If you were Kim Kardashian, you would have access to Facebook live streaming right now. Or Gary Vaynerchuk. Or Sandi Krakowski.
On August 5th, the social media giant released a new feature that allows public figures and VIPs to broadcast themselves via live streams through the Facebook Mentions app.
Right now, the service is only available to the one percenters but, if it proves successful, there is a chance that it could soon be accessible to the public at large and, what’s more, there’s a chance it could provide big benefits for everyday businesses.
How Does Facebook’s Live Streaming Feature Work?
Facebook Mentions is designed to allow the fans of the aforementioned celebrities and VIPs to engage with live-streamed content in the same way that Facebook currently allows users to interact with everything else in their News Feeds.
When a celebrity using the Mentions app begins to stream a live broadcast, a video link goes out to the celebrity’s fans. The fans can then click the link, watch, comment and interact with the live broadcast, which encourages engagement and fan/celebrity dialogue. Just like any typical Facebook post, the new feature allows for commenting and liking.
Unlike a typical Facebook post however, which is filtered through the New Feed’s relevancy filters, Facebook’s new live broadcasts will reach viewers while they are still happening, rather than being shuffled down the lineup. Once the Live post is over, the poster can choose either to delete it or to save it as a traditional video, at which point it can be re-shared among Facebook’s users.
The purpose of Facebook’s new feature is not so much to promote sharing as it is to provide fans with a direct line into the lives of the people they admire. Facebook provides a unique platform for public figures and most famous people already have a huge fan base that they share content with on a daily basis. The introduction of Facebook Mentions means that so-called “influencers” will enjoy a wider audience and a broader reach than they would on other social media platforms.
Four Things Facebook Mentions Offers Influencers
In order to unveil the specifics, Facebook wrote a post last month stating that Facebook Mentions will have four key features:
1) See what fans are saying and join the conversation
2) Share stories by posting updates, photos, videos or hosting live Q & A sessions
3) Join conversations on Facebook and see real-time posts from fans
4) Receive streamlined notifications about posts, including mentions from other influencers or the media
These benefits aren’t random and Facebook actually began collecting feedback from public figures last year. The Mentions app was originally formulated to help celebrities and other influencers deal with the scores of fan interaction they received on a daily basis and, at one point, served to facilitate the process of responding to thousands of wall posts and mentions at one time.
As it evolved, though, it turned out that stars liked the Mentions app for much more than that and actually found it a more intimate and authentic way to interact with their thousands of followers.
Celebrities like The Rock have already used the new Live feature. In order to make the feature more manageable for celebrities, fan comments are pushed onto the celebrity’s screen at a slow, readable pace and vulgar comments are automatically deleted. If they so choose, celebrities can turn off comments altogether and, if there are topics a celebrity doesn’t want to discuss, such as politics or a recent divorce, he or she has the option to blacklist certain topics for the course of the conversation.
What are the Benefits of Facebook Live Streaming for Businesses?
If celebrities have a message to share, so do businesses and the function of the Facebook Mentions app is actually very similar. Facebook live streaming services offer fans (or customers) a real-time look inside the heads, lives and habits of the people they admire and, with a little imagination; it’s clear how this feature could benefit a wide variety of businesses.
Imagine it – wouldn’t you love to step inside Mark Zuckerberg’s living room or get a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the production of your favorite product? Nowadays, customers want a more active role in the production, manufacturing and marketing of the products they love and Facebook Mentions has the potential to offer a platform for this.
Facebook Mentions for Interactive Marketing
Interactive marketing is an up-and-coming trend in the business world and it’s easy to see how live streaming services could offer a great way for companies to move from a transactional-focused interaction into a conversation.
By bringing customers into a live-stream session, companies can begin to encourage a dialogue rather than a simple product – transaction form of advertising and marketing. Today’s customers are more likely to respond to interactive marketing tactics and Facebook Mentions offers a great platform from which interactive marketing can spring.
The benefits of Facebook’s live streaming service for businesses are truly endless and possibilities include things like sneak-peak product launches, live Q& A sessions, interviews with a company’s head managers and even business/customer talking sessions.
Live Streaming Offers Educational Opportunities
One of the primary benefits of live streaming for businesses is that it offers a powerful platform for education. With Facebook’s new services, companies can easily reach out to educate their audience about a new service or product and may potentially even use the feature to hold troubleshooting sessions, how-to features or host discussions about relevant topics and industry questions.
Additionally, live streaming can be used to host talks about current developments in the industry and host interesting guests, in a sort of podcast-esque fashion. All of these things serve the purpose of reaching out to customers, providing high-quality information in a digestible format and ensuring that a company has a presence across a wide variety of media platforms.
Facebook Live Streaming Can Promote Spontaneity, Which Leads to Better Business
Numerous studies have shown that customers want a company they can relate to and a great way to ensure that your company is relatable and approachable to its customers is to incorporate some spontaneity into the works. Live streaming, of course, is a great way to do this.
With the live streaming feature, companies can now use Facebook to provide customers with a glimpse at some of their in-house employee antics, fun events, surprise guests or exciting new product blurbs. Your customers want to meet the people behind the scenes of the company and allowing them to do so encourages customer engagement and promotes loyalty to your brand and product.
Take movie director Bryan Singer, for example, who announced via mobile live-stream a special DVD cut of the X-Men film Days of Future Past. Because Singer chose to the announcement via live-stream, fans got to see the set of the movie as well as several people scurrying around, busy with the preparations for the impending shoot. As a result, the video enjoyed massive fan engagement and garnered many comments.
Although Singer wasn’t running a business, per-se, this is not limited to the film industry. People want to see what they can’t see on a daily basis and Facebook’s new live stream feature offers a great way for companies to interact with their customers in a fresh new form.
Live Streaming for Progress Reports
For companies that need to issue progress reports for investors, a live stream can be a great way to do it. A progress report through the Facebook Mentions app is a more intimate way of conveying important company details and, when formulated appropriately, can serve to provide investors with the needed details about a company’s positioning and help them further understand what, exactly, their money is helping the company do.
As an added bonus, a live-streamed progress report can also allow companies to give investors sneak peaks of new products or mock-ups.
Live Streaming for Help Desk
There’s nothing quite so frustrating for customers as trying to reach a help desk and being met, instead with an automated phone service. Studies have shown that poor customer service is a sure-fire way to lose clients and live streaming now has the potential to help companies avoid that pitfall entirely.
By hosting live-streamed help desk sessions, a company can mitigate client concerns, walk confused individuals through a process and provide the closest possible thing to hands-on support from anywhere in the world.
The Case for Facebook’s Live Streaming Service
Although it was introduced to cater to celebrities and “influencers,” there is a good chance that the Facebook Mentions app will soon expand to the rest of the site’s users, which will be a particular boon to companies near and far. Unlike traditional Facebook posts and even traditional videos, live streaming offers companies a way to interact with their customers that has previously be unattainable.
In addition to disseminating high-quality content in a unique, exclusive, exciting format, live streams also allow for better customer service, business boosting-spontaneity and exciting sneak peaks for dedicated customers, all of which serve to produce more business and better company/customer relationships.
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