By Chris Paradiso
THE IMPORTANCE OF GOING LIVE
Tips for adding live-stream videos to your marketing strategy
So, you’ve built up a decent following on your Facebook business page and you make sure to post regularly—that’s enough, right? Wrong. Now that you’ve gathered this amazing audience, you need to be engaging with them! And it’s not enough to frequently post relevant content (though that is a big part of it). It’s also about really making a connection building a relationship with audience members.
One of the best ways to do this is by broadcasting live video on Facebook Live.
A common misconception is that Facebook Live should only be used for personal pages. Again, that’s incorrect. Agencies can and should take advantage of this incredible tool on a regular basis. Going live provides incredibly unique content that gives a new insight into your agency that consumers may not have had before. Live video is raw, unedited, and unfiltered content that tends to be more relatable to your audience.
Always engage with your audience before, during and after a live video. This is critical for success.
Facebook Live is also one of the most cost-effective video marketing strategies in the social media marketing world. You don’t need to have a fancy camera or expensive editing software; all you need is a smartphone—it’s as simple as that. One of the best features of broadcasting live is that as soon as you begin a live video, Facebook sends an alert to all your followers asking them to tune in and watch. The longer you broadcast, the more time people have to see your alert and join the live feed.
We prefer to use live video to bring awareness to our community events. We always try to avoid any “salesy” topics when going live, because the purpose for us is to engage and build a relationship and trust with our audience; taking a hard-sell approach is not the best way to do that. That’s why you will only find us going live on our annual Flag Day celebration, during our Bikes for Reading program or Reverse Trick-or-Treat, at our town’s anniversary celebration (300th this year), or in conjunction with many of the other community events in which we participate.
We feel that it helps those who can’t join our event, for whatever reason, still feel like they are a part of our family. For Flag Day, for instance, we always go live to show off the classic cars on display, my sister Rachel and her gold medals from Special Olympics events, and the various crowds of people who all gather to celebrate. We love to be able to engage with our community and share the amazing things that people can accomplish when we all work together.
Facebook Live was released to the public in April 2016, and their sister platform, Instagram, released its Live Stories later—in November of the same year. These features quickly became such a success that by December, Twitter had integrated with Periscope as a way for their users to have these same live-streaming capabilities.
While it was the original video platform, YouTube did not catch up until April of 2017, after recognizing the power behind such a phenomenal content tool. Even a bit later to the party, LinkedIn has since joined the lineup by releasing its own version of live streaming earlier this year; however, this feature is still in beta at the moment, and is only available to select, higher-profile accounts. Its live-streaming capabilities are said to be released to the public by the end of the year.
Regardless of your platform preference, there are plenty of options available.
Best practices for getting started
If you’ve never gone live, don’t worry. While it may seem complex and intimidating, it’s actually quite easy. Here are a few best practices to keep in mind for the first time:
- Try to let your audience know ahead of time when you’ll be going live. While it’s not always easy to remember, giving people a heads up can help gain more viewers.
- Make sure you have a strong Wi-Fi or network signal. You don’t want to experience any technical difficulties in the middle of your live feed.
- Don’t forget to write a description before going live. Let people know what it is that you are going live about, so if they tune in during the middle of the video, they can quickly catch up.
- Ask your audience to follow you when you go live. There is a handy “follow” button that appears onscreen during your live broadcasting, easily allowing users to follow your page if they like your content.
- Be sure to say hello to those who comment during your live video and respond to any questions that are posted. Always engage with your audience before, during, and after a live video. This is critical for success.
- It’s best to broadcast for longer periods of time to attract and gain more viewers. The longer you broadcast, the more time your audience has to see your alert and join in to watch.
- Try to mix in going live on your personal page, as this tends to gain more engaged viewers—just don’t forget to share the “live” video to your business page afterwards.
- Be creative. It’s always best to start your live video with a plan in mind to keep your audience engaged throughout your entire broadcast.
In the insurance world, live streaming is something that, as agents, we need to be using more frequently. It’s such a simple, free way to engage with your prospects and clients and maintain that relationship with them. Insurance is all about relationships and in order to move forward, we need to set ourselves apart from our competition, showing our clients why they should choose or continue to choose to do business with us.
Next time you participate in a local fundraiser or charity event, gain a new employee, or are celebrating an employee’s birthday, go live. Show your clients who you are and what you believe in, and you just might be surprised by the response you get.
Chris Paradiso is president of Paradiso Financial & Insurance Services, headquartered in Stafford Springs, Connecticut. His agency won PIA National’s Excellence in Social Media Award in 2013. He also heads up Paradiso Presents, LLC, which provides social media consulting, seminars and workshops to help agencies thrive in the online marketing world. Contact Chris via email at email@example.com.