If you’ve been among those wondering why go live on Facebook, and asking everyone you know “what’s wrong with text, photos or just sharing a YouTube link?” then this article is for you! Read on for the compelling reasons you should go live—and go live on Facebook in particular—along with the basics for how to get started.

Do you cringe at the thought of showing up, live, in people’s social media feeds? Plenty of people do. The very idea of popping up on camera, not knowing who may be watching and listening, gives them a case of the sweats like cold calling does for the uninitiated. 

For those driven by stats, I’ll start with some convincing details:

  • Facebook has found that people gaze at video content 5x longer than static content.
  • The average engagement rate for video is more than 50% higher than for other post types (.26% vs .18%)—and pages with <10K fans see still HIGHER engagement: an average of .52%
  • Side-by-side tests from many sources find that LIVE video outperforms posted videos in watch time. One test from Ladder.io saw a 230% increase.
  • 63% of the U.S. population over age 12 use it (74% of 35-54 year olds)
  • 70% of users visit Facebook daily; and 66% of users visit a local business page at least once a week.
  • Even B2B users rely on it: 44% use it for researching business products. 
  • Part of the appeal of video is thanks to the smartphone: 80% use Facebook on their mobile devices (and video is a more streamlined experience in mobile).
  • And a final surprising-to-some stat: only 55% of U.S. users are female

All of which make a great foundation supporting use of live video… but what’s the glue that holds them together?  What’s driving these stats? 

It’s important to understand what’s behind the trends, because that’s what’s going to help you get past your self-consciousness, and instead put your audience—the people who really need to hear from you—FIRST!

So WHY go live on video? What’s the fuel behind the fire? 

You’re selling to people… and people make buying decisions differently than they used to. Your opportunity on social media is to help people spot something about you and/or your products or services that grabs their attention. Something that appeals to them. 

Once you’ve parted that churning sea of messages long enough to make them pause and SEE you, it’s easier to do it again; and it becomes easier to open a conversation, that leads to a sale.

Social media is about connection and sharing… and it’s also about responding to people’s wants and needs. The platforms describe this as users wanting entertainment, but I steer clear of that word because so many people I talk to get intimidated by all the associations with that term. 

“I’m not funny,” they say; or “There’s nothing entertaining about ____ “[fill in the industry or service]. That doesn’t matter!

YES, you can you go LIVE even if you’re not an entertainer

What Facebook, Instagram and other platforms are describing when they say people want entertainment is just that quality of grabbing and holding a person’s interest. (And in the social media space that’s defined as 3-5 seconds!) 

Video works better than text or static images at doing this because humans are naturally curious, and our curiosity compels us to want to see what comes next. Sure, reading what comes next happens too, but takes waaaay more effort!

Marketing your business is a matter of creating just a teensy bit of suspense… it’s like unwrapping a gift. You tell a story, share news or a few facts in ways that open eyes, and generally trigger, and then satisfy, curiosity. If you’d like to get some ideas, take a look at some of the content from Kevin Kolbe, Video Creator (among his many talents).

You also have an opportunity to connect in real time with people who watch, which helps build rapport and grow the know-like-trust factor. Give your chances a boost by:

  1. Choosing a time that your followers are likely to be watching.
  2. Scheduling your live video and alerting followers 15-30 minutes before you’ll be on. 
  3. Inviting their comments and discussion while you’re sharing. 

HOW do you go live on Facebook?

The basic process is so easy: 

  • Right below the empty field with “What’s on your mind?” — where you’d normally start your post—click on the red “LIVE” button. 
  • Choose Public, Friends, Friends except…, Specific Friends or Only Me (a good option if you’re testing how this whole LIVE thing works). 
  • Decide if you want to share to a story (always popular!)
  • Tap start live video
  • Friends and followers who are on Facebook will get a notification that you’re live, and will have the option to tune in, comment, share emojis… pretend they’re with you, and be yourself!

So when all’s said and done, why go live on Facebook? To get more impact from your social media posts, make better connections with your followers—and start having FUN with your social engagement!    

Join me for Social Media Tips LIVE every Wednesday at 12:30 on Facebook! Just join the group, free, to get access.