Facebook Live: The Magic of Real Time

Are you ready to join the real-time broadcasting wave of 2017 and share in real time?

Facebook rolls out new features on its network so often that it can be understandably difficult to determine which ones are flashes in the pan, and which are worth paying attention to. But when it comes to Facebook Live – a mechanism to broadcast events in real time on the network – Facebook seems to be signaling to its users that they want this feature to become a more prominent part of the network’s offerings.
It’s true that Facebook is not the first social network to get in on the live broadcast game. Twitter has, in general, been the go-to place to watch events as they unfold, and their acquisition of Periscope only strengthened that reputation. Furthermore, Instagram and Snapchat’s stories function allows people to share snippets from an event in real time. But given that Facebook is the most dominant social media network in terms of usership and reach, it bears paying attention to their indication that Facebook Live will become increasingly relevant as 2017 kicks off.

In Your Face: Live Content

The first clue comes from the amount of ad revenue and content that Facebook has put behind the mobilization of this feature. As Mashable reported earlier in December, “The social network desperately wants to turn each of its users’ lives into something of a personal TV station, in which they regularly broadcast their experiences, news commentary, talents or just idle snapshots of their lives.” Facebook reportedly put millions of dollars behind ad-spots that were “part tutorial and part showcase”, hoping that its users would get hyped on the idea of live broadcasting.
In addition to this, Facebook has prioritized Live content in users’ newsfeeds since it debuted in February of 2016. It has also enabled an autoplay feature in some versions of its mobile app in order to increase the likelihood that people will pay attention. But has all this rather aggressive promotion worked? According to Mashable, “while Facebook’s live video feature is popular among journalists, celebrities, brand advertisers and other users that have a clear business stake in it, the company recognizes that a huge portion of its 1.5-billion-strong user base might still not be aware of the tool or how to use it.”
This begs the question: why would the average consumer or small business page want to use Facebook Live? Well, firstly, when Live is used properly, it is likely to become very effective in terms of creating viral content. The “Chewbacca Mom” sensation of 2016, which was one of the most viral pieces of content of the year, is a good example. Because it was happening in real time, and was so unexpected and universally entertaining, it added an element of surprise and delight that helped it spread beyond its initial live broadcast. Indeed, this points to one of Live’s most compelling selling points, especially for brands and businesses using the network: connecting with your audience in real time, via video, stands a good chance of having more of an impact than any other medium.

It’s All About the Engagement

As Socialfly, an NYC-based influencer marketing agency, notes, “When your video is live, users can comment on your brand and product/services in real time. This gives you a new way to engage with them on a more immediate and personal level. Users can ask questions in the comments that can be monitored while you’re live. Consider hosting a Q & A at the end of, or even throughout your video to allow users more opportunities to connect and engage with your brand.”
So even if you’re not yet using Facebook Live, it might pay off in the long run to start now. After all, the social network has dropped plenty of hints that they want the feature to gain traction, and avid social media users and marketers would be prudent to trust and follow their lead.