Facebook Live: From Politics to Chewbacca Moms

Posted by Jedidiah Gant on January 18, 2017

What do Chewbacca Mom and local politicians have in common? They’re both using Facebook Live.

Here’s what you need to know.

Over the last several years, Facebook has adjusted its algorithm to emphasize video. In December, the priority shifted again—this time, to display those videos live. It’s easy enough for anyone to do—simply press the “live video” button above the status update box, and you’re immediately broadcasting like a mini media mogul. And, so far, it seems to be working. Facebook’s chief product officer, Chris Cox, says that the company has more than a hundred people working on Live, and that comments are eight times more frequent on live video than regular video.

Media companies like Buzzfeed and The New York Times have used the system to give viewers a peek into their offices and processes, while others, like the NYPD, have used it to crush dirt bikes with a bulldozer. But the most popular Facebook Live video didn’t come from a major brand or company; instead, a giggling woman in a Star Wars mask—lovingly referred to as Chewbacca Mom—has been viewed more than 140 million times (and, according to Forbes, caused the mask to fly off shelves so quickly that it literally sold out everywhere).

The most powerful aspect of Facebook Live might not be the platform itself, but the brand’s ubiquity and accessibility. Currently, Facebook Live is active in 60 countries, and you can check out what people are broadcasting right now on the Facebook Live Map. With Live, everyday users now have the power to create and share content on a platform that is already familiar to them. No new apps to install, and no new technology to learn.

But the platform isn’t limited to moms in Star Wars masks and exploding watermelons. Increasingly, professionals are using the platform. So, we decided to jump in and help them tell their stories through live video.

Graig-Meyer-Difference

Client: Graig Meyer

At the end of 2016, the Graig Meyer campaign approached us to help share his story. Meyer has been a member of the North Carolina House of Representatives since 2013, representing House District 50 and serving constituents in parts of Orange and Durham Counties. Prior to becoming a legislator, Meyer spent sixteen years working in North Carolina’s public schools. And, as the only trained social worker currently in the General Assembly, Meyer says he approaches legislation “with an eye towards protecting those who are marginalized, vulnerable and oppressed.”

The top point in the Myriad Way is to help people, so considering Meyer’s background and current goals for our state and his constituents, we were happy to share his story online. Meyer already found success with Facebook Live streams in the months leading up to the 2016 election. Most of these were done with phones streaming directly to the platform. Our goal was to up the production value for a new monthly show called “Our Shot,” which encourages citizens to get involved in the political process by volunteering, registering to vote, donating to candidates, and even running for office themselves.

 

Production

Creating a high-quality live stream required learning about new streaming software and hardware to marry production-quality video and audio equipment with Facebook’s capabilities.

Live production is entirely different than standard video production. Since there are no retakes or second attempts, everything has to go perfectly the first time around!

Given that fact, live production means there’s a lot to handle all at once. Between video, audio, and streaming software, you’re working with a massive amount of technology—technology that can hiccup at any moment. If something does break or go wrong, there is no stopping to fix it; you just have to keep going. Luckily for us, Meyer is an excellent speaker, and he and his team did an excellent job preparing for production. In the end, the moving parts came together flawlessly, and we were able to broadcast the stream without a hitch!

Live Engagement

For the first half of the show, Meyer spoke directly to constituents about the issues he plans to address throughout 2017. During the second half, Meyer, Wake County Commissioner Jessica Holmes, and Charlotte House of Representative member Chaz Beasley took live questions. This created an interactive opportunity for citizens to receive answers from elected officials in real time.

Throughout the 45-minute live stream, the video accrued over 32,000 views, including more than 2,500 direct engagements on Facebook. Over 350 people signed up to be part of the NCDP Pipeline. The live stream also resulted in 170 signups and individual donations to the Meyer campaign, totaling $6,000.

We see Facebook Live as an exciting and engaging platform for all kinds of events, from cultural activities to political speeches, live events, and more. Myriad is excited to include Facebook Live as part of its service offerings for current and future clients. If you or someone you know would like to learn more about the process, or use it for an upcoming event, shoot us a message. See you around the ‘net!

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