Retailers Who Are Winning at Facebook Live

Facebook Live for retailers | Shopify Retail blog

While social media has always offered users the chance to become more engaged with the brands and celebrities they love — and become more loyal to them as a result — Facebook Live now makes it possible for fans to stop whatever they’re doing and experience engagement with their favorite brands on a whole new level.

But first, let’s take a step back and look at the social media landscape. While Snapchat and Instagram Stories offer users a glimpse into raw, behind-the-scenes action, the shots shared on those platforms are usually short clips as opposed to long-form content.

Enter Facebook Live, which gives publishers, celebrities, retailers, and basically everyone, a medium to share valuable content in real time.

You might be wondering how Facebook Live differs from Periscope, which is another live video streaming app. (Shout-out to Periscope for being among the first to offer this live broadcasting capability to brands, media, and celebrities.)

Periscope caught on super quick and garnered all kinds of hype, especially with early adopting brands like Doritos, Coach and Nissan. But Facebook, oh Facebook, you took it to another dimension. The two main secrets to Facebook Live’s success? Scale and ease of use.

Whether this is something you’ve been considering for a while now or it’s a brand-new strategy you’d love to experiment with, we’re looking at the retailers who are slaying with Facebook Live and giving you the tools to master it as well.

Why Go Live on Facebook?

To dig deeper, we chatted with an expert on the matter: Jasmine Star, a social media, branding, and business strategist who specializes in helping business owners attract their dream customers. And she is all about Facebook Live.

Truth bomb: If you’re not leveraging Facebook Live, your brand is missing out on a huge business opportunity. Why? Star offers several reasons.

1. Facebook Live Helps Beat the Algorithm

Take it from Star herself: “There are a ton of reasons [to use Facebook Live] I could list, but I'll focus on the most pragmatic reason for business owners: if you want your post to be seen and have more organic reach, live video reigns supreme on Facebook. In fact, the algorithm favors live video to anything else (videos, photos, and text updates) at the moment. Gone are the days when simple photos and a link to a blog post could push traffic to your site… while available, it's just not as effective as it used to be. Live video is engaging and studies show that viewers spend more time on live streams than any other type of Facebook posts. As a result, they have a much higher likelihood of being shown to viewers.”

So, if people are liking, sharing, and engaging with your Facebook Live video — then boom — your post will be considered relevant, be displayed more frequently, and will rank higher on your followers’ newsfeeds as a result. (The algorithm helps solidify relevance, but it’s not enough: you need to ensure your Facebook Live sessions feature valuable content to increase your chances of longevity.)

2. Facebook Live Helps People Understand Your “Why”

According to Star, broadcasting live on Facebook gives your followers a better understanding of your business. As an entrepreneur, you have a powerful opportunity to be the one talking to your followers about your product or service, and how you can make others’ lives better thanks to what you’re selling.

3. Facebook Live Helps You Cut Through the Clutter

Not many retailers are leveraging Facebook Live… yet. But perhaps this will change once this post goes up! Star reminds us that Facebook Live sessions can help give your brand personality, which becomes an easy point of differentiation for you company. So, be open to sticking out!

Not sold just yet?

According to a Facebook Newsroom quote published by Simply Measured, the engagement on Facebook Live is impressive.

We’ve seen that people comment more than 10 times more on Facebook Live videos than on regular videos.

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Honor Roll: The Retailers Giving Facebook Live Life

When Facebook Live first launched in August 2015, it was restricted to journalists and celebrities. Everyone from The New York Times and Glamour to Buzzfeed and Refinery29 was “live,” whether on the red carpet, at a high-profile event, or simply at their headquarters, showcasing the features of a new product.

A few months later in December, Facebook opened up its Live functionality to regular users and brands.

Here are three of the top retailers that stand out so far, and how you can get inspired by them:

Benefit Cosmetics

Benefit cosmetics, Facebook Live | Shopify Retail blog

For starters, Facebook Live’s video capability lends itself very well to the cosmetics industry. Benefit launched a weekly live stream called “Tipsy Tricks with Benefit!,” airing every Thursday at 4 p.m., where a guest and host give beauty advice and open it up to real-time questions and answers with viewers. Its “talk show” vibe makes it fun, showcases Benefit’s brand personality, and offers up valuable content. These Facebook Live streams generate anywhere from 8K to 35K views; in September 2016, a whopping 190.4K people tuned into a “Tipsy Tricks with Benefit!” session featuring Benefit’s global brow authority Jared Bailey.

Birchbox, the subscription-box cosmetics brand, has also been using Facebook Live as a platform to educate their audience about new products, with the help of real-time Q&A sessions. According to Internet Retailer, on average each video receives about 20K to 30K real-time viewers.

