I’ve been a fan of Facebook Live videos since they picked up speed in the first half of 2016. Social media is about being authentic and real with your audience, and Facebook Live videos for business are nothing short of that. In fact, I found that the videos done well are almost addictive.

Facebook Live launched April 6, 2016 and has increased in popularity as more users grasp onto the concept of engaging others via live videos. Similar to Twitter’s Periscope, Facebook Live allows an individual or a Facebook Page admin to create and publish live video feeds to a target audience. What has drawn me into Facebook’s approach (vs. Twitter’s) is the ability to archive videos and leverage them for re-engagement. This ensures your efforts to create and share something special are maximized. Want to see what people around the world are talking about or doing at this very moment on Facebook Live? – Check out Facebook’s Live Map.

1. Reveal an Insider Strategy or Tactic

Everyone wants to learn a secret strategy or “quick hit” to gain an edge. If you are in the position to share one, consider doing so via Facebook Live videos. This opportunity to engage your audience with a tidbit of highly desired information is a great way to connect on a deeper level.

Facebook Live videos for business give you a platform to brand yourself using topics like motivation, what drives you to succeed and tips on how you plan a successful business day. These insights provide value while giving your audience a closer, more authentic look at who you are as a loan officer or real estate agent. Use videos to mentor those who are less experienced. Giving back is a great way to build relationships and trust in any industry.

Know how to successfully execute a specific task, or have shortcuts to save time? Consider sharing your insights via Facebook Live videos. Maybe your key to success is your ability to relax and reduce stress — share those secrets via video, too, and in the process you’ll humanize yourself with your audience. The same advice rings true for companies looking to relate to the consumer. Find commonalities, and highlight those using Facebook Live videos.

2. Announce a Contest Winner

A great way to hone in on your target market is to announce a contest winner through Facebook Live videos. This gives your audience the opportunity to learn, in real-time, straight from you, who the big winner is.

Pro Tip: Leveraging pre- and post-event marketing via other media channels will help you gain the most significant results.

Maybe this means that you surprise the winner at his or her home or place of employment (think Publishers Clearing House, assuming that ahead of time you cover your bases in the fine print, get the winner’s permission and release, and are allowed to stop by the winner’s home or workplace). The point is: The suspense and emotion that comes from announcing a live winner on video can be infectious.

You can also use Facebook Live to announce any future contests you plan to hold. While it’s important to raise awareness of the contests through traditional marketing channels, the actual announcements should only be done via Facebook Live. Driving all of that traffic to a single social media channel is a great way to leverage the live video feature of Facebook.

3. Provide Your Audience a Sneak Peek

One of the best parts of engaging with a person or brand on social media is the opportunity to get a sneak peek into something special.

If you are a real estate agent or in the mortgage business, consider highlighting a new home for sale by posting a walk-though of the house before it hits the market. This sneak peek approach makes your audience feel exclusive and special. At the same time, it provides value to your business. You can leverage the comments section to address questions about the home, in real-time, to potential buyers or members of your social network. Members of your audience can even share and tag people they know who might be interested in the property.

You can also feature community “hot spots” using Facebook Live videos to offer a clearer picture of what a neighborhood is really like. This approach can help to encourage engagement on a social channel that drives business growth.

4. Host Live Chat Sessions

If you want to build on your relationships with your customers or audience using social media, Facebook Live offers you another great opportunity. You can host live chat sessions or monthly Q&A’s with your audience to help create a bond that strengthens your business relationships.

Consider making yourself available for a set period of time each month to answer questions customers may have. Promote your Q&A session prior to each event through other media channels — this will help you build awareness, as well as guide the live discussions. Elicit engagement by asking for questions ahead of time on your Facebook page or through email. You can also address questions in the comments section, in real-time. This added engagement increases your overall exposure on Facebook.

Not only will you be providing a valued service to your customers, as well as engaging with them on a more personal level, but you will also be able to gather data and information on what is of interest or concern to them. And when you understand your key demographic better, you can more effectively address your audience’s needs from a general business standpoint.

More than anything, the biggest draw I see for Facebook Live videos for business is the concepts of transparency and authenticity. During a Facebook Live video, things can happen unexpectedly. And that’s okay. It’s an unscripted experience. It shows a different side of you as a loan officer, real estate agent or mortgage professional. That said, it’s probably in your best interest to practice how you envision the video playing out in order to ensure you are not wasting your viewers’ time. Only include the most important items in a video.

Here are some best practices Facebook has suggested for maximizing Facebook Live videos for business.

Best Practices | Facebook Live Videos for Business

According to Facebook, a video should be at least 10 minutes in length to allow others to discover and engage with the video. However, I believe there’s an argument for having shorter videos that maximize a viewer’s time, while still optimizing Facebook’s indexing algorithm. Where I see this being successful is by having a promotional strategy prior to and after business-focused Facebook Live videos. Remember your video will be archived, and will not disappear.

Another best practice is to have a strong connection, either by wifi or cellular. This helps curtail any garbling of your message during Facebook Live videos for business. The description of your live videos should be compelling enough for an audience member to pause and take notice. Facebook Live videos are new right now, so by nature, people will be interested. But as time goes on and this feature is not so novel, you’ll need to entice viewers with an impactful initial description to your audience.

The goal of leveraging Facebook Live videos for business is to connect on a deeper level, so feel free to call out to those who comment and say hi or give thanks to them. This will help to deepen the connection you have with viewers. Be creative and be sure you are making the most of your viewers’ time by providing quality insights and content.  Doing so will help encourage them to subscribe for notifications, so they can tune in the next time you decide to use Facebook Live videos for business.

Have you tried Facebook Live videos? What has been the response? I would love to hear, share in the comments below!

Check out these other posts on how to leverage Facebook in the mortgage industry!

Facebook + Mortgage Industry

Ben Smidt, MA

Ben Smidt - MGIC Digital Strategy Manager

Ben Smidt serves as MGIC’s Digital Strategy Manager. He leads corporate development and management of MGIC's digital marketing strategy across the enterprise. This includes establishing a clear vision for all digital marketing initiatives and providing strategic direction for the company's digital and social media marketing efforts. His primary goal is to increase brand awareness and improve user experience (UX). Additional responsibilities include PPC budget strategy and management of ad spend.

In addition to the insurance industry, Ben has a combined 10 years of experience in computer software, education and publishing industries. His focus has always remained in the area of education and digital marketing for media and technology.

He holds an MA from Marquette University in media channel effectiveness and digital communications, as well as a BS from UW-Madison focused in communications. He resides with his wife, daughter and son in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.

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