In 2016, Facebook posted live videos on their platform. As we entered a new decade, the initial live streaming frenzy on Facebook seemed to have calmed down. Today remote work and digital events are the norm.
The effect: Live videos move back into the spotlight.
According to Facebook, the number of people in the US watching live streams has increased by 50% since early 2020. So many marketers are asking themselves again: should I go live?
The answer depends on your brand, goals, and resources. However, for many marketers, streaming Facebook Live is high on their to-do list. For starters, video consumption doesn’t slow down. By 2022, online video will account for more than 82% of all consumer internet traffic.
Live videos are particularly eye-catching – especially when the audience receives a push notification.
In addition, live videos offer the unique opportunity to build trust through interactive two-way conversations.
The immediate, authentic, and interactive experience of a live stream is a breeze for some marketers. However, it’s important to note that not every tactic is right for every brand. Going live can be intimidating. And there are nuances that keep many marketers from taking the plunge. A few reasons a brand might choose not to go live: time, talent, content strategy, resources, and more.
Are you wondering if Facebook Live fits into your strategy? Consider these questions: Why are you creating Facebook Live? Do you have resources? Do you have the time consuming your target audience on Facebook Live? Can you reuse the live video content elsewhere?
You don’t have to use Facebook Live to be successful. But it’s worth exploring, especially now that live streaming is booming. Do you need some encouragement to take the plunge? Live streams are easy to set up. All you need to “go live” is a smartphone and some creative ideas.
This is where we come in – this is where we want to explore creative Facebook Live ideas as well as best practices to take your live strategy to the next level.
Facebook live ideas
- Teach a class.
- Make an announcement or share breaking news.
- Raise money for a cause.
- Hold a weekly round table.
- Take them behind the scenes with a tour or a procedural workshop.
- Hang out live in a Facebook group.
- Do an AMA with a business expert.
- Make a counseling session live.
- Showcase the current inventory and sell it to a live audience.
- Host an exclusive product launch or follow-up training session.
- Have a contest.
- Play a game.
- Have fun
1. Teach a class.
One of the most valuable things you can do for your audience on social media is teaching them how to do something. Free live education programs are a great way to position your brand as a thought leader. It also gives your audience a better understanding of your products and / or services.
For example, at HubSpot, we often post educational content on our Facebook page, as in the following example:
When you go live, you add an extra level of authenticity and connection. For example, you can let readers know that they can send questions in real time and watch their questions being answered on the fly. The live Q&A format can also help readers feel more engaged than with a recorded video.
In addition, you can save and upload your live videos for viewers to use afterwards. This way, you can reach a larger audience than you could just live.
2. Make an announcement or share breaking news.
Fans of your Facebook Page won’t see everything you post unless they choose the Follow setting. However, the default setting for users is to receive a notification when someone they know or a page they follow goes live. With that in mind, Facebook Live is an ideal channel for important updates that you want the majority of your followers to know about.
Here are some great examples of announcements you can make:
- Latest news in your industry and your company’s attitude to it
- New product launches or extended functions (more on that later)
- Changes in the way you run your company
- An office move to a new location or renovation of your space
3. Raise money for a cause.
More than ever, consumers want to buy from companies with values. Use a live stream to support your values and raise awareness of the things that matter most to you.
During the live stream, explain the reason why it matters and how the audience can help. You can even pin a comment to direct your audience to the right place and provide support. Additionally, some qualified Facebook Pages can add a donate button to their live videos on mobile devices.
4. Hold a weekly round table.
Take the time to talk to a weekly roundtable on topics that interest your audience. Some of the most popular round tables on Facebook right now are Red Table Talk, STEVE on Watch, and more.
During a roundtable live stream, attendees could ask questions of the audience, view industry news from a perspective, or entertain the audience. Of course, a live roundtable style requires more setup than others. But like a TV show, it can become content that your audience tunes into on a weekly basis.
5. Take them behind the scenes with a tour or procedural workshop.
Give your audience an exclusive look at the background of your product. Your audience will have a deeper connection with a product or service when they know the process.
Think about what you can share that would be interesting or compelling for your audience. This tactic is particularly suitable for brands that pride themselves on transparency.
For example, check out this live video from Dunkin ‘Behind-the-Scenes where you see a “first store of the future concept”:
The live video offers viewers the opportunity to deepen their connection to the brand, especially since the video is not particularly “polished”, but rather shows Dunkin ‘a more authentic side.
6. Hang out in a Facebook group live.
There are over 10 million groups on Facebook that are used by 1.4 billion people every month. Consider going live in a group for an exclusive chat with your community. Groups are often smaller and more niche than corporate sites. Hence, the audience is likely to be more invested in a topic.
