Why Facebook’s live streaming update is a game changer for small business

Small business owners need to “sit up and take notice” of Facebook’s latest live-streaming update, according to local social media experts.

Facebook announced this morning its live video-streaming service, Facebook Live, is now available in Australia after testing the feature among celebrities and US users for the past few months.

This means Australians can now broadcast live videos on Facebook and see people’s comments and reactions in real-time.

The feature is available to businesses with a Facebook page, and can also be used in Facebook groups and events, just like uploading a photo or a regular video.

Facebook says live videos drive much more engagement than regular posts, with a live video receiving, on average, 10 times as many comments, according to the social media giant.

Sean Callanan, co-founder of Chunky Media, told SmartCompany live videos can be a great way for a bookshop, for example, to showcase an event with an author or show Facebook fans new stock.

“You get that live engagement,” Callanan says.

“But then it sits on your site anyway, so people who missed it can go back and watch it. And it’s longform – so it’s not a six-second Vine video or a 15-second video on Instagram. You can dive a little deeper.”

Callanan says Facebook Live will be advantageous for small businesses because even as recently as three years ago, setting up a live broadcast was a costly exercise.

“Now someone can just pull out their phone,” he says.

“But you’ve still got to think, ‘how are my customers going to consume this, what’s the advantage for them?’ There’s going to be a lot of bad videos out there as people experiment.”

Social media expert Dionne Lew also encourages small businesses to think twice before whipping out their smartphone in order to create something that is “authentic and raw and really engages” followers.

“It’s not without issues, for example where there are pre-existing licensing agreements at sport or entertainment events,” Lew says.

“Live streaming could breach those, so it has to be used with thought and in the right way.”

Facebook currently has around 15 million active users in Australia.


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