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Using Facebook Live video for your business

If you’re on Facebook, you’re probably familiar with Facebook Live video. It's a very easy way for you to stream live video to your friends, but here’s why you could – and should – also use it for your business.

Businesses big and small have been embracing Facebook Live –we’ve seen apps such as Periscope that have been successful in attracting users to stream live video, but Facebook has the benefit of having a huge global outreach as well as the option for you to select your audience.

Business is changing and is now much more about relationships rather than ‘selling’ – your customers want to know who they are working with, and get a feel for your passion and belief behind your business and how you operate.

I wouldn't recommend using Facebook Live for all of your video content, you can mix it with professional videos, as well as using other social media video platforms.

Facebook Live allows your audience to watch live and comment on your video – allowing you to engage and interact with them and build relationships.

Here are just a few of the many benefits of Facebook Live:

1) It's easy! You just have to hit the Live button in the status box and you are away, with a potentially large audience watching.

2) It saves time and money. Don't be fooled, it will not have the same quality as a professionally made video, but Facebook Live does have many benefits. There’s no expensive production company to pay and no time-consuming editing needed after filming either.

3) Statistics show that people are more likely to connect with video rather than read a lot of text on a website – even more so when they know they can interact in real time and be part of the process.

4) You can choose your audience – this may be a networking group you run, a group of people you are mentoring, specific clients, or perhaps you will choose to broadcast to the public. You can also block any unwanted viewers.

5) Your audience will be able to watch the video from anywhere. There is no need to get them all in a room together – they can be in the comfort of their own home, in the office or even waiting for a bus!

6) Make the most of your live video, don’t just talk at your audience. The main benefit is that you can interact, so make sure you pause every so often to read comments, answer questions and thank commenters. Viewers are also more likely to return for your next video if you are engaging and you get questions answered quickly. They are also more likely to remember you and share the video.

7) Live streaming can give your clients an insight into parts of your business that they may not ever see. You may be showing a particular part of your production process, for example, or chatting to employees that are behind the scenes. Your viewers will appreciate it if they feel they are getting an exclusive.

8) There are endless possibilities – you could hold a Q&A session, launch a new product, film at a live event, interview an industry professional, give your top business tips, promote an upcoming offer and more.

9) As you’re broadcasting you can see how many viewers you’re getting, and obviously the longer you’re online, the more viewers you may have.

10) Once completed the video will be saved to your timeline and won't disappear, unlike with some other apps, and you can also re-post it on other social media platforms or embed it on your site.

You should however be careful with live video – here are some useful tips to make the most of it:

1) Make sure you have a strong wi-fi connection – it’s a good idea to do a test beforehand to make sure you can be seen and heard clearly. If you’re using your phone, make sure you have enough battery and that the phone isn't too shaky when you broadcast.

2) Make sure your environment is quiet, clean, tidy and interesting to look at, and that you're not disturbed while the video takes place. If you work from home, for example, make sure your dog isn't barking in the background or that you don't have your clothes horse on display – no one wants to see your underwear drying!

3) Prepare what you’re going to say first – make sure you have interesting content ready as you don't want to get tongue tied on the live platform. It may be a good idea to ask your viewers in advance what they would like to know: you could build your content around questions that were raised in your last video.

4) Work out when is the best time to broadcast and when you're going to get most people online – the time could be different depending on your target audience, so perhaps have a look at your Facebook insights to get the best idea.

5) It's a good idea to promote your video and create a catchy title. Your viewers can then ensure they’re online at the right start time, share the event and even prepare questions for you. The last thing you want to do is spend a long time preparing a video and then only get a few people watching.

6) Facebook Live videos can last up to 30 minutes. Make sure you don't launch into your content straight away – it’s a good idea to welcome your viewers and engage in a bit of small talk before you start, just to give latecomers the opportunity to join in.

7) Make sure you have a good sign-off to the video: why not signpost viewers to a weblink, one of your other events or advertise the date of your next video?

8) It's fun to create an amusing video every now and then – it shows that you have a sense of humour and you can be creative with your content. However, it's probably best when you have an established audience, as constant silly videos may come across as looking unprofessional.

9) As it's live, be aware that ANYTHING can happen – make sure you’re not going to be disturbed, or if other colleagues are present, make sure they don't say or do anything they shouldn't. If in an office/studio environment, colleagues may be chatting about another client in the background and their personal information could be broadcast.

10) As I always say with all video – be creative, have fun and make sure you mix things up and don't repeat the same style again and again – engagement is key!

I enjoy creating profile videos for small businesses, freelancers and organisations. Please get in touch if you think I can help...

Here are three of the many videos I've created for small businesses. Check out my site for more:

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