Originally published at Hoovers.com
Like every other trend in digital marketing, video marketing is constantly shifting and evolving. If you’re just hopping on the video bandwagon, don’t worry – you’re not too late to take advantage of all this growing medium has to offer. In fact, it’s never been easier to use video marketing – and live stream video in particular – to drive B2B business and sales.
Pre-recorded video is the past. Live stream is the future.
If you’ve ever had a marketing agency or SEO firm encourage you to create and publish more video on your website or YouTube channel, there’s a good reason – video content drives organic search results.
When you publish content that includes video, you’re much more likely to get found earlier in search engine results for certain terms. And when your website appears at the top of the search results for terms relating to your business on Google or YouTube, it’s that much easier for prospective customers to find your business.
But times are changing. Staying relevant online isn’t just about creating great video content anymore – it’s about broadcasting and streaming live video. That may sound a) kind of scary, and b) potentially irrelevant for B2B businesses. The truth is that live video is actually much easier to create, promote, and publish than pre-recorded video.
Even better, it’s proving to be a powerful tool for B2C and B2B businesses alike.
What is Facebook Live, anyway?
Facebook Live launched early 2016 and has been steadily gaining steam. This new Facebook feature allows you to instantly broadcast a live video right from your smartphone. There’s no editing, no uploading, and no fancy footwork required.
- Publish a new status update on Facebook
- Select “Live Video”
- Fill out a short description of what viewers can expect to see
- Select the audience you want to share the video with
- Start streaming!
Now that you know how user-friendly Facebook Live is, let’s take a look at how to use this feature to boost B2B sales.
Live video: not just for B2C anymore
Businesses of all shapes and sizes have finally jumped on the social media train – some leading the way, and others scrambling to play catch up. If you’re in an industry that’s notoriously slow for jumping on social trends, why not be a pioneer in live streaming video?
Facebook Live can be a great way for B2C companies to directly engage with customers. That’s because live video makes it easy to answer questions in real time, demonstrate new products, and directly engage the end user.
But that’s just as true for B2B companies – if not more so!
Just like a business-to-customer relationship, a business-to-business relationship is all about people. The key is to be engaging, connecting with, and convincing the right people to partner with you or to purchase your products for the mutual benefit of both companies.
And what better way to engage, connect, and convince than by inviting prospective clients into your office or worksite via live video?
Facebook Live allows you to:
- Make a deep, authentic connection with prospects – even if you’ve never met them in person before
- Educate prospects about your business
- Demo products
- Build authority as you demonstrate your industry expertise
But the hands-down best part of Facebook Live is the ability to engage prospects and business associates in real time.
While you’re live streaming, you can verbally and visually respond to the comments people post beneath your video feed. You can call people by name, give them the answers they seek, and invite them to take action on a special offer or meeting invitation.
Facebook Live for B2B: Dun & Bradstreet
Are you brainstorming different ways you could use Facebook Live to impress clients and attract prospective B2B customers?
Great! Here’s how companies like Dun & Bradstreet are using Facebook Live – and you can too!
Dun & Bradstreet has a dedicated Facebook presence geared toward B2B companies. Since the launch of Facebook Live, D&B B2B has been using live video streaming to present educational content and expert panels on topics like government contracting, suspension and debarment, and other challenges and opportunities faced by B2B business owners.
One of Dun & Bradstreet’s most successful Facebook Live video streams featured an expert panel that was live streamed from the D&B B2B Facebook page.
During the Facebook Live broadcast, Dun & Bradstreet brought together industry experts to answer common questions and solve pressing problems that B2B business owners care about most. This video helped business owners identify suspension and debarment pitfalls when doing business with the government. With over 7,200 views in just a few months, this content resonated with B2B business owners in a way that was timely and relevant across different industries.
But was timely, relevant content enough to make this Facebook Live video a smashing success? Like with any successful piece of content, there was more to it than just choosing the right topic – Dun & Bradstreet also followed these 7 best practices for turning a live stream video into a conversion machine.
