Small business owners have a ton of marketing tools at their disposal, and social media has made it easier than effort to connect with customers and grab a lot of local market share. But a tool, like Facebook live video, is only good for marketing if you know what to do with it.

If you’re struggling against local competitors to get more foot traffic in the door, then you’re fighting a battle that every small business owner knows all too well. Instead of funneling thousands of dollars a month at media buys and paid advertisement, try focusing your attention on more direct customer engagement.

Why Facebook Live works for local marketing

Web users have developed a voracious appetite for content, and they devour video content especially fast. They dig into educational content just as much as news and humor, and use what they learn to influence their purchase decisions every day.

Consider these statistics:

  • 45% of people watch more than an hour of Facebook videos each week.
  • Over one third of online activity is spent watching video.
  • Over half of video content is viewed on mobile.
  • Marketers who use video grow their revenue 49% faster than non-video users.
  • Social video generates 1200% more shares than text and image posts combined.
  • Live video on Facebook seems 10x more comments on live video than static video uploads.

People absolutely love video. In the first year of its life, Periscope (now controlled by Twitter) had people viewing over 110 years worth of video content on a daily basis. Users on Facebook Live have seen countless videos made public go absolutely viral.

And it’s not just big brands scoring marketing ROI with live video. Remember the mom with the Chewbacca mask?

facebook live tips

One of the best parts about live video is that you can post it once your stream is over and it can live on your Facebook page. From there, it will continue to serve your business as new customers discover it.

You can’t guarantee viral success, but you can certainly catch the attention of your audience with these simple, organic tips for using Facebook Live video in your small business marketing.

1. Announce new products

Any time you rotate new products into your business, feature them in a video. Instead of costly video production, just pull out your mobile device and go live. Keep it simple, short, authentic, and tell your customers about all the highlights and benefits of the new product.

This is far more engaging than a static post because your customers can ask you questions live, on the spot (and after the fact) about the products. Like a good sales demo, it will pull them into your business. Live product announcements are a terrific way to supplement email blasts and newsletters to inform customers of what’s coming.

I’ve been using this approach with great results to promote my new book Mass Casualty, including doing excerpt readings on Facebook Live and chatting with other authors and fans during weekly live feeds.

facebook live tips

2. Talk with customers on Facebook Live

Every customer has their own unique story to tell about why they shop with you, the success they’ve had, and what makes them come back time and again. People love to tell their story, so tap into that and use Facebook live video to talk to your customers.

Do on-the-spot interviews and gather testimonials from regulars. With live video, your fans will know it’s not scripted. That’s a serious boost in authenticity and trust, and can bring a lot more traffic to your brand. What’s more, this type of gentle reminder from customers about why you’re great can get other regulars to decide on making a return trip sooner rather than later.

3. Interview your vendors and suppliers

Businesses don’t exist in a vacuum. Your business runs on processes and supplies that pull in other manufacturers and vendors. Give your customers a treat by using your Facebook live video to show them the faces of other people who make your business run. This could take shape in so many ways, such as:

  • Touring a manufacturers facility with Facebook live
  • Getting personal with a shipping carrier who regularly runs your products out the door
  • Hanging with local suppliers to talk about locally sourced products and local pride
  • Spotlighting other local businesses you work closely with

With the ability to add another user into your feed (currently only on iOS) you can even do remote interviews for your fans.

facebook live interviews

Source: European Parliament

4. Go behind the scenes with Facebook Live

Don’t neglect to take customers behind the scenes of your business. Customers rarely get to see how things operate behind closed doors. Facebook live is an awesome opportunity to show customers how employees work and prep for new releases, new menu items, and more.

Any business in food and hospitality can really benefit here by showing off cleanliness and the meticulous safety standards during operations. Another terrific way to boost trust.

5. Show community events and involvement

Whenever you’re involved in an event, be it a trade show, adolescent sport sponsorships, volunteer work, etc. be sure to bring your mobile device along. Show your customers the kind of work you do within the community. While a video like this isn’t going to directly sell any products, this kind of authentic live video marketing develops authority and authenticity among your followers. They’ll remember that the next time they need to make a choice about where to do business – and you don’t have to be a celebrity to be memorable.

facebook live feed tips

You don’t need to have a bullet list agenda or a script for your live feeds. Be authentic, and just go at it with a general idea of what you’d like to say. To get the most benefit, try to give your audience some notice of when a live stream will be taking place – but don’t be afraid to have an impromptu live session. For tips on getting started with this new medium, check out this article on the do’s and don’ts of live video.

Have you used Facebook Live to boost local engagement? Share your success stories in the comments.

Top image by Yulia Grigoryeva