The idea behind Seinfeld, the hit comedy show of the 90's, was getting together a group of people to speak about nothing in particular. I mean, nothing other than normal, everyday routine situations. The show was successful in providing its viewers with a space in which they could just sit, watch and relax. The reason why I still like Seinfeld so much is because I can relate to the nature of the conversations presented on most episodes.
I get the same feeling when I watch Mary and Ana's Facebook Live broadcasts.
When Ana Belaval, "Around Town" reporter for WGN Morning News in Chicago, and Mary Bohentin, news photographer, hit the "go live" button, they talk - plain and simple - about anything that comes to mind, while they wait in the car parked at different locations, prior to going live on TV.
What started one day when Ana, without asking Mary, started a broadcast while waiting at a girl's gymnastics school, has become something Ana's audience of more than 72k people anticipate, with the streams regularly generating thousands of views.
Based on the success of Ana and Mary's broadcasts, here are three best practices you can learn which might help you establish your own Facebook Live strategy.
1. The Power of Authenticity
Mary and Ana's broadcasts happen organically, meaning there isn't any pre or post-production elements. The videos feature two women, drinking coffee while they wait at work. Who we see on screen is exactly who they are - they're not pretending to be anyone else but themselves.
If Mary needs to yawn, Mary yawns. If Ana needs to take a sip of her coffee, she does. If anyone comes and knock at the window, they don't stop the broadcast, they let everyone see or listen to what that person has to say.
When you think about live video for your product or service, consider giving your audience access to what they wouldn't otherwise be able to see.
Think about behind the scenes. You don't have to be a public figure to do this, all you have to do is think outside the box - don't forget that Facebook Live is a platform to use naturally. This is why your content should also happen organically so it feels authentic.
2. Connecting Through Humor
If your brand has room for some humor, and it makes sense because it's aligned with your brand identity, don't discard a nice laugh.
Mary and Ana are funny - actually, naturally funny. The audience gets their use of humor.
In one of her articles here on Social Media Today, Sarah Snow says that "jokes trigger positive emotional and psychological responses", meaning a great laugh makes people feel good. Because Mary and Ana's broadcasts are early in the morning and the content is usually funny, people relate them to a good laugh. It's a nice way to start the day.
Key takeway - if you're going to use humor, stay true to your brand and your persona.
3. Relatability Builds Relationships
Ana tells Mary about here situations at home as a mother of two, how she does the worst job with surprises (like forgetting tooth fairy gifts for her soon). Mary tells Ana what she had for dinner the night before and how she gets good deals for fried chicken. Viewers can relate and identify with these situations, and this is a great element of a Facebook Live because it stimulates engagement.
If you can identify, most probably you'll react. Take a look at your audience on Facebook, its demographic profile and make-up, and think about things they can relate to. You'll get their attention fast, and generate better results.
The main idea here is no different than Seinfeld - what is different is the medium. Rather than featuring one-way conversation, live-streaming makes possible for an active audience to participate in the moment.
There's a lot of noise within social networks, and you need to cut through the clutter. People anticipate seeing Mary and Ana because they enjoy doing so. It's also an effective way to also give the audience a preview of what's going to happen on WGN's television morning show, so it works as a piece of entertainment and to redirect traffic to the live broadcast.
While not everyone will see the success of Mary and Ana's broadcasts, it serves as a reminder of the power of social - and live-streaming specifically - to fuel connection and community. And you don't have to be a pro to do it.