Facebook Live for B2B: 7 best practices
1. Make sure your audience cares
First and foremost, make sure your video is laser-focused on the audience. You may want to educate them about an exciting new product or service your company is offering, but don’t forget to put yourself in their shoes – no one likes feeling sold to.
For their video, Dun & Bradstreet chose a hyper-specific topic they knew their audience would be interested in. How could they be sure the topic of suspension and debarment would resonate with viewers? By doing lots of research and social listening before deciding on a video topic.
- How will this content benefit the viewer?
- What problems am I solving?
- Do I have social proof this topic will be popular with my audience?
Even if you don’t have the budget to send out surveys or do formal market research, you can still take stock of Facebook comments, blog comments, and other social clues that reveal what your audience most wants from you.
2. Promote your broadcast ahead of time
Just like promoting a webinar with email marketing, social campaigns, and paid advertising, you can promote an upcoming Facebook Live video before it airs. The more promotion and preparation ahead of time, the higher your viewership will be – both in terms of quantity and quality of viewers.
Interviewing industry experts is an excellent way to provide valuable content while promoting your video before it airs – the more experts you showcase, the bigger your reach and potential audience during the broadcast. By leveraging the audiences of each of your guests before your Facebook Live stream begins, you can triple or quadruple the number of people who tune in to your video.
If Dun & Bradstreet had simply started broadcasting, they would never have been so successful. In the same way they prepared their video topic beforehand, they also had to promote their live video before it aired.
3. Take care of the technical stuff
In addition to preparing your topic and promoting your broadcast, you also have to prepare the technical stuff.
- Make sure you have a strong Wifi connection
- Place your smartphone on a tripod to avoid that shaky ‘hand-held’ effect
- Make sure you have good lighting and good sound – that means it’s easy and pleasant to see and hear everyone who needs to be seen and heard
4. Optimize your Facebook description
Some people in your audience may have Facebook videos set to autoplay, where any video in their newsfeed plays automatically. Others may have this setting turned off, and only press play if a video description or thumbnail catches their eye.
That’s why it’s crucial to create a great video description using keywords, hashtags, and compelling benefits to encourage the viewer to click play. Keywords and hashtags make it easy for people searching Facebook to find your content, while a strong description compels the viewer to watch now.
Keep your description between 40 and 80 characters – that’s the length that’s been statistically shown to have the highest number of conversions and shares on Facebook. 40 characters is not a lot to work with, so remember – keep it brief and benefit-rich.
5. Engage viewers
The beauty of Facebook Live is that throughout the broadcast, you’ll be able to directly interact with your audience. When they comment on your video, you’ll be able to view the comments and respond verbally right on camera. Being able to call viewers by name and answer their questions in real time is a fantastic way to build instant trust and rapport.
6. Be prepared – but not too polished
If you watch the Dun & Bradstreet video, you’ll see that the host and his expert guests are prepared, but not too polished. Clearly a lot of preparation went into gathering the right people in the same room at the same time. But the conversation never feels scripted or over rehearsed.
That feeling of spontaneity is crucial for success on Facebook Live. The whole point of watching a live video stream is to see things happening in real time. If your live stream feels more like a calculated presentation, your audience may view your company and brand as inauthentic.
7. Repurpose your content
One of the best things about Facebook Live is the fact that the video stays on your newsfeed and prospective customers can watch it any time – even if they missed the original broadcast.
While the excitement of watching a live broadcast isn’t as acute after the fact, you can still generate buzz by promoting and showcasing your live video recording to those who missed it. Your B2B customers and prospects still get valuable content, and you can use the recording to start promoting your next Facebook Live video.
Facebook Live is a powerful, engaging, cost-effective way for B2B businesses to attract leads, demo products, build trust and engage prospective buyers.
Live video generates buzz and excitement in a way other types of content simply can’t. By tapping into the innate power of Facebook Live, you can create powerful publicity for your brand, connect with interested buyers, position yourself as an innovator in your industry, and generate revenue faster than ever before.