For the last couple weeks we've been playing around with Facebook Page's newest feature "Facebook Live Stream." Every Thursday (around noonish), the Chamber has put out a live broadcast through our Facebook Page that allows us to do a live (and recorded) video for the friends and followers of our page.
We have found this to be a great, quick way for us to communicate with our 1,880 fans. Although we only run for eight minutes or so, we try to pack in three or four updates from the Chamber throughout the week. Usually, we focus on upcoming mixers, events, or programs we're developing at the Chamber, along with any questions or comments left on the page from previous Chamber LIVE videos or interactions.
The other reason we're "playing" in this space is to show our members and local businesses just how easy it is these days to grab a smart phone and engage your audience and customers. Many times we make things so darn difficult (strategy, ROI, branding, etc.), when really customers and clients are just looking to be engaged and educated about your product and service. Facebook Live provides this ability to get dynamic on your Facebook Page. In the past 30 days we've seen our page views go up by 12 percent and our video views go up by 1,822 percent.
To go live on your page, you'll need the Page Manager app downloaded on your smartphone (free). Log into your account and go to your page. Go to the 'publish' icon at the top. Once you've clicked that, it will pop open a new screen. In the bar above your keypad you'll notice an icon with a person with two circles around them. That is your ability to go live (it's best to be on Wi-Fi). Type in a description of your video and click 'go live.' You will have a 3 second countdown and then you're broadcasting live! What's equally cool is that once you finish your live stream, Facebook processes the video amazingly fast and saves it on your page's newsfeed for all to watch (even if they missed it when you were filming it live).
For many years I've studied the use of social media and its impact on organizations. Platforms and new social media will continue to evolve, but the constant is to create that human touch and interaction through technology. Remember the first word is "social!" The new customer (not just young people, but all generations are on social media these days) are looking – no, they're now expecting – multiple ways to interact with your brand, your store, and you online! Social media, if used correctly, can break down traditional barriers (geography, hours of operation, etc.) and create new, dynamic relationships that drive sales, repeat customers and good word-of-mouth marketing.
Let's get to the direct application! The local gaming store could do a 5-minute show once a week about the newest game that just came out, why they like it and tips on how to beat it. The local florist could go live and tell us the best ways to cut daffodils so they stay alive longer or how best to make a beautiful arrangement on the fly. A carpenter could go live and report on the process of building a structure or do a DIY (Do It Yourself) show on best tips from local contractors. A restaurant broadcasts live as they take us into the back of their kitchen to show us the specials they're working on for the night ("Don't forget to come in and try these tasty entrées"). It doesn't have to be perfect; it just has to be real, authentic and informative. The possibilities are endless!
I encourage you, if you haven't already, to go over to our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/benningtonchamber), like us, and tune in every Thursday around noon (lunch time!) to watch both the fun we have and the information we're able to share in a short amount of time. Then, you try it!
Matt Harrington is executive director of the Bennington Area Chamber of Commerce.