As the world’s largest social media network, Facebook doesn’t need to do a lot of traditional advertising to grow its brand equity. However, the company is continually introducing new products to enhance its core platform and drive the conversation about what social media is.

One innovation Facebook was not first to introduce, is live streaming, but the company has taken the concept to a new level. TechCrunch explains “Instead of poising itself for web celebrities like YouTube Live or citizen journalists like Periscope, these commercials show Facebook Live wants to be the camera for the common man.” Imagine if Chewbacca mom had been a live stream.

Just because Facebook wants more “regular people” to use Live doesn’t mean organizations can’t take full advantage of the service. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when doing a live stream video: Treat the live stream like an exclusive event. Market it beforehand to your audience to make sure that there will be people commenting and reacting during the stream. During the stream, ask questions and provide an incentive for participation.

Mainstream media have taken a liking to live streaming on social media. During the presidential campaign, several news outlets live streamed coverage of the debates and the post-election addresses on Facebook Live.

What’s the big deal about live video anyway?

Video of any kind is huge in social media. It has been growing for the past couple of years, particularly on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook. Facebook wants its users to stay within the app, rather than go to other video sharing apps like YouTube, so it has made decisions that prioritize native video content within users’ newsfeeds. So if you’re not using Facebook to share video, you’re missing out on added reach.

Live video takes things to a whole new level. Joanna Stern of the Wall Street Journal explains:

It’s a powerful, spontaneous way to share your life and interact with people. Think of it as one-way video chat with two-way texting. A reporter live in Syria can read a viewer’s suggestion to move a little to the left to get a better view of the scene. A musician in his bedroom can take song requests. Aunt Ida and the rest of the fam can tune in to Stacy’s dance recital from across the country.

If you think about it, live streaming on social media is a return to the live performances we’re used to in other media. We listen to live radio shows, live news and sports broadcasts, Saturday Night Live, and live episodes of sitcoms are a special occasion. Until recording television shows became cost-effective, many were still shown live. There is a certain appeal of being part of the event—as witnesses—that live viewing offers.

Have you live streamed from your personal social media profile? What about for your organization?

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