Let’s face it – some of us can be camera shy. Which is why Facebook’s latest innovation – Facebook Live Audio – is great news to those of us who have something to say, but don’t want to show our faces while we say it.
What is Facebook Live Audio?
In a nutshell, Facebook Live Audio is like Facebook Live Video without the visual element. It allows users to tell stories using words instead of pictures. Like its visual counterpart, audience members can post questions and comments, plus share their reactions to content in real time.
Facebook Live Audio is still in its testing phase and has only been rolled out to a select few large brands, like BBC World Service and Harper Collins. Soon, once the bugs are ironed out, it will become available to all of us.
Why would you choose audio over video?
While few would dispute the influence of online video content, it can be more labour intensive to produce. A Facebook Live video stream requires hosts to be camera ready, there needs to be an attractive backdrop and possibly a tripod for the device, and of course, the internet connection needs to be strong and stable.
Facebook Live Audio will require less bandwidth than video broadcasts, which provides greater flexibility for broadcasters in terms of where and when they can share an audio stream.
Also, some types of messages lend themselves to a pure audio experience. Interviews, for instance, can feel more intimate when they don’t come with visual distractions. Often people want to listen to content while they are busy online doing other tasks. The popularity of podcasts and internet radio is a testament to the power of audio-led content, primarily because it gives listeners some extra mental space to use their imaginations and ponder ideas while digesting information.
How could businesses use the new format?
Audio streams can last for up to four hours, which provides a great deal of scope for broadcasters. Radio stations and podcasters could share their programmes via Facebook, making shows more interactive and social. Businesses could stream Q&A sessions with experts or key team members.
Up until now, Twitter has really owned the business live Q&A space, with many companies hosting regular hashtag chats. Facebook Live Audio will definitely add a new dimension to such discussions. Perhaps it will usher in a whole new way for brands to interact with audiences and each other? What will this mean for traditional podcasting? Hopefully there is enough space for podcasts and live audio broadcasts to co-exist. After all, not all podcasts are done live and on the fly. See here for some ways to market your podcasts.
Let’s hope companies get creative with music, soundscapes, locations and novel ways of interacting with their listeners. It’s a good opportunity for companies to close their eyes and think to themselves – what does my brand really sound like? What do I want my listeners to feel? What images do I want them to see inside their minds while they’re tuning in? Do I want our business to be part of customers’ soundscapes?
If you need help incorporating Facebook Live Audio into your marketing activity then do contact us. We have masses of experience working with companies and creating the kind of audio materials that put your business right into people’s ears. Contact VKN Digital to have a no-obligation chat about what options might be available for the message and brand story you wish to create.
Vivienne Neale has worked in local radio as a DJ and enjoys writing and editing radio scripts.