A question that often pops up any time a business owner reads about the latest digital marketing tactic is, “How can this make me money?”
Right now, the hottest trend is live video: the act of broadcasting in real-time through the internet via various platforms like Facebook Live, Periscope, Instagram Live and many more.
If you’ve logged into Facebook at all in the past few months, you’ve likely encountered a few live videos already. Since over 20 percent of videos on Facebook are a live broadcast, it’s almost impossible to avoid them.
So, before we get into some of the various ways you can monetize on Facebook Live, let’s go through a short checklist to ensure you’re ready to go live:
- A mobile device or a computer with a (decent quality) camera
- An external microphone for better sound quality (not required, but recommended)
- The Pages Manager app (if you plan on going live on your desktop or on your personal profile, then you don’t need this)
- A quick guide with all the steps to going live on Facebook
- A host or subject with personality (no one wants to watch a boring person on camera!)
Now that you know how to go live, here are some ideas on the content that will help you generate leads and sales for your business:
1. Product launches
If you already have a community of customers who has purchased from you before, then this idea is relatively simple. Reach out to your audience via social, email or other marketing channels to let them know you’re unveiling your latest product via Facebook Live, and link them to your page (or profile or group, wherever you’re conducting the live broadcast.) For a fully integrated experience, make the product available for purchase via your Facebook Store.
To generate more interest and engagement, offer an exclusive discount to your live viewers for your product. If there’s anything better than being one of the first people to learn about a new product, it’s getting the chance to receive a discount as a reward for tuning in.
Related: 12 Social Media Mistakes That Entrepreneurs Make
2. Product reviews
If you’re a blogger, coach or social influencer, this will be right up your alley. You can do live product reviews and chat with your viewers about some of the exciting items you have to share. If you can time the live broadcast with the launch or initial availability of that product, even better.
As you talk about the product or products, link to the items via the comments section or drop them in the video description using your affiliate links. A popular method for many YouTubers doing product reviews is to feature products available on Amazon.com, then use their affiliate links to direct their audience to the product listed on the site. But, there are more (and probably better) options outside of Amazon, like Commission Junction, JVZoo, ShareASale, FlexOffers and many more.
3. Conduct a live auction.
This method might be a little tricky, but if you keep the process simple, it might be fruitful and fun.
First, find the items you want to auction off — they could be movie tickets, donated items from local businesses, final items from your own inventory, etc. Then, make sure you alert your followers well in advance that you’re hosting an online, live auction for those items to try to get as many attendees as possible.
Once you go live, go through the list of all the items you’re auctioning off and give your viewers time to log in and watch your stream. When the viewer count gets to a decent number, start the auction. Ask people to use the comment area of the video to place their bids. When it’s time to select the winner, mention their name and price on the stream and have someone on staff who’s off-stream send the winner a private message on Facebook for purchasing details.
4. Host an exclusive talk or workshop.
Webinars are a popular digital strategy for generating leads and sales, so why not take the same idea and make it into a Facebook Live?
There are many software tools and apps available that will help you produce professional-quality live streams that look like a legitimate online event, with features like on-screen motion graphics, multi-camera feeds, remote desktop capture and much more.
If you don’t have the ability to produce local events, then this may be a fun alternative. You can invite other speakers, talk about topics that interest your audience and do all the things you’d normally do at a physical event. If you want to sell tickets, you can host the broadcast via a private Facebook Group, where you could require payment to join. Or, keep the broadcast public, increase your potential reach, and have people join your opt-in list, sell your products, or offer free content like you would do at an in-person event.
5. Get advertisers to sponsor your video.
If you have a large following, you might be able to sell sponsorship opportunities to another business. Similar to how a network might sell commercial spots to roll within their programs, you could feature an advertiser as a branded content partner within your broadcast.
You’ll have to get creative on how this works, as Facebook has not (yet) offered the ability to insert pre-roll into your videos (you can use a third-party tool like Wirecast.) You could offer to insert the sponsor’s logo onto the screen (again through the use of third-party broadcasting software), or it could be printed on a large backdrop to be displayed behind the video subject. Or, you could simply mention and thank the sponsor in the middle of the broadcast, similar to how a podcast would mention their sponsors. Drop their link in the video description and comments area.
The tricky part though is that Facebook has strict guidelines on how to display branded content on your Page. To start, you’ll need to ensure you have the branded content tool available on your page. Get more information on Facebook’s guidelines here.
When it comes to money and Facebook, you’ll always have to do some kind of research to ensure you’re within the network’s guidelines on what’s acceptable. Facebook’s rules are always changing and if you are not in compliance, you risk losing your Facebook account.
Facebook has become more lenient on how brands and publishers can leverage their platform to make money, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. No one likes to be banned from their own Facebook page! Whenever you’re unsure, we recommend you consult Facebook’s Help Center.
Don’t forget too that the overall quality of your video makes a huge difference on how your viewers engage with your content. If the audio sounds bad or the focus is off, you could potentially turn away viewers within the first few seconds of the stream. If video is an important part of your marketing strategy, consider working with an outside agency to help you produce amazing videos and streams.