Takeaway: Opening up your Facebook Live broadcast to a Q&A is an engaging way to keep your viewers interested and participating. It also ensures they leave with at least one or two key learnings.

Dunkin Donuts

Dunkin Donuts, Facebook Live | Shopify Retail blog

The popular purveyor of donuts timed its Facebook Live broadcast with Valentine’s Day 2016 by live streaming a video of a “test kitchen” where it demonstrated how it creates new products. The end result? A donut-themed wedding cake that has since garnered 39K views, 1.4K comments, and 518 shares. Pretty delicious.

Takeaway: Time your Facebook Live broadcast with a trending season or moment. And if you can showcase some customized content while you’re at it, then even better!


Asos, Facebook Live | Shopify Retail blog

Digiday included Asos in its article about British brands doing notable things on Facebook Live. The UK-based fashion e-tailer launched a Facebook Live broadcast in August 2016 called “100 layers of Asos,” which featured two staff members dressing a model in 100 layers of Asos clothing, in a span of 30 minutes. This show has since received 63K views (61.6K at the time of broadcast) and 388 comments.

Asos also leveraged Facetime Live to host a contest called “What’s in the Bag,” in which viewers had to guess the Asos items hidden in a bag by entering their answers in the comments section.

Takeaway: Hosting a live giveaway is a great way to engage your viewers in real participate. And it can be as easy as asking viewers to answer a question or “fill in a blank” in the comments, to enter.

How to Get Started

Just because Facebook Live is available for the average user, doesn’t mean your broadcast should be run-of-the-mill.

Luckily, Jasmine Star offers up tips and a checklist to ensure you slay your Facebook Live session. Visit her blog post on the topic, and download her blueprint to Facebook Live and checklist here.

Her most important piece of advice? “Be prepared. Intimidation usually comes from the unexpected, but having a checklist ensures you're prepared and have done everything you can for a successful broadcast. Also, it's important to remember that viewers aren't expecting to see a Broadway actor recite a powerful monologue. Viewers tune in with the expectation that a Facebook Live chat is just that: a chat. Don't feel the pressure of perfection (namely because perfection doesn't exist in the online streaming world), and instead opt for: 1. clarity of message; and 2. approachability. Streaming video is a great opportunity to personalize a business, so revel in the value of showcasing who you are, not just what you do.”

So, since Star is all about being prepared, her blueprint to Facebook Live success includes ensuring you know the answers to certain questions before going live, such as “What are your goals for the session?” and “What are you writing in the ‘status’ or caption for the post?”

Tip: Let viewers know if you will be opening it up to a live Q&A from the start, and if so, how long the question and answer period will be.

Star’s downloadable Facebook checklist is perfect for anyone who wants to get started. Here are some of her top tips:

  • Find a good light; better to have a strong light than a cool background.
  • Make sure you have a strong wifi signal.
  • Wear headphones if you’re in a noisy place with a lot of background ambient noise, like a caf´é.
  • Create an outline; it’s not about your opinion, but rather how your followers can live a better life thanks to your product.
  • Use a tripod; no shaky phones, please!
  • Keep your phone plugged in during your broadcast, it possible; Facebook Live really drains your battery life.

We know it can seem intimidating to dive in and get started, so remember this: your first sessions don’t need to be long! Star suggests starting with 10 minutes (which can be followed by five minutes of Q&A).

And, We’re Live!

You now have everything you need to go forth and go live. Keep in mind that leveraging Facebook Live is a great way to get you noticed as a brand and demonstrate your unique value proposition.

So, don’t put too much pressure on it; smile, have fun, and as long as you’re prepared, it will be smooth sailing.

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Facebook Live FAQ

How do I get to Facebook Live?

To access Facebook Live, you will first need to log in to your Facebook account. Then, go to your profile page and you will see the Live Video option in the bottom right corner of your profile photo. Tap on it and you will be able to start streaming live.

Can I watch Facebook Live without an account?

No, you cannot watch Facebook Live without an account. In order to watch a Facebook Live video, you must have a Facebook account and be logged in.

How does FB live work?

Facebook Live is a feature that allows users to broadcast real-time video to their friends and followers. It is available through the Facebook mobile app and the website. To use Facebook Live, users can open the app, tap on the “Live” icon, give their broadcast a title, describe what they’re broadcasting, and then press the “Go Live” button. Friends and followers will receive a notification when the broadcast starts and can watch it live or after it has ended. After the broadcast ends, it will be saved to the user’s page for future viewing.

How many followers do you have to have to go live on Facebook?

Currently, there is no set number of followers required to go live on Facebook. However, some users may need to have a minimum number of followers or friends before they can go live.