‘It’s about scale’: How 5 brands are using Facebook Live

Publishers were quick to jump on Facebook Live when it launched in December, but brands, being brands, have taken more of a wait-and-see approach.  Despite a timid start, a number of them — from The Metropolitan Museum of Art to Benefit Cosmetics — have begun playing with the social network’s live offering recently, streaming everything from tours to red-carpet sneak peeks and celebrity takeovers.

While many brands have trod lightly thus far, it doesn’t mean that they’ve been ignoring the space, said Joanna Kennedy, supervisor of digital content strategy at RPA. “As agency partners, we look closely at what is working for these publishers as we plan for live opportunities for clients,” she said.

Facebook Live’s adoption has been markedly slow when compared to Periscope. When it launched in March last year, the Twitter-owned app attracted brands like Taco Bell, Nissan and Target almost immediately. But don’t weep yet for Facebook, said Jill Sherman, svp of social strategy at DigitasLBi. Facebook, after all, has much greater scale.

“This is a product that has full-scale reach,” Sherman said. “And the beauty of the medium is that it doesn’t need to be perfect — and audiences don’t expect it to be perfect either. Brands can and will capitalize on the cultural zeitgeist and trending moments.”

Here, then, are how five brands are using Facebook Live:

For Benefit, Facebook Live is just another platform where it can showcase its quirky, feel-good personality. The LVMH-owned cosmetics brand has been running a weekly live stream every Thursday called “Tipsy Tricks with Benefit!” where a guest and a host choose a beauty topic and dish out advice while sipping wine and fielding viewer questions live. The first two streams had 42,000 and 59,000 live viewers respectively, with an average of 2,000 people watching them at any given time.

“It is utility-meets-fun-meets-GF banter,” said Claudia Allwood, senior director of U.S. digital marketing at Benefit cosmetics. “We have a talk-show vibe, but we’re not talking to you, not at you.”

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Perhaps surprising for a gigantic non-profit institution, the Met has been the cutting age of digital 15 years now. To be sure, the trove of historical artifacts and sculptures in its collection make for compelling visuals. The museum has taken its fans for a walk through The Met as it prepares for its first visitors of the day, hosted a Facebook Live Q&A with Andrew Bolton, curator-in-charge of The Costume Institute and Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour. It gave viewers a pre-tour of its new exhibition around the ancient Hellenistic city of Pergamon. The latter had more than 50,000 people watch parts of the 20-minute tour, over 1,000 likes and 850 comments.

Matches Fashion
Retailer Matches Fashion will be broadcasting an events series it is hosting at New York’s WOM Townhouse starting today — including a roundtable discussion featuring fashion blogger Leandra Medine of Man Repeller, a cocktail party by lifestyle publication The Coveteur and a session with men’s style consultant Eugene Tong.

IHeart Radio
IHeartRadio ran a Facebook Q&A with YouTube singer Max Schneider back in July 2015, at Facebook Live’s earliest incarnation — the videos were not even technically streamed live, since they were uploaded. More recently, it streamed singer Bebe Rexha walking down the red carpet at the iHeart Radio Music Awards earlier this month as well as Keke Palmer singing live from the studio.

“Our reason for existing is to connect fans with their favorite artists in meaningful and authentic ways and provide them unique and genuine access — which nothing lets us do better than Facebook Live,” Chris Williams, iHeartRadio’s chief product officer, said.

Dunkin’ Donuts
Dunkin’ Donuts used Facebook Live to take users inside “Dunkin’ Brands University,” where the donut chain makes its products. The session was a tour of the facility that ended with a tutorial on how to make a wedding cake out of Donuts, and was hosted by Dunkin’ chefs. The post got 4,000 likes and drove 31,680 views.

“When Live came out I thought, ‘Facebook is finally getting it right,’” Dunkin’ head of social media Melanie Cohn told Digiday. “Facebook is about scale; Periscope isn’t.”


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