If you are a Facebook follower then you know it’s getting a lot noisier on your feed these days. Pre-recorded videos with audio and live broadcasting have replaced traditional image posts as the newest way to break through noise and get attention.
The use of audio, video, and live streaming on Facebook has grown exponentially over the last few years, especially with the introduction of Facebook Live in 2016. Last year, the number of Facebook Live broadcasts reached 3.5 billion, with 64 billion views per day! This year, the trend is hotter than ever as companies and individuals embrace Facebook Live in new and creative ways as they struggle to remain viable and visible during these trying times.
For those not on Facebook or unfamiliar but continue to hear about ‘social media,’ and sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tik Tock, YouTube, and Snapchat, the thing to know is you can now pick and choose from these online information platforms to receive everything from up-to-the-minute news and highly-targeted advertising to curated content of personal or professional interest. Each of these companies provides its customers with different ways to share, communicate, receive, and post information and content. As the customer, you choose what you would like to receive, in what form, from whom, and how you would like to receive it.
I joined Facebook over 12 years ago as a way to reconnect with long-lost friends, share news and pictures with family and friends, and to keep an eye on what my teenage daughters were posting and liking on social media. As I shared more about myself – my interests and what I was doing – my “Friend” request list grew to include people I worked with, people we knew in common, and acquaintances whose requests I felt awkward rejecting. I also began to “Follow” businesses in my area as a way to show support and share their information. When I became the publisher of Journal of Antiques & Collectibles, my Facebook circle grew to include dealers, show promoters, auction houses, and the antique shops I frequent. Now, I am a target for all types of friend solicitations, live event notifications, and unsolicited but highly targeted-to-my-interests advertising. So much so that the Facebook algorithm now floods my feed with advertising and business-related information over the posts and pictures of my real and personal friends. When did that change, and how? For me, I would have to say when video came to Facebook.
Leading up to the 2016 Presidential Election. I was prepared to say goodbye to Facebook and all the political information ads and exchanges among friends and neighbors that dominated my feed. While I stopped posting and sharing for well over a year, I continued to view (or ‘ghost’ as my daughters tell me), mostly to follow posts from businesses and individuals important to my work and interests. Perhaps it was the novelty in those early days, but pictures and videos in particular always got my attention, and still do. They compel you to stop and watch, and to return frequently to see what’s new. That’s when I recognized that Facebook was changing, and changing for me as a user.
Especially in this last year, I have seen the antique market re-embrace Facebook as more than just another place to promote business and events. The industry has gone from using Facebook to post show information and share photos and videos with their followers, to using it as a platform to offer virtual tours, live broadcast from events, and host live auctions and virtual shows.
In particular, Facebook Live has been a game-changer. According to 99firms.com, live videos produce 6 times as many interactions as traditional videos, and Facebook Live videos get 10 times more comments than regular videos. Moreover, Facebook Live’s users spend 3 times as long watching live videos as they do the pre-uploaded ones. This provides businesses with a powerful marketing tool, and for antique businesses and shows to stay connected with you in engaging and interacting ways from a social distance. Anyone who tuned in to watch the Brimfield Live Online events on Facebook Live during the May, July and September show weeks, knows what a fun consolation watching a virtual antique show on Facebook Live can be.
Whereas I once scrolled through my feed to keep up with family and friends, I now look to Facebook for live online auctions and virtual antique shows…as well as cute puppy and surprise homecomings videos of our men and women in the armed services. All those things bring a smile to my face.