Think this style of live video is very casual. For example, you can set a topic for discussion each week so the audience can ask questions. Or ask your group if they would like to talk about their interests and program them.
7. Conduct an AMA with a business professional.
Personal access to experts is difficult – even before physical distancing. Host an AMA and give your audience access to the most knowledgeable people in your company.
During the live stream, the expert can answer questions on the fly – or answer questions from other social channels and promote a relaxed agenda.
8. Conduct a live counseling session.
Service industries, especially those with a coaching or consulting element, can use Facebook Live as an opportunity to demonstrate skills in real time. Often times, this can be even more interesting than an AMA as it allows you to go into the details beyond the high-level strategy.
If you have a prospect interested in taking the first step with you, ask for permission to be introduced live. You increase your chances of them saying yes by providing an incentive (whether that makes the session free if you normally charge for it, or some other type of bonus).
The aim of the live consultation will be to solve one of your problems in front of an audience so that each viewer introduces himself in the shoes of the prospect. Ideally, they would think, “This person could be me. I wonder what would be said about my business / situation in a counseling / coaching session.”
9. Showcase the current inventory and sell it to a live audience.
If you’re a product-based business with visually interesting goods, you can showcase your existing inventory with live video and give customers the opportunity to leave comments when they see something they want to buy.
However, it is best to use this type of content sparingly as you don’t always want to be perceived as over-revenue on social media as most users don’t sign up with purchase intent. However, every now and then and with a lot of engagement, this type of post can spark curiosity and generate revenue.
10. Host an exclusive product launch or follow-up training session.
Do you want to cause a sensation at your next product launch? Consider launching it on Facebook Live. This tactic gives your audience an incentive to tune in.
Alternatively, you can launch your product across all channels and provide an additional live stream. During the live stream, you can give the audience a first look at the product in action.
11. Run a competition.
Everyone likes the chance to win something, don’t they? Encourage your audience to engage by promoting the competition in advance and giving out a prize that they will love.
Some examples of Facebook Live competitions are:
- useful information
- Spin to win
- Pick a number
These are all good examples, but don’t be afraid to get creative either. Any kind of carnival test could work for your audience to “level up” (virtually).
12. Play a game.
One of the most important ways to be successful on social media is by humanizing your brand. And what better way to do that than sharing content from you playing a game? Challenge one of your employees to a jenga match or taboo. When you record it live, you can get your audience involved in the gimmicks you are engaging in (and indeed the human elements of your brand).
13. Have fun.
Speaking of humanizing your brand, you don’t have to play a game or hold a competition. There are other types of content that you can share that will show off your fun and playful side:
- To dance
- Highlighting “a day in the life” (or rather just a few minutes in the life)
- Record an experiment
- Use the acting skills to get a message across or make a point
- Lip sync
Just let go and be authentic. Your audience will love the opportunity to get to know you. For more inspiration, check out the best Facebook live videos we’ve ever seen.
Facebook Live best practices
Once you have your ideas in place, consider the best practices. Below are some tips for before, during, and after you start.
Before you go live
Before your live stream, encourage your audience to tune in. Notify them of social media posts and stories.
In your promotional content, ask questions from viewers. This ensures that the content you create is relevant and up to date. Next, take a tripod or prop your phone in a stabilized place. Check your internet connection and get ready to start the show.
Pro tip: Write a convincing description of your live video beforehand. This way, there are no spelling or grammatical errors.
During your live stream
At the beginning of your live stream, make sure you plan in time for your audience to tune in. When filming on a phone get the best picture possible and lock the focus and exposure.
Some live stream concepts require the talent to move further away from the phone. In that case, consider buying a wireless microphone that plugs into your phone.
Once you are live, you can chat and encourage your audience to participate. You can respond to fan comments and pin them. Get more attention by sharing the live stream in groups or pages you manage.
Also, try to make direct eye contact even though your audience is not there in person. Look at the lens and connect it to the camera. If you want to use music in a live stream, you must have the appropriate rights. Using unlawful commercial music can be a reason for your live stream to be removed. Try using music from the Sound Collection in Facebook’s Creator Studio.
Facebook recommends going live for at least 15 minutes or more. However, remember that the time limit for a session using the Facebook mobile app is four hours.
After the live stream
When the live stream finishes, save the live video to your camera roll. Once it ends, a prompt will pop up. A great way to reuse this content is to share it on your feed, stories, and even on IGTV. It can be even more rewarding to convert a live video into complementary social content.
So why go live on Facebook? This is a unique content opportunity to build brand awareness. The real-time, two-way calls that take place live also help build relationships.
There are so many options for live streaming so get creative! And don’t forget that you can reuse live video across social channels. It has never been easier to create value for your fans and followers in real time.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2020 and has been updated for completeness.