Facebook Live

Marketing Tactic: Doing Something People Aren’t Willing To Do

As Tim Gunn would say, I 'made it work' so I could live stream the Bar Harbor Fourth of July Parade as I promised by duct taping my 15 inch laptop out the window.

As Tim Gunn would say, I ‘made it work’ so I could live stream the Bar Harbor Fourth of July Parade as I promised by duct taping my 15 inch laptop out the window.

Bar Harbor, Maine has an epic Fourth of July celebration. It starts with the local Rotary Club’s Pancake Breakfast, followed by the parade at 10 am, and an afternoon of activities that include a craft fair, lobster races, and the MDI Seafood Festival (and, for many, a very popular activity commonly called “shopping”). In the evening the Town Band plays opening act to an impressive fireworks show that caps off the day. In addition to these Fourth of July spectaculars, Bar Harbor also happens to be the town one of my coworking spaces is in.

This year, I saw a few people in Facebook groups asking if anyone was going to livestream the parade. I had already agreed to volunteer the lunch shift at the Seafood Festival– and since I was coming into the fray anyway, I decided why not do something nice by coming in a little earlier and streaming the parade.

Despite using computers all day in my work, I’m not much of a computer hardware person so I started testing an hour before the parade. It took me a bit to figure out that I couldn’t use the amazing camera on my iPhone 6 for a continuous Facebook Livestream because the connection kept resetting.

After a few false starts (with people watching), I realized I could use my laptop camera and plug that directly into our network so I didn’t have to worry about WiFi. Once it was working, I duct taped my whole setup halfway hanging out our window.

In doing this, I figured out why people hadn’t offered to do it: it’s a pain. You need good internet, good equipment, a good power supply, and a good location.

Because we did the broadcast from Anchorspace (our coworking space), I did the Facebook Live broadcast from the Anchorspace Facebook page. I posted to a couple local groups and to my profile how to access the video (the direct link to where all our videos on our page are: https://www.facebook.com/anchorspaceBH/videos/)

I told them that Friends of Acadia was also livestreaming, linked to both pages, and posted that if they ‘liked’ either page, they’d get notified when the broadcast started. A little salesy? Yup. Instructive and useful though for people unfamiliar with Facebook Live? Absolutely.

Here’s what I was reminded of: when you go out of your way to do something people are asking for that no one else seems to want to do, they appreciate it. 

Here’s a graph of our Facebook likes:

Now these weren’t just 25 Facebook likes I bought off the internet but real people connected to Bar Harbor–whether living here or coming regularly on vacation–the exact people I want to know about Anchorspace.

This group’s first interaction with us showed them that I was resourceful, fun, and tech savvy.

We also generated a lot of goodwill. People watched from other states, wishing they could be here. One woman recovering from an illness wasn’t able to attend but was grateful to watch. While these types of goodwill are not measurable, they are still worthwhile.

In other words, I think it’s always nice for us to look around our communities, our markets, our lives and see where people are asking for things without people providing them… and if we can help, we should. It’s our responsibility as people to make things easier for others… and if we make a few sales or get a few Facebook likes in the process, that’s ok too.

And if you want to watch the parade, here’s the recording (feel free to fast forward through the first five minutes as I figure out the issue and duct tape the computer to the window sill!):

Facebook Live And Facebook Ads: An Experiment

Rumor has it that advertising/boosting Facebook Live videos is less expensive and more beneficial than other types of Facebook Ads.

Of course, we wouldn’t just rely on a rumor. So we ran a little experiment where we boosted two posts (a Facebook Live video and a blog post we wrote) with the same amount of money for the same seven day period. (Like any good experiment, you should only change one variable at a time!)




Some interesting things we can see right away.

  1. The blog post I promoted wasn’t styled sexy. I could have worked a little harder to make it visually compelling, especially for mobile.
  2. The video got way more direct engagement (clicks) and reach (views) than the other post.
  3. The blog post got more comments and shares, which we could argue is more ‘deep’ than someone liking or viewing.
  4. We didn’t use tracking links or any real call to action (ex: email newsletter signup) to see if these drove actual business. So not an entirely amazing experiment on all fronts.

One experiment can’t definitively prove anything, but our results show that Facebook is making Live video ads a cheaper prospect to those willing to give them a shot. (I will say, it is cool Facebook let’s you pick your thumbnail; don’t settle for the one they give you!).

Facebook Live: What We’ve Learned So Far

I’ve been on the whole video marketing bandwagon for at least six years. Even in its infancy, I had an introductory (terrible) video on the Breaking Even site so people could get to know me. Circa 2010 ya’ll:

(Wow, that was painful… but how awesome was my lime green kitchen? I mean really.)

I did videos sporadically but talking at a camera by yourself, well, it’s not very interesting (no matter how informative the material).

When Kassie started working here threeish years ago and she was also not opposed to doing video, we had a weekly Google Hangout for about a year. Since it was live, we stuck to a schedule- Thursdays at 10 a.m.- to take out any guesswork for our fans.

Here’s an example of how many people watched us:


99 times. Ever. Like in the video’s entire life.

At first, I took it that people didn’t want to watch us. (Leave it to Self Deprecating Nicole to take it personally right away initially.)… Until I thought about it and realized 1) Not many people are generally using Google+ and 2) Our target customers tend to be not on this network anyway, and if they are, they most likely aren’t “on” it frequently enough to watch videos.

When Periscope (live video tied to Twitter) came out, we got a bit more popular:


(I get that this is only 50 viewers compared to the 99 on Youtube but this was 1) way less promoted and 2) only available on mobile- while the other one is available everywhere so despite the number being smaller, I think it’s more impressive.)

But still, while we do have more of a Twitter following, our active people tend to be on Facebook and Pinterest the most.

So when Facebook Live came out, I was excited to be able to do the live video thing in front of our intended audience… though I am happy we got other practice first.


Top two posts are video posts, bottom two are popular photos. As you see, people LOVE the video.

While the videos did get a lot of love, you may ask yourself, “OK Nicole but did anyone watch them?” An excellent question:


Ok so 7% of people (Alison King and maybe two other people) watched all the way through. And 62 our of the 124 video views only watched it for ten seconds.

Now this begs the question: does it MATTER if people watch the video? Or do you just want them to like, comment on, or share your post so more people see stuff from your business in a general way?

The answer in, my case, is both. Kassie and I thought about what we wanted to talk about but we didn’t work hard on scripting it (you see the stats of people watching it and probably get why). We come up with a few ideas that we think are interesting and will have value for viewers, but there’s nothing rehearsed about these recent videos.

What we can find the most compelling about Facebook Live (besides the fact that people actually seem interested in it), is that according to my sources, it is less expensive to ‘boost’ (re: paid advertise) a Facebook Live video then other kinds of Facebook posts.

So whether you are looking at this from a building relationships perspective, from a ‘viral content’ perspective, or cheaper advertising vehicle perspective, Facebook Live is something to watch and something we plan on continuing to experiment with. You can check out our live videos on our Facebook page, or check out this collection of 7 early Facebook Live experimenters (all brands) to get inspired for your own debut, should you choose!