year, and we invite dog owners and their pets to the Daytona Ice Arena to experience play on ice with other furry friends and theirs owners. For this particular event, we normally use social media to post graphics, invite fans to the event, and even post photos inviting the public to join us.

Historically, our average posts engaged 1,000 to 5,000 viewers. This year, however, we dramatically increased our reach with Livestream. We posted a LIVE video at the event of the dogs prancing, barking, and playing on the ice to the tune of Christmas carols. That particular live video has received almost 30,000 views, 446 shares, and 672 likes to date; a 500% increase when compared to a regular post!

A couple of factors were important to our success with Livestream for this event. First, Facebook promotes this feature and wants others to use it—Facebook users are notified any time a friend, business, or interest page is “Live.” Second, posting a photo of a dog standing on the ice wasn’t nearly as exciting as watching him jump for joy as he pranced with his furry friends to the tune of carols. Livestream brought our followers into our world at the click of a button and let them interact in real time.

At Halifax Humane Society, we have integrated Livestream into our social media campaigns. It helps us in a variety of ways:

  • We use it to promote our available animals and to answer questions about the animals.
  • We use it to promote fundraising events.
  • Our staff can use it to hold live question and answer sessions with our viewers on various topics.

Your business may not have any cute, furry friends to post on your feed, but this free and unique engagement tool from Facebook can help you promote your business in a variety of ways that static visuals or graphics may not provide. Here are a few ideas for effective Facebook live videos:

  • Question and answer sessions
  • Inside scoops or behind-the-scenes coverage
  • Event promotions
  • Exciting announcements
  • Tutorials
  • Contests.

While we blame social media for the decrease of the human attention span (8 seconds), perhaps Livestream has given us a way to improve what we see and how we see it. So the next time you strategize with your business about posting that photo of your new menu item, product, or service, consider this: Would I want to see a photo or comment OR would I want to see how it’s made, watch someone eat it, or learn how to do it myself?  You decide.