By Tracy Williams – Olmstead Williams Communications

Facebook Live, originally launched in August 2015 and limited to celebrities, is now available to the platform’s 1.7 billion users. It allows them to stream content instantly and be their own spokespeople.

In today’s media landscape the focus is on authenticity and instant, unfiltered action. Facebook Live and other platforms make you the broadcaster – allowing direct and immediate communication with customers, prospects, employees, partners and the media. Facebook now claims 100 million hours of videos watched every day, with a 300 percent yearly increase in live streaming. From Crayola’s successful stunt retiring a color on “National Crayon Day” to Bloomberg’s popular Tom Keene market review, live media offers a simple way to tell stories and build relationships in real time.

Here are five tips to make your next livestream stand out among the 60 million businesses on Facebook:

  • Build an audience. More than 1.7 billion people have Facebook pages. Creating a page for your business is the easy part, but what makes it valuable? Your page should be the gateway into your company’s story. Pair robust graphics with punchy copy to announce company news and media coverage. Connect with other pages through tags, likes and sharing others’ content. If you engage regularly, others will engage back. You’ll gain followers and your Facebook Live impact will increase exponentially.
  • Raise the bar. “Fans” are great, but the audience you want is the influencers and thought leaders in your industry. So think strategically. Check out your competitors’ pages and aim to do better. Outshine the rest with fast responses on hot topics. Once you know who your followers are and what they want, the rest is easy.
  • Prep your message. Approach Facebook Live with clear and concise talking points on the message you want to deliver, just as you would prepare for a press conference. Be an upbeat version of your brand and don’t be afraid to take viewers’ spontaneous questions. After all, it’s your field and there’s no question you can’t handle. Include a colleague, a partner in the firm or any thought leader. The more voices the livelier. EY recently did this successfully at the 2017 Innovation Realized event about an evolving workforce and a superfluid market.
  • Maintain the momentum. As soon as the camera stops rolling, your Facebook Live video becomes an asset. After the livestream, your video posts immediately to your Facebook page. From there, create blog posts and embed your video so that followers can have both a written version and a visual component to your message. The live event is an investment that keeps on paying across social media for weeks, months and years.
  • Don’t distract the audience. Sure, you can produce a compelling livestream with your old smartphone. But a scroll through Facebook will demonstrate that livestreams are quickly becoming more sophisticated productions. From portable lighting to a video stabilizer, new devices are being marketed every day to make streaming easier to watch and to produce. They’re not expensive or hard to learn, either. Check out more tools here.

The growing demand for personal live streaming has led Facebook to add 3,000 people to its content moderation team. Scrutiny is up as well as interest. Facebook Live offers businesses the opportunity to easily share company achievements, breaking news and expertise on their own fast-moving industries.

The world is watching. And that’s what we want.

Tracy Williams is CEO and founder of Olmstead Williams Communications. Technology, life sciences and professional services businesses rely on OWC to drive brand awareness and revenues. For more information, visit www.olmsteadwilliams.com.