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Facebook goes live: What does this mean for your organisation?

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Earlier this year, Facebook joined the likes of Periscope, YouTube and Snapchat to launch its very own live streaming service, Facebook Live. Unlike its competitors, Live not only allows individuals and organisations to broadcast live from any mobile device, but also gives them the opportunity to respond to their audience’s comments simultaneously. With online video set to account for 69 per cent of all consumer-related Internet traffic by 2017, Facebook Live provides the perfect opportunity to effectively communicate with audiences and tap into this video revolution.

So what does this mean for your organisation?

It allows you to humanise your brand.

Users have made it clear that while they enjoy images, it’s live, authentic interaction they crave. Real-time content, such as that provided by Live, drives conversation on social media, and allows organisations to broadcast behind the scenes to create an intimate and authentic connection with their audiences. While this is an invaluable asset, organisations must be wary of who they select as the face and voice of their brand. Choosing the wrong spokesperson can do considerable damage to an organisation’s reputation.

It gives you the chance to communicate to targeted audiences.

Facebook Live allows organisations to pinpoint who their live streams reach, therefore targeting their messages to different audiences. You can decide to broadcast to people in a particular Facebook group, or even schedule a live Q&A session using Facebook Events. Facebook Live is also particularly useful for special events, allowing organisations to broadcast videos of an event in action for people who cannot attend.

It opens new avenues for interactivity.

With real-time reactions and the ability to replay comments made, Facebook Live is a truly interactive tool, allowing broadcasters to engage with their audience and respond to their suggestions and questions. According to Facebook, users comment over 10 times more on Facebook Live videos than on regular videos. This provides a great opportunity to create dialogue between an organisation and its audience.

It is measurable.

With Facebook Live, organisations can uncover the peak live viewers, and access a visual representation of the number of viewers during each moment of the live broadcast. These metrics give organisations an insight into how long it takes people to tune in to a live broadcast, how many viewers a broadcast has at its peak, how many viewers are staying, and when they’re dropping off. This provides marketers and PR pros the chance to “perfect” their live videos, therefore increasing the effectiveness of message delivery.

But, it can be risky.

According to a study by Microsoft back in 2013, the age of smartphones has left humans with such a short attention span even a goldfish can hold a thought for longer. Scientists from the company suggest the average human attention span is 8 seconds, demanding captivating, high-quality and well-produced content. Usually such content is shot and prepared in advance, and then published online. However, Facebook Live works using mobile devices, which suggest shaky videos, poor sound quality and one presenter talking at the audience at any given time.

If you’re thinking of using Facebook Live for your organisation, make sure you have a strong Internet connection, and where possible, the best quality camera and a tripod to ensure a steady viewing experience for your audience. Much like any content asset, poor quality can greatly damage an organisation’s reputation.

Another point to mention is that any slips of the tongue, or misconstrued, ill-informed comments could land your organisation in hot water and greatly damage its reputation. With live video, there’s no editing or turning back, so it’s important to be mindful of what you say at all times.

Facebook Live is touted to be social media marketing’s “next big thing”. But like any other content asset new to the market, PR pros and marketers must tread carefully. After all, if a picture paints 1,000 words, then one minute of video is worth 1.8 million.

Jo Scard is a former Journalist who is now the Managaing Director of communications agency Fifty Acres.

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