facebook video

The Top Facebook Live Strategies of Politics, Sports, & Fashion


By   |   September 1st, 2016   |   Reading time: 7 minutes Digital Journalism

How are publishers creating compelling Facebook Live videos across politics, sports, fashion, tech, and more? We explore the top content hits and trends. 

Video is the name of the game for Facebook this year, and publishers across every industry have been taking their content live.

We’ve looked at how general news publishers are using Facebook Live before, and the tips you need to master your first Facebook Live broadcast. This time, we’re diving into how publishers are engaging their audiences across different verticals, such as politics, sports, fashion, and more.

Read on for how each interest publisher is creating interactive moments for their viewers through behind-the-scenes exclusives, access to industry experts and celebrities, and community building. The data is from NewsWhip Spike.

Politics

One way political publishers can create engaging Live video is by activating on current events.

NowThis Election brings us to some of the more interesting political stories. This was the top political Facebook Live video we looked at, with 4.8 million views, 120,000 likes/reactions, 120,000 shares, and 41,000 comments.

Another video from Fox News of President Obama addressing the Louisiana flood, drove over 85,000 reactions, shares, and comments.

Live videos can also provide real time access to what politicians are doing, and an open forum for viewers to talk.

The internet is naturally a public forum. Fox News provides a place for people to debate their opinions in real time, as speeches unfold. Many of their top Facebook Live videos were live-streamed speeches from Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

Beyond access to politicians, live streams can also bring political experts into the conversation and fact-checking.

Since politics can be chaotic, experts and fact checkers help people navigate the hubris. The Washington Post had a Live video that fact checked a speech from Donald Trump. In the captions and comments, they provided a link to the fact checks and welcomed viewers to submit things to fact check.

Politics can also seem dry, which perhaps why NowThis Election’s more casual Live videos also do well, such as this “Election Trivia” video with some of NowThis’s politics producers. The video is both entertaining and educational, creating an experience for viewers to join in on.

They also made a video with the creators of a BFF Trump bot that people can interact with. The video was viewed over 37,000 times.  

Washington Post joined in the fun political video creation too. They did a Live video of baking the potential First Lady and First Man’s favorite cookie recipes. The hour-long video drove over 35,000 views.

Sports

Since the big sports have many rules around live streaming, publishers may find more access to smaller sports and activities, which have their own groups of impassioned fans.

BBC Sport did a live video at the Olympics for the first sailing medal race. It was viewed over 3.7 million times, with 26,000 likes/reactions, 692 shares, and 3,900 comments. Right at the climax of the race, the reporter showed shots of the beach of spectators and even spoke to the athletes’ parents on the beach as they watched the race and cheered on their Olympians. 

Even sillier sports can engage viewers by showing them something they may not have seen before, like this Live video of the World Gravy Wrestling Championships from Manchester Evening News. It drove over 116,000 views.

Like with politics, sports publishers can also provide access to beloved athletes.  

Sports fans are incredibly zealous about their passion. Athletes drive big engagements and followings. Publishers can talk to these sports heroes to bring fans what they want. This exclusive, behind-the-scenes video creates micro-experiences for fans to connect with their favorite athletes, as BBC Sport did with bronze medalist, Sophie Hitchon.

Fun content also does well for sports publishers’ Live videos.

The SPORT Bible took a humorous approach to the Premier League title race. They assigned teams to snails and had them “race” live. The 43 minute video was viewed 2.23 million times, drove 33,000 likes and reactions, 2,500 shares, and 19,000 comments.

The SPORT Bible’s commentary in the comments added more to the video, such as “A lot of Prima Donna snails here refusing to go the right way. Wasn’t like this in the old days”.

Or how about this Live video from Bleacher Report, where they stacked the 2016 men’s Olympic basketball team against the 1992 “Dream Team” in the video game NBA2K16, taking a page out of Twitch, the live gaming platform’s, book. It was viewed over 239,000 times with 2,700 comments.

Fashion

How are fashion publishers using Facebook Live? Many fashion and beauty publishers often have access to popular events and people, so they can use their Live video to bring viewers behind-the-scenes access to events and celebrities. 

Teen Vogue went live with Olympic Gymnast Gabby Douglas. The video drove 127,000 views, 4,400 reactions, 505 shares, and 1,400 comments. Other fashion publishers recently produced Live videos around the MTV Video Music Awards.

Fashion publishers can also show off their expertise via Live video, and engage viewers on the latest beauty and fashion trends, whether it’s showing off bizarre beauty methods or answering common questions. 

Marie Claire had their editor get the cupping therapy that Michael Phelps and other Olympic athletes swore by. Viewers could join in with their questions. The video drove over 66,000 views, 1,200 reactions/likes, 193 shares, and 445 comments.

These expert videos have proved popular for fashion and beauty publishers. ELLE Magazine’s Live video asking a dermatologist about tattoo removal drove nearly 65,000 views while GLAMOUR UK had their beauty director Alessandra Steinherr answer viewers’ beauty problems and give them tips. The video was viewed over 20,000 times.

Entertainment

Similar to fashion and sports, access to celebrities drove engagement for entertainment publishers’ Facebook Live videos.

Electric violinist, Lindsay Stirling drove over 70,000 Facebook interactions performing live for Billboard.com. MTV took viewers behind the scenes at the 2016 Video Music Awards in a Live video, seeing over 76,000 Facebook interactions for the stream.

Tech and Science

Few of us can travel the world on a whim or interact with the animal kingdom’s more fearsome creatures. We can watch videos, but the appeal of a Live video means you’re watching this moment unfold in real time.

This live video of lion cubs joining a pride drove over 477,000 views and 22,000 likes/reactions, 1,500 shares, and 2,000 comments.

National Geographic is a natural social media chameleon as we’ve seen from our past analyses. Both National Geographic and Animal Planet have been creating compelling Facebook Live video.

And for those looking to leave the earth behind, National Geographic has a video of a Mars simulation with six people simulating the conditions of future Mars astronauts.

The video was viewed over 436,000 times, with 20,000 likes/reactions, 2,500 shares, and 3,300 comments. Innovations and futurism often drive big engagement as we’ve seen for NASA’s content as well. A live video allows people to speculate and ask questions.

Trying out new gadgets is also a popular live stream tactic for technology and science publishers.

Business Insider: Tech did a Live video of trying out the world’s smallest 3D printing pen. They invited viewers to tell them what to draw.

UNILAD Tech also live-streamed unpacking a new Samsung Galaxy phone, driving over 283,000 views. The Verge did a Live video of the controversial and long-awaited No Man’s Sky game. Tech aficionados can satiate their curiosity through these streams.

Like we saw with the other verticals, access to experts is a popular tactic. The Verge also did this by live-streaming the fan-made game Pokemon Uranium with one of the game’s creators. The video was viewed over 86,000 times.

National Geographic did this as well. They have several Live videos with their Starstruck columnist Andrew Fazekas to share insights about astronomy and upcoming sky spectacles.

What to Know

Facebook Live is impactful because it creates raw, unscripted, interactive experiences for social media users. There’s a deeper level of engagement as users are actively watching video, and a sense of community as people are encouraged to share their questions and comments.

This analysis shows that publishers across nearly every vertical can find a way to make compelling Facebook Live video. The key is knowing what your viewers care about, the stories that will drive the most engagement, and delivering videos that bring them into the conversation.

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