How to Use Facebook Live to Enhance Your Event
Facebook has been the go-to platform and tool for event marketers since its inception. With the ability to create groups and events and invite people to join, Facebook was an instant hit with event professionals and marketers because it helped expand their reach. We all know that event professionals are wearers of many hats and Facebook has been a pivotal marketing tool in the events industry and continues to add enhancements that make event professionals’ jobs easier. We shouldn’t have expected any less from one of the most innovative social media and technology companies. Facebook is known for continually introducing new, exciting and engaging features to their site, and Facebook Live could be the feature that revolutionizes the way we view events.
What is Facebook Live?
Facebook Live is Facebook’s version of a live streaming service. While many apps and companies provided live streaming services prior to Facebook, Facebook took live streaming up a notch by giving the feeds more exposure than other live streaming apps and social media platforms could offer. Facebook Live was introduced in August of 2015, but it completely took off in the events industry in April 2016 when they released an update with better enhancements and tools for engagement.
Facebook Live allows a user to stream video live from their smart phone directly to Facebook to share with friends, family and fans. According to Fidji Simo, Product Management Director at Facebook, Facebook Live is a tool to “share a moment instantly with the people you care about. This means your friends, family, or fans can be there with you, and you can respond to their comments and see their reactions.” With the updates to Facebook Live, we now have the ability to broadcast and watch live streams in our group and event pages. This enables Facebook users to seamlessly connect with their friends, family, and others with the same interest on a much deeper level than previously possible.
Why is Facebook Live Better than Others?
Facebook has always managed to innovate and make the best version of any feature available on social media sites; their live streaming service is no different. Facebook Live has the ability to give broadcasters more exposure and reach than competitors such as Meerkat or Periscope. With other streaming apps and platforms, you have to rebuild your followers or use the app to post to social media more widely used
Using Facebook Live, you’re already connected to your friends, family, colleagues, and fans. Using Facebook Live, you can also live stream to an event or group so that any member can receive a push notification to view the stream quickly and easily. Viewers can invite their friends to view the stream as well. A feature called “boost” allows users, or broadcasters, to push it onto newsfeeds of people who may not be a direct Facebook connection. Facebook Live also made it possible to stream on nearly any device by releasing its API to developers. Zuckerberg demonstrated this by showing a drone broadcasting live.
Facebook Live saves the stream and can be replayed with the comments and reactions of viewers appearing as they did during the original stream. This means that people who can’t watch live, can go back and be exposed to a very similar experience even after the close of the event. Archiving, storing and searching videos is much more user-friendly with Facebook Live than its competitors. Previously, Periscope always automatically deleted videos after 24 hours. They’ve since added an option to leave them on the site longer (probably due in part to Facebook’s lead). Meerkat has been dwindling in popularity since Periscope and Facebook Live. The lack of adoption could be, in part, because the streams were deleted right after they ended.
Facebook Live alerts people with push notifications when their friends are streaming or watching a broadcast. There is also an interactive live map; this allows you to view where live streams are taking place on a global scale. And better yet, in most cases, you can view that stream as well. During the live streams, Facebook Live allows viewers to comment and react while the feed of comments collects under the video. It also gives you the ability to turn off or on comments depending on what is best for your event. Highly detailed analytics are also available through Facebook Live.
How to Use Facebook Live to Enhance Events
Many event professionals have discussed whether live streaming (and virtual reality) will overtake the events industry. However, most seem to argue that these technologies are only going to supplement or enhance the experience, not replace it. Facebook Live can be used to build excitement among attendees prior to the event. For example, when event planners arrive on location they can stream the location and set-up so that the viewers can picture themselves in it and watch the event space transform to what they will see when they arrive.
Use Facebook Live to conduct in-event interviews with influential people and stream them to your event’s Facebook page and group. Highlight popular exhibitors, speakers, or sessions through the live stream (sponsorship opportunity?). Give viewers a “behind the scenes” look at the event by offering a glimpse of what people don’t see while attending an event. Answer viewers’ questions and interact with them just as much as the live attendees to maximize engagement. Using Facebook Live, you can be the viewers’ eyes and ears at the event, therefore you must choose what to stream wisely and make sure that the content will help further increase engagement.
Facebook Live: A Supplement, not Replacement
Facebook Live is a good supplement for those who cannot attend an event, but still want to be involved in the experience. The main goal of using Facebook Live isn’t to replace to live, physical events but give viewers a glimpse into what they are missing with hope that they will evolve into attendees for future events. Not only does live streaming increase engagement with the event, the broadcast can be repurposed for video sites such as YouTube, or used for marketing materials for future events.
Embrace the Connections
There’s never been a better time to be a part of the events and meetings industry. Event technology continues to evolve, creating richer and more memorable experiences that take place before, during, and after an event. Events no longer have to die out immediately following their end.
Facebook is one of the most popular social media networks in the world, and now they’ve revolutionized how event professionals can market their event and maximize engagement. As the usage of the tool increases so does the value for event professionals. Facebook Live gives event professionals an increased reach to further boost the impact of the event. Events are no longer tied to their physical presence, but can be shared with a wide audience of people unable to attend. Thus allowing them to interact with other viewers and engage with the event from all over the world. Our world has never been more connected than it is today, now we just have to embrace it.