What I think of Facebook Live

Last week I had my first experience of watching a video via Facebook Live.

I got a notification from Facebook that Scott Bradlee of Postmodern Jukebox fame was playing piano requests live. (If you’ve not heard of PMJ before, I strongly recommend that you check them out. A fantastically talented bunch of musicians! Visit their YouTube page to hear more.)

Anyway, fan-girling aside… As well as how much I liked watching him play, I found that the new feature from Facebook was something that enjoyed too. Here’s why:

It felt a lot more real

Someone being on video live quite simply felt a lot more honest and real. No editing, no re-takes, what happened was what was included. This felt a lot more personal than a scripted video and that was one of the aspects that I liked the most. In PR terms, it felt more credible.

You can engage more

In the video, below, you can see Scott looking through comments and choosing what to play. It is a great way to engage with fans or customers in real time. (I commented to play Star Wars, Rhapsody in Blue and Harry Potter – thanks for playing them Scott!)

It felt like a community

At the risk of sounding cheesy, watching the video I felt like part of a community. Everyone was enjoying the video together – not just watching as and when they got time – and I felt like that was a great part of the whole Facebook Live experience. (Now that really does sound cheesy!) A notification also popped up when a friend started watching too, which is a nice little feature.

What didn’t I like?

There are a couple of things that may not be so good. Although being live and having no chance to edit the video was a good thing in this case, it’s not something that will work for every brand, artist or company. Looking from a PR perspective, you need to work out what works best for your client.

And you can’t pause. I missed some bits as I couldn’t pause the video. (I needed to close the Facebook app to write some quick notes for this blog post!) But it’s a small sacrifice to make overall.


What could this mean for PR?

I think that if I were considering using this feature for a client, I would use it for a number of things. 

  • Announcements – something people want to be the first to hear, that you can build up to in other social media content.
  • Events – this wouldn’t work for all events, but using Facebook Live for certain events would mean those that couldn’t make it will feel like they are almost there.
  • Creating things – if you’ve got a particularly creative business, showing how things are made in real time via Facebook Live may engage with your audience.
  • Behind the scenes – showing whats’s going on before a big event or behind the scenes at something exciting may interest your audience too.

Have you used the Facebook Live feature for a client? Or have you watched some videos yourself? Let me know what you think in the comments.

Until next time…




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