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Facebook Live & Snapchat: Emerging Social Tools with Local Marketing Promise

Fresh from his keynote at Social Media Marketing World, serial entrepreneur and superhuman social media expert Joel Comm hit the stage at Rio SEO’s Local Search Summit (#LSS2016) to give the morning keynote. His keynote presentation took attendees on a deep dive into emerging social technologies Facebook Live and Snapchat.

Being findable in traditional search is key, so why would local marketers consider using live social video or Snapchat, neither of which are even indexable? In his entertaining and informative talk, Comm urged local marketers to get outside of their comfort zones and consider the potential of these new tools.

Facebook Live for Brands – Is It Worth It?

Facebook Live videos enable you to go live, in real-time, in front of your existing audience. Their utility doesn’t expire once the feed turns off, though. Facebook Live videos are archived for future use and can even be used for ads.

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The engagement rates for these videos are off the charts, Comm said, because you’re dealing with people who have already expressed an interest in you and your page. Mark Zuckerberg himself has said Facebook’s newsfeed ranking algorithm gives these live videos the absolute highest ranking among any type of content.

The moment your broadcast ends, you instantly see analytics, he pointed out. It shows how many people watched the video, how many were watching at the highest points, how many commented or shared, etc. Those with verified pages have access to even more analytics data.

Imagine setting up a Facebook event for something your brand is holding, and being able to stream live video right into it. There is no subset within Facebook that can’t post live video now — it’s even been added to Groups. But it’s so new, we have no use cases yet and brands are understandably afraid to give it a shot.

So should you put your resources into Facebook Live? Comm recommends brands work through the questions they have around live video:

  • What stories do you have to tell live?
  • What infrastructure is needed to position your brand for success?
  • Are you better off investing in Facebook Live or traditional TV spots?
  • Do you need a studio or a host?
  • What kind of gear will you need?
  • Should you partner with influencers?

What it all comes down to is whether or not you’re willing to be a leader in the space, he said. We had years to get used to blogging, but we’re having live video thrust upon us and those who capitalize on the early adoption opportunity will be leaders in the space.

Snapchat for Brands & Local Businesses

Most people still think of Snapchat as something for children and perverts, Comm said. But now there are over 100 million daily users, 65% of whom are contributing daily content. Snapchat really took off when it evolved from an instant-delete platform to a place where users could create a narrative and now, 36% of Americans 18-29 have an account.

It’s the fastest-growing network for that lucrative millennial cohort but they’re not alone there — even the White House is using Snapchat.

Now, users can post videos one after another, but each can only be 10 seconds long. As with the character limit on Twitter, Comm said, this has forced users to be creative in the content they create and post on the network.

The “Story” on Snapchat is their version of a Facebook Timeline. Facebook actually tried to buy Snapchat for $3 billion but were turned down… this should reassure brands that Snapchat is in it for the long haul, Comm said.

The rules of other types of social interaction with brands still apply. People on SnapChat still want to engage with and listen to people they trust; they want to be a part of a relationship, not feel they’re being advertised to. They’re tired of the same old commercials and tired of being sold; they want to be “infotained.”

Snapchat is a vehicle for this that brands should seriously consider, though it’s not without its challenges. Analytics are lacking, for example, Comm said. Its users are highly engaged, though, so you can infer some value from the number of interactions you have. There are third-party analytics platforms emerging, but none are established as the market leader yet.

So what value does Snapchat offer local businesses, in specific?

For one, Snapchat has geofiltering. About a month ago, they released custom geofilters, which allow people to map out their own geofenced areas (minimum of 20,000 feet) and buy them starting at just $5 for specific period of time. Imagine being able to OWN the local space around your business on a popular app, so every user in that area can see all stories related to “fenced” area.

Image credit: TechInsider. See their step-by-step tutorial on creating a Snapchat geofilter here.
Image credit: TechInsider. See their step-by-step tutorial on creating a Snapchat geofilter here.

All of the stories created by users in that area become part of that brand’s story. It’s a strategy SXSW experimented with this past year, with hundreds of thousands or even millions of impressions generated as a result.

The opportunity is MASSIVE. Perhaps what local businesses need to get on board are use cases showing early successes using Facebook Live and Snapchat for local marketing. Is your company going to wait for those results, or be the early adopter creating them?

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