It’s been a feature for a while now, Facebook Live. Surprisingly, when I mention it to clients, though, I’m met with, “What’s that?” We’ve all seen it; you’re scrolling through your news feed, and you see a post with the red ‘Live’ icon
and the eyeball indicating how many people are currently watching the feed. At present, this feature is largely used by news sources as one more platform for them to share stories, but it is quickly being picked up by businesses and advertisers as a way to drive follower engagement.
Why? Because pictures are out, and video is in. Where a few years ago your social media strategists were emphasizing the importance of images – “Don’t even bother with a post if you don’t have a picture,” advice I gave many times over – these days video is the attention grabber. Literally. It grabs your attention by auto-playing the moment you scroll over the video. How can you not pause to investigate what the video is all about?
With it clearly being the way of the future and such a popular new feature, why then are some people holding back from using it? The answer is obvious. You’re live. On Facebook. For all the world to see. This idea, for a camera shy person, is a nightmare. Video is one thing, you can retake a video, and you can edit a video, but live is live. In the mind of a person with public speaking phobias, this is equivalent to a spot on the evening news with millions of viewers.
I am one such person. While I’m a social butterfly, my sociability is best in personal face-to-face interactions and online. I fail miserably at speaking publicly. In school, I was the student who adopted a monotone, spoke too quickly for anyone to understand, and ended up delivering nothing more than the solution to my classmate’s sleep deprivation. Now I’m being asked, by Facebook, to subject my online followers to this same deadening transmission?
In suggesting this new feature to many of my clients, I’ve realized how many people out there have that same fear. So, when many of them showed timid interest at best, I decided I’d practice what I preach. I posted my first Facebook Live post, dubbing it Social Butterfly Chats in the anticipation of making it a regular practice, and it was almost as awful as I suspected. Yes, I spoke monotonously and I stumbled over my words. True, no one watched it live (one great feature is that Facebook saves it as a video and posts it to your page, so if no one sees the live installment, people can watch it later). Absolutely, I felt insecure and self-conscious the entire time and for quite a while after. But, it was worth it.
I can now speak from experience when recommending the feature to clients. I can now empathize fully with their reservations about being on video. I now know and can promise them, as I [they] continue, I [they] will only get better.
If you’re considering Facebook Live posts as a part of your strategy here are some pros:
- Relatively easy with a smartphone forward facing camera
- Can do it anywhere
- Takes less time than writing a blog post and then posting to Facebook
- Still new, so lots of areas for creativity
- Facebook is promoting videos more than images
- Keep it short – people have short attention spans, to begin with, but it will also help make it less intimidating if you’re someone who doesn’t like to be on camera
- Experiment – give an idea some time, but if it doesn’t seem to be successfully getting a lot of engagement, try something new
- Be somewhere comfortable
- Practice what you’re going to say a few times before you go live – even take video of it so you can get an idea of what the final product will look like
- Let people know in advance you’re going live until you have more followers
At the end of the day, always market your business in a way that makes you comfortable. If being on camera makes you so uncomfortable you’re driving followers away, find a way to shoot video that doesn’t involve you speaking. For instance, if you’re an event planner, show live snippets from your events. If you’re a cake decorator, show live videos of you decorating a cake. Get creative and have some fun. Facebook wants raw video of people engaging organically, so the live video of you just being you and running your business will do well.