As you probably know by now, Facebook unveiled live video for brand pages earlier this year.

Among the earliest adopters were a host of media outlets, Red Bull and Dunkin Donuts (they gave a behind-the-scenes tour of one of their test kitchens–see below)

Since then, a number of other brands have begun experimenting with Facebook Live (I’ve sent the following post to a number of clients who are thinking about experiment, too).

But, much like Meerkat and Periscope, live social video remains a bit elusive for brands.

Like I’ve said before, live social video might be the “next big thing”, but when it comes to publicly-traded companies who answer to shareholders and have an awful lot to lose, live social video is just another risk many companies aren’t willing to take just yet.

Why? Because of the unknowns and the uncontrollable nature of live video.

That said, it’s been interesting to watch a few of the known “early adopter” brands start to play with Facebook Live. So, I thought we’d take a peek at what some of these early adopter brands are doing.

General Electric

What have they done? Beth Comstock, vice chair at GE (that really sounds like a fancy title, by the way), held “Office Hours” on Facebook Live recently. In what was clearly an experiment (Comstock even says as much in the intro below), Comstock took questions from the audience (and in advance) about navigating change.

What did GE do well? Stationary camera made the 34-minute video much more watchable. In some of the other FB Live videos I’ve seen so far, the camera is moving far too much. Keep that camera steady!

What could they do differently? 34 minutes seems awfully long for a live video. I might shorten it. Keep it under 10 minutes. Few people have 34 minutes in any day to watch that length of video.


What have they done? Target staffers give you a behind-the-scenes look on th set before Gwen Stefani’s new video went live earlier this year.

What did Target do well? Nice additional social execution of a huge campaign earlier this year.

What could they have done differently? Overall, the video was very dark. I get it, they’re in a studio. I get it, it’s phone video. But, if it’s going to be that dark, maybe you don’t do live video. Also, I didn’t feel like the video really offered any “behind-the-scenes”-type of content. Basically, a staffer walked around the set for a minute-and-a-half. Your audience needs more than that, Target.


What have they done? Two Monsanto employees lead a tour of the Monsanto campus beehive.

What did Monsanto do well? Nice camera-work by the Monsanto folks here. Not too shaky, yet they “zoomed in”, when necessary and gave you a very up-close-and-personal look at the beehive.

What could they have done differently? Again–kinda long. I just thought it kinda dragged on. But, one purposeful strategy some of these brands might be trying to take is making the videos 20-30 minutes long to try to capture more attention in the “live” setting during the day.

Mayo Clinic

What have they done? Mayo has done a few of these live Q&As with a physician. In this case, the doc was Dr. Joseph Sirven.

What did Mayo Clinic do well? As with the other Q&A live videos Mayo has done, I love the “live” Q&A aspect (which is really confined to the last 2-3 minutes of the video). Great way to use the tool.

What could they have done differently? Dr. Sirven answered some of the questions from the community in the broadcast, but I noticed a few in the comment string that they didn’t address (and Mayo didn’t respond to a single comment in the thread). I’d probably go ahead and do that, too. Especially if they promoted this post in newsfeeds.


What did they do? Gave fans some “exclusive content” by providing a couple of interviews with the people behind the “cognitive dress.”

What did IBM do well? Camera work and narration were solid (although, as noted below, hard to hear at times). I like the idea of expanding on an existing event by giving fans a bit more context around something they’re clearly interested in (cognitive dress).

What could they have done differently? Sound quality wavered throughout. Clearly, they were in a loud room–I might have tried to find a little more quiet environment for the shoot. Could have accomplished the same effect–the background noise added nothing.