With more than 1.9 billion people using Facebook monthly, Facebook Live is an easy way to broadcast to the largest audience in the world for free. Small businesses that aren't using Facebook Live to market their products and services are missing out on valuable customers.
"Facebook Live is one of the most powerful yet underutilized tools a small business can use to engage with their market," said Elizabeth Giorgi, founder and CEO of Mighteor. "In today's mobile-first world, live video serves as a way to connect directly with the followers you have acquired on your social channels instantly."
Even Facebook itself favors livestreams over nonlive videos: According to the site's own data, users spend more than three times longer, on average, watching a live video as it's streaming compared to a video that's no longer live.
The social media platform also sends out notifications to your followers and subscribers once you go live. This gives potential customers a clickable link to view your video, Giorgi said.
Once you have Facebook Live viewers, you'll want to turn them into paying clients. Here are four tips to help you convert viewers into customers.
Have a plan and call to action
During a Facebook Live video, you are essentially making a speech or presentation in front of a live crowd. You wouldn't make a speech without at least a rough outline – the same goes with Facebook Live.
"You need a strategy and a call to action," said Christina Nicholson, owner of Media Maven. "Before you go live, ask yourself: What is the purpose of this [video]? Whatever you want the watcher to do is your next goal."
You can't assume your audience knows what to do after watching the livestream, so Nicholson recommended writing a call to action in the text box and referring to it during the live video. This could be a promo code, or simply encouraging viewers to visit your website or share the video.
It's also important to create a plan because you only get one take.
"Live events cannot be edited or fixed in post-production, so you always want to be on top of your game going into it," Giorgi told Business News Daily.
Advertise the event
While Facebook does its best to promote live videos, if you don't promote your video as well, you're missing out on potential viewers (and, therefore, customers).
"Make sure your followers know when the event is going to happen and get them excited about it so when the notification arrives, they're sure to click it," Giorgi said.
"You can schedule the live broadcast and let your audience know when and where to expect you, so they're ready," Nicholson said. "If you can, set up a normal weekly schedule so it … becomes part of your routine [and] theirs, too."
A great way to advertise a Facebook Live is by creating an event on Facebook along with a description of what the video will be about. Once the event is created, invite your friends and followers to tune in to the video.
Show off your product
The most important part of creating a successful Facebook Live video is showing off your products or services. While it's important to create entertaining and engaging content, it's not helpful if it's not promoting your product or brand. Think about what your company does and showcase that.
For example, a yoga instructor could live stream part of their yoga class, a boutique owner could give a sneak peek of a new line and a real estate agent could give a tour of a house on the market.
"A great way to begin is to answer your customers' frequently asked questions and address their pain points," said Aditi Bhargava Tandon, designer and co-founder of Maroon Oak LLC. "Retailers can create a tour of their store, explain details of a new product, offer a backstage tour of their workspace or kitchen, meet the staff or peek into upcoming launches."
Interact with the viewers
When customers trust you and your brand, it's much easier to make a sale. Business owners can interact with customers during Facebook Live, which can increase trust and authenticity for your brand. It might not be a true face-to-face meeting, but live videos can be a conversation between you and potential clients.
"If people can watch you talk about your specialty or an issue facing the industry, they will be much more likely to sign on with you versus an unknown entity," said Michelle Vroom, CEO and founder of Vroom Communications.
You should interact with viewers by asking engaging questions, reading and replying to their comments and thanking your audience for tuning in. However, like most things in business, it's all about trial and error. Pay attention to what works during a live stream and what doesn't. Track these trends and you'll soon find out what works best for your business.
For more tips on marketing your business with livestream videos, check out this Business News Daily guide.