How CEOs Can Use Facebook Live to Connect with Customers

4 ways businesses can take advantage of the popular live streaming platform

4 ways businesses can take advantage of the popular live streaming platform

By Tanisha A. Sykes

Great leaders know that communication is key to building relationships that stick. If you want the power to share everything about your business—and connect with potential customers in the process—Facebook Live may be your most powerful asset in 2017.

Why is Facebook Live a potential game-changer? “It gives you the ability to provide authenticity on social media and that’s extremely powerful,” says Kerry Shearer, a digital strategist known as ‘The Live Stream Expert.’ With more than 1 billion daily active Facebook users, Facebook Live allows small business owners to broadcast video from any smart device while giving viewers an opportunity to connect in real time.

Ready to lead your company down the path of better customer connections? Consider these tips.

Provide useful content. Offering practical advice is a fast way to engage an audience. For example, a local hardware store could go live daily for 10 minutes and teach an easy do-it-yourself project like fixing a fence, Shearer says. Once users see repeated examples of free content, like that offered by Julia Kristina, a Vancouver, British Columbia-based registered clinical counselor who gives tips on dealing with stress, it entices them to seek out the business and purchase other services.

Unbox a new product. Frolicking puppy videos may catch a consumer’s eye, but it’s fleeting. Potential customers may be more impressed after watching a video of a product they’ve been looking to buy, says Ali Rittenhouse, a business coach and digital strategist. Rittenhouse points out Santa Rosa, California-based small business retailer Evy’s Tree as a good example. “They always do live videos of what’s new in their line of adorable hoodies and cardigans,” she says. “Before the merchandise even comes in, it’s sold out in presale.” It’s like unwrapping a gift; everyone wants to see what’s inside.

Live-stream an event. What would you remember more, an interesting article or a captivating video? Statistics show that video wins hands down. If you’re attending an industry conference, go to the exhibitor area and report the highlights. “Show your audience what’s trending and ask if you should carry it in your store,” says Shearer. Also, interview key influencers or celebs to answer viewers’ questions. People love being a part of the conversation.

Take ‘em behind-the-scenes. Everyone wants to know where the magic happens. Give a quaint tour of your facility, go backstage at your next live event, or do a demo. That’s what chocolatier John Kapos aka Chocolate Johnny, owner of Perfection Chocolates in Sydney, Australia, does. He allows users to interact with chocolate masters, ask questions, and see what delicious masterpieces are scheduled for that day. “Facebook Live gives you the chance to teach your niche while connecting with the audience,” says Shearer.

While our experts say there’s no downside to sharing too much, make sure your tech is top-notch. “Use a plug-in smartphone mic for great audio, get a tripod mount for a steady shot and buy a small video light,” suggests Shearer. LuMee light phone cases for iPhone (www.lumee.com) offer professional studio quality lighting on the go.

Going live for the first time can be uncomfortable, but start small. “The more consistent you are, and the more personable you become, the more people you will attract,” says Rittenhouse. Interacting on Facebook Live not only adds value and builds community, but also boosts business.

Tanisha A. Sykes is a personal finance and career development expert with 20 years’ experience as a journalist. Follow her on Twitter: @tanishastips.

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