Facebook Live

How to Grow Your Retail Business Using Facebook Live

How to Grow Your Retail Business Using Facebook Live

Are you struggling with your Facebook marketing campaign?  If you are, you are not alone.  Many retailers are missing out on what the social media giant has to offer because they are not using Facebook Live. 

Since its launch in April 2016, Facebook Live rose to overtake YouTube as the #1 video streaming service on the Internet. If you are not leveraging Facebook Live for your small retail, you are missing out. 

But, what are the benefits of Facebook Live?  How can your business benefit from what the streaming service has to offer?

Let us break down the basics of Facebook Live for you.  And, after we’ve shown you the ins and out of the service, we will show you how other retail services are using what Facebook Live has to offer to grow their business. 

Using Facebook Live to increase retail sales

Facebook Live is a powerful tool to increase retail sales

What is Facebook Live?

If you are in any type of marketing, understanding Facebook Live is crucial to your success.  

Facebook Live made its way to the social media scene on August 5, 2015.  But, the original streaming service was for celebrities only.  It wasn’t until April 6, of 2016, that the rest of the world got to see just how much live video could offer the social media scene.  

Since its launch over two years ago, live stream searches have increased by 330%, and 1 in every 5 videos is a live broadcast.

In short, with live video streaming services available to Facebook’s 1.47 billion daily users, your small business cannot afford to ignore Facebook Live.

Why Go Live?

First and foremost, Facebook controls who sees what.  And, Mark Zuckerberg recently made an announcement that the algorithm will favor “meaningful interactions” between friends and family rather than engagement with brands.  This means that retailers need to work harder to expand their organic reach.  But how?

In the past, Facebook’s priority was measured by time spent on the site.  With Facebook’s new philosophy, time is not so much of a factor—interactions are. Thus, the more comments, likes, and shares, “active interactions,” your posts get, the more likely they are to reach your audience organically.

Facebook Live

Facebook Live

So how do you do this?  Enter Facebook Live.  The data supports that fact that live video streams lead to engagement

  • Facebook Live videos are watched 3x’s longer than videos that are not live
  • Facebook users comment 10x’s more on live videos than other videos.
  • Facebook Live’s daily watch time has grown by more than 4x’s since its launch.

Simply put, Facebook Live beats the algorithm. It leads to the engagement your small business needs to reach potential customers naturally.

But, it offers more than engagement.  Facebook Live gives your retail store the opportunity to share their brand philosophy with their customers. When customers see the face of your business talking live about the company and its products, it gives them the personal connection they need to develop brand loyalty.  These emotional connections create brand loyalty in 82% of consumers. 

And, brand loyal customers are twice as valuable as even your most satisfied customers.

Bottom line—Facebook Live extends your organic reach to create brand loyal customers.  So, your small business needs to invest in its potential.

Benefits of using Facebook Live vs. Uploading Videos? 

A lot of retailers are apprehensive to use Facebook Live because of the fact that it is broadcasted live.  The thought of messing up with people watching can be frightening.  And, a major mess up recorded live can be damaging to any brand.

But, nothing is stopping you from practicing before you go live so that you know what you want to say.

And, as we’ve already discussed, Facebook Live videos trigger more engagement. Remember that engagement circumvents the algorithm for organic reach.  This leads to more viewers.  

There’s no saying that your retail store can’t create an excellent video and upload it to your Facebook page.  Just remember, creating a video takes time and money.  You either have to spend time away from your small business to create it yourself, or you have to pay someone else to create it.

Live videos, on the other hand, are virtually free.  You just need your phone and a Facebook page.  

So, to recap, there’s no one saying you should avoid uploading really cool videos to your Facebook page.  What we are saying is there are some excellent reasons to make Facebook Live a big part of your social media marketing strategy.

  • A larger audience
  • Less cost
  • Higher engagement rate
  • People love it

How do I use Facebook Live?

The team at Facebook was sure to make using Facebook Live a simple process.  You can master it in these 8 steps:

    1. Open up the app and choose the news feed option in the bottom right-hand corner.
    2. Choose the camcorder icon under “What’s on your mind?” at the top of the page.
    3. When prompted, allow Facebook to access your camera and microphone.
    4. Choose your privacy settings.  If you are posting for your brand, you will want to make this public.  But, if you’re going to practice you can select the “more” button and choose only me.  Then you can practice a time or two before you actually go live.  Just remember to delete your practice runs and change the settings back to public.
    5. Write your description.  Make sure that it is something compelling and inviting.  Your goal is to entice people to watch your live video.
    6. Invite friends, choose your location, or add an activity.
    7. Set up your camera. First and foremost, make sure it is facing the right way. Then you can go in and add filters, writings, drawings, etc.  Get as creative as you want.
    8. Click go live and start broadcasting.
Facebook Live for small business

Encourage your customers to subscribe to your live feed on Facebook

How Retailers Can Use Facebook Live

Weekly Broadcast

One really successful way to use Facebook Live is to create weekly broadcasts.  Many small businesses from retailers to restaurants go live weekly to highlight a variety of different things.  

Restaurants share tasting tips, highlight new menu items, or show customers how their signature dishes are prepared.

