How Hospitality Brands Can Capture Audiences on Facebook Live

WINTER PARK, FL—The old adage is “Content is king.” It’s common knowledge in the age of rapid digital consumption and has long been the refrain of marketers. And, while that may be true, it’s the specific type of content that matters most. In terms of storytelling, educating and capturing target audiences, there’s no doubt that video is the king of content.

Social media platforms Facebook and Twitter are making a strong push for live video streaming as they seek to maximize value and maintain stickiness among users. And they’re on the right track. Social video generates 1,200% more shares—that means engagement with your brand—than text and images combined, according to Brightcove, a software company and online video platform.

Hospitality brands are embracing Facebook Live, a live-streaming video feature on the social media platform, as an entry point for marketing to guests. Beth Mock LeBlanc, founder & chief creative officer of MLB Creative, an advertising agency based here, lives on social media for her clients. She oversees all creative output and business decisions. As content creators, LeBlanc says the same rules apply: “The better content you have, the better and more interesting for the viewer.”

“It’s a great way to tell your story in an entertaining and visually interesting way. It gives people an authentic experience. I think millennials are much more aware of traditional advertising because they grew up with a barrage of advertising online and everywhere they go,” said LeBlanc. “They tend to view advertising as not an authentic experience and they want to make sure what you’re telling them is real. For example, they want to know that beach is a real beach at a real hotel, that what you’re saying matches the visuals; it’s not contrived or edited in a studio somewhere.”

Still in its infancy, Facebook Live has created buzz and hospitality brands will start to incorporate the live video feature into their marketing strategies. The quality of the content and how consumers respond or engage with the content will be what determines the outcome for the business.

“People are just starting to get on the bandwagon and will be live streaming events and conferences and trying to be creative with it. The important thing is the transparency of it and how it can be incorporated into an overall marketing plan,” said LeBlanc. “It’s all about engaging with the brands. Either it will be a trend that fades away, or grows and becomes part of a bigger picture.”

Like anything new and novel, there are the early adopters who help to legitimize the innovation in the eyes of others who’ve not yet adopted it. For everyone else, best practices are a necessary and helpful guide to navigating foreign territory. LeBlanc recommends being prepared in every sense, from the lighting to being personable.

“In preparing for a live stream, the rules of good broadcasting apply. Increase consumer engagement by interacting with the viewer and making it interesting,” she said.

Even the sketch comedians on Saturday Night Live get nervous doing live TV. Coming across natural on a live stream can be challenging. To get over the jitters, LeBlanc urges on-camera talent to use notecards or cue cards to guide the way—and be sure to practice what you’re going to say prior to going live.

“It’s important to have somebody who is a spokesperson who has done this before and is confident in their speaking ability, too. The person who represents your company should also be a good speaker,” she said. “A good way to find out is to practice with a camera in front of them and then have them review the video for what they did wrong and how they can improve.”

For hospitality brands ready to yell “action!” and start filming with Facebook Live, LeBlanc encourages playing to your strengths for a video that is real and makes sense to the viewer.

“If you’re a resort in St. Thomas, promote your live feed to folks in Chicago when it’s five-below-zero degrees. Do things that are relevant for the season you’re in. If you’re planning for business, do something relevant for your audience. There are a lot of creative ways to use Facebook Live as long as you’re targeting the right audience.”

The show’s not over once the video feed ends; there’s an opportunity to continue to reach new audiences with the recorded video of the live stream. “The great thing about Facebook Live is that it saves the live broadcast on your timeline, so people who weren’t available during the original air date can watch it. You can also repost the video for a #ThrowbackThursday as a great way of reusing the content.”

If used correctly, Facebook Live can be an effective tool for any brand seeking to be promotional and transparent. Review your overall marketing plan to determine if this platform is a good fit for your needs. If your client base is not on Facebook, then consider another social media platform or find out where they are.

“Overall, be creative and authentic and stick to your brand voice. It’s important that the content is engaging and the spokesperson likeable,” she said. “It’s a great tool, if used correctly. Have fun with it.”

—Corris Little