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Facebook Live-stream: A Marketing Bootcamp Fail

The Facebook marketing team behind the spinning wheel of death- People or corporate autmatons?

I love live streaming. I have devoted my career to building live streaming into the performing arts. Live streaming offers you an unparalleled method of both communicating with your audience on an authentic, granular level and of building community around your brand.

Note the words Community and Communicate.

For the past two days I have been logging into the Facebook Marketing Bootcamp streamed live via Livestream ( a company I love).

Now, as much as anyone, I understand how hard it is to stream live – there are a multitude of factors which need to be in perfect order in order to send a stream that is both visually and audibly clear. But this is Facebook!!!! A multi-billon dollar technology company that is attempting to launch a huge advertising initiative with this bootcamp, and they can’t stream a live event that will load and that is audible? Come on!

So, yes… technically I would give this stream a fail… but after two days there are two far more important reasons I think that Facebook Marketing Bootcamp Live is failing- and they go back to the greatest assets of livestreaming- COMMUNICATION AND COMMUNITY.

On the first day of the bootcamp thousands of us set our reminders so that we arrived on the bootcamp page with five or ten minutes to spare. A perfect opportunity for Facebook to send out a message in the player that says something like

“Hi! Thanks so much for coming to our first Facebook Marketing Bootcamp. We are so glad you are here! We will begin at 12:30 EST and so look forward to answering your questions”.

Ahh…as a viewer i feel like my time is valued, I matter to the company and I am  reassured that I have come to the right place at the right time. I am relaxed, taken care of and ready to hear Facebook’s message with an open (even excited) mind.

Instead… Facebook had a keynote speech given by Sheryl Sandburg auto-playing on the page. Great speech…but the news feed below the video was filled with viewers who were confused. They thought they had come to a live event- why was a pre-taped video playing? (want a simple fix… just add a scroll with the welcome message above and all your potential customers feel taken care of and acknowledged.)

Then, 12:35 and the stream hadn’t begun… still no message from Facebook. This is appointment viewing. Respect your audience by letting them know that you know they are there, they are waiting, they have taken time out of their day, and you will be with them shortly. Again… a simple scrolling message will solve the issue. Perhaps

“Hi! We are running 5 minutes late. We apologize for the delay but really look forward to answering your questions”

would make their audience feel like their time and their business mattered.

And then the content…. the most important aspect of a live stream is it’s ability to authentically communicate your brand. To connect one on one with your audience and therefor to build trust and loyalty. For the first 20 minutes of the stream I was convinced the whole show was pre-taped and edited because the young (hip?) lovely marketing team all sounded scripted and forced. I didn’t see any people on that stream. Just very rehearsed corporate automatons.

The upshot of all of this..my feeling that I am doing business with a behemoth company that can’t offer any sort of human customer service was reinforced. My understanding of how Facebook can help me with my business…not so much.

I assume that reaching smaller businesses with this bootcamp is an important new initiative for the Facebook marketing team. My question, after the first two days is why did they choose a live platform? If they want to educate, entertain and build an audience in a controlled, scripted environment why not create great on-demand videos? If they want to build community, authenticity and trust then by all means, add on the additional technical challenges of producing a live event. But if in doing so you fail to treat your audience with respect, fail to build a strong community and fail to convey the authentic parts of your company that make you unique and relatable, you are wasting your resources.

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