Retailers model clothing, show off new products or give fashion tips.

The options are endless.

One really creative way to increase engagement is to bring in expert guests in your niche.  

Another way to increase engagement with these weekly broadcasts is to end with a Q and A session.  Allow your audience to ask you questions about how to use your products.

Behind the Scenes

Take your customers behind the scenes and show them how your business works.  You could walk viewers though opening the store—everything from unlocking the doors to firing up the POS system.

You could show viewers what you have to do to set up the floor of your store.  If you own a small business that manufactures products, you could go do a walk-through of a product’s creation.

Facebook Live behind the scenes

Facebook Live is a great opportunity to show your behind the scenes of your retail business

Introduce Your Team

Keep your team in the loop at all times, and ask them to participate in your videos.   Keep your staff involved in customer engagement.  Show off people with exceptional skills.

“Hey, this is Trisha.  She’s our expert in packaging.  She makes sure that all of our products are wrapped in environmentally friendly packaging.  If you are curious about how green our company is, ask her.”

Show off what your staff has to offer.  The benefit will be two-fold.  First of all, your team will feel like they are an important part of the company, and your customers will strengthen their personal connection with your brand.  And, research shows there is a 25% increase in sales when there is employee and customer engagement.

Showcase Events

Are you having a big sale?  Go Live!  Show your virtual customers how your brick and mortar customers are loving your products and your prices.

Getting in a new shipment?  Give your Live viewers a sneak peek of what is coming to the floor in a few days.

Is a new product releasing?  Share the unveiling on Facebook Live.  Your viewers will get excited to be the first to see what you have to offer.

How often should I go Live?

The answer to this question will vary depending on your niche.  Every niche is different, and every audience is diverse as well.  So, what’s right for a craft brewery is not necessarily what’s right for a sporting goods store.

What you can do is consider the following questions to help you determine when the appropriate time to go live is. 

  • What are my goals with this broadcast?
  • Do I want to drive traffic to my website?
  • Do I want people to walk through my doors?
  • How do I define my audience?
  • Am I promoting a particular product or just trying to build brand loyalty?

What you don’t want to do is bombard your viewers with arbitrary talk for no reason.   You need to have a clear plan and goal in mind before launching a Live stream.  So, it’s not so much “How often?” but more so “What’s the goal?”

Successful Examples of Retailers Nailing Facebook Live

Before you dive in and try your first Live broadcast, take a look at some successful Facebook Live campaigns.  These businesses have mastered Facebook Live’s potential, and they could teach you a lot.

Dunkin Donuts

Dunkin Donuts broke into the Facebook Live scene with a sneak peak of the company’s kitchen.  Viewers loved seeing how their favorite donuts were made.  Following the tour’s success, Dunkin Donuts’ marketing team decided to go live for National Donut Day.  They offered viewers a free donut with the purchase of a drink.  The live broadcast yielded them 33K views, 2,450 impressions, 567 shares, and over 900 comments.

Dunkin Donuts Facebook Live

Dunkin Donuts Facebook live

Take Away:  Make sure you schedule your Facebook Live posts with what is trending.  Add a little bit of custom content to fit the theme of what is trending, and you have a good chance of reaching quite a few viewers.

LuLaRoe

This clothing company has a unique niche.  They sell leggings and other clothing items but only through exclusive Facebook parties.  You have to be cool enough to get to see their line of clothing.  

LuLaRoe consultants have started using Facebook Live during their parties to showcase the latest lines of leggings.

Consultants are smart enough to save the most coveted patterns for the end of the broadcast to keep comments coming and viewing time high.

The best part is that if the pattern that viewers like is not shown, they can move on to another LuLaRoe party and watch another live stream.

LuLaRoe’s business model and marketing strategy has helped it to become a billion-dollar company.  And, it’s recently secured a partnership with Disney to make leggings featuring Disney characters.

Take Away: Use Facebook Live to share your products and save what viewers want to see for last.  It keeps them watching while you showcase your entire line.

Tough Mudder

Tough Mudder Facebook Live

Tough Mudder Facebook Live – Photo Credit: Livestream

Tough Mudder is an extreme sports competition venue.  To promote one of their races, the streamed Facebook Live videos of a training event with fitness expert Coach T. Mudd. The streaming event allowed those who know of coach Mudd to connect with him.  And, it allowed those who didn’t know of him to see a persona paired with the brand.

Take Away: Use Facebook Live to help viewers connect with your brand.  

Patagonia

Patagonia’s brand prides itself on sustainable goods and its commitment to the environment.  To stay transparent, Patagonia used Facebook Live to create the “Footprint Chronicles.”  The video series takes viewers through Patagonia’s supply chain while it examines its manufacturing process.  The company openly admits if anything can be improved, and it invites users to do the same.

Take Away: Use Facebook Live as a way to showcase how committed you are to preserving your brand identity.  Show your customers that you are dedicated to staying true to your word.

Conclusion

Without a doubt, your business needs a Facebook Live marketing strategy.  The good news is, you have all the information you need to start a successful Facebook Live campaign.  Now it’s up to you to come up with an excellent idea for a Live broadcast and share it with Facebook’s 2 billion viewers.  Break a leg!

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