Launched in 2004, Facebook has become the powerhouse of the social media movement. Its statistics speak for themselves:
- Used by 71% of the online population, Facebook boasts 1.13 billion daily active users.
- Courses have been built to teach organizations how to maximize its power through “likes” and “shares”, how to leverage its algorithms and how to effectively market brands and products through its cutting-edge interface.
- With its wide reach and peer power, simply put, this social media giant cannot be ignored when it comes to engaging your current and prospective members.
What is Facebook Live?
Always experimenting with new ways to engage, Facebook launched Facebook Live, its real-time video sharing in April. It has captured the likes of educators, coaches, business people and everyday people who want to virtually engage a group.
With the ability to share real-time reactions and respond to live comments during a broadcast, Facebook Live is offering a virtual, yet interactive way to connect yourself and your organization with members. And all you need is your smartphone!
The Pros and Cons of Facebook Live
Is Facebook Live really a slam-dunk engagement tool as people say? In many cases, yes, but like in all efforts, it’s good to see the potential benefits and understand the pitfalls.
- It understands your fear. You can do a test run that only you see!
- It’s interactive. You’ll see reactions and comments in real time to your broadcast. If you’re looking for a way to engage and “talk with” as opposed to “talk to” members, this could be it.
- It can be targeted. You can broadcast by group, providing an automatic way to target different demographics. Even better, push notifications can be sent to members inviting them to join.
- It’s easy. As in most Facebook features, the interface and experience is user-friendly and intuitive.
- It’s mobile. All you need to host or join a live event is your smartphone.
- It’s cheap. It costs nothing to host an event.
- It offers insight. You’ll be able to view metrics such as peak viewership, minutes viewed and unique viewership.
- It can be shared and rebroadcasted later, showing all the reactions and comments as they occurred in real-time. Your one-time effort can live on as a continuing engagement tool. In fact, Facebook’s algorithm is actually giving preference to live video in the News Feed.
- It’s something new to try. Social media is all about experimentation. Facebook Live is a new way to share information, host a discussion or throw an online party.
- If you’re not active on Facebook yet, or being followed by members, it might be hard to drum up participation for live broadcasts. You may be better served building an online presence first before putting the time, effort and expense into live, online events.
- If public speaking isn’t your forte, then this may not be the avenue for you. Whether you’re in the room or not, a poor presentation drops engagement fast. And, it’s a lot easier to click the “close window” button than it is to physically leave a room.
- Negative comments and reactions can be broadcast, too, for all to see (and shared and rebroadcasted). Choosing an appropriate topic and purpose for your broadcast is critical to its success. Start with something fun!
- It won’t buoy your social media platform. Facebook Live is one piece of your marketing pie and is a complement to other approaches. Spend your time and your money likewise.
Getting Started with Facebook Live
If you’re ready to give Facebook Live a shot, we recommend this post for some great tips and tricks to make the most out of the feature. And to see how other community organizations have been using Facebook Live, check out this YMCA and the National Park Service.
And don’t forget! Moms are doing the registration for 83% of their kids activities, and 76% of female users hit up Facebook regularly. Experimenting with Facebook’s features, like Facebook Live, is a smart way to engage your most active customer.