You’ve probably heard organic reach on Facebook is dead. Facebook makes money from advertisers. So, naturally, they want businesses to run ads. And, rumor has it, Facebook killed organic reach so that there’d be more food for their paid ads.

But this is only partially true. Yes, Facebook curtailed the reach you get from standard posts. But, they added new ways for users to take advantage of organic reach: Facebook Live and Facebook Stories.

The good news is these formats get preference from Facebook’s algorithm. Therefore, their organic reach is very good. The bad news is that somebody needs to get in front of the camera–without much of a script–to use Facebook Live and Stories.

So, if you’re camera shy, or you struggle to make videos without scripted dialogue, you may want to tap a more spontaneous member of your team to be the face of your brand. 

Facebook Live and Facebook Stories: What Are They, Anyway?

To start, both formats work well if you have a visually striking product. For example, Live and Stories are great for tourism and hospitality businesses. Since you’re selling an experience, it’s easy to show that in a video without awkward product placement.

You have to shoot your videos somewhere. Why not do it in a hotel or at an awesome tourism destination? That way your product is always on display. But, even without a visually appealing product, both Facebook Live and Stories can be very powerful.

Facebook Live is a live video broadcast that people watch in the Facebook app. People can like and comment on your live video, and you can respond to comments and viewers in real time. It creates an opportunity for real conversation with your viewers.

Facebook Stories are recorded snippets of video that appear at the top of people’s newsfeeds, similar to Instagram Stories. These snippets can only be viewed for 24 hours. People can like and comment on stories. But, you can’t converse in real time like you can with Facebook Live.The Facebook algorithm prioritizes these two formats because they generate the most user interaction and keep people on the app longer. Ultimately, Facebook wants people to stay on the app. That’s why the algorithm gives preference to content that encourages people to do that.

How Much More Reach Do Facebook Live and Facebook Stories Get?

We ran an experiment to see how much preference the algorithm gives to Live and Stories. We compared the performance of a 30-minute, organic live broadcast and 30 to 60-second, organic video posts. Here’s how the numbers shook out:

Reach

  • Our Facebook Live broadcast was seen by 12,929 people.
  • Our organic video posts were seen by 6,729 people.

Views

  • Our Facebook Live broadcast soaked up 5,395 3-second views.
  • Our organic video posts got just 1,714 3-second views.

Engagement

  • Our Facebook Live broadcast inspired 469 engagements.
  • Our organic video posts got a modest 28 engagements.

Conclusion: Facebook Live wins. 

If you don’t have the budget or you’re not ready to run paid video ads, Facebook Live is a great way to get attention with almost no upfront investment.

But, you may wonder what exactly we used in our Facebook Live broadcast, and what to do for your own live broadcasts. 

What Should I Do In My Facebook Live Broadcasts and Stories?

The first thing to know (and remember) is Facebook Live is not direct marketing. You should provide entertainment and value. Keep sales pitches to a minimum, or leave them out altogether. If you provide value in your Facebook Live broadcasts and Stories, people will find your sales pitch on your website and other promotional assets.

The second thing to remember is engagement is key. Whatever you do, interact with your audience. If you’re doing a Facebook Live broadcast, be sure to read the comments, respond, and answer questions on video. For Facebook Stories, respond to comments with your own comments.

With those principles laid down, here are some content ideas for your Facebook Lives and Stories:

1. “Document, Don’t Create” –Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk popularized this approach. It’s smart because it’s easy and effective. Facebook Live and Facebook Stories are about authenticity. They’re spontaneous and unscripted. So, they feel very personal.

That’s why simply documenting what your business does every day makes good live broadcasts and story posts. It gives customers a glimpse behind the curtain and humanizes your brand by showing all the human effort that’s involved. Even videos of your team heckling each other make great live broadcasts and stories. And you don’t have to spend hours brainstorming.

Tourism brands can record weather updates, quick story posts of your staff laying down fresh sheets on vacant beds, or a snippet of the kitchen preparing the evening special. These are reliable ways to showcase the quality and personality of your establishment.

2. Webinars and Q&As

If you have expertise to share with your customer base, live broadcasts and stories are an excellent place to share it. It’s easy to consume, and you can answer people’s questions directly to provide really targeted content.

Also, webinars don’t always need to be about “how to do this really hard thing.” A simple “what to do while you’re in town” video makes an excellent webinar, too.

3. Updates

Promotions, event updates, and announcements are prime territory for Facebook Live and Facebook Stories.

If there’s an event coming up, post a live update or add it to your Facebook Story. Then, when the event is here, do a live broadcast. You could even post an event recap.

Adding new rooms to your hotel? That’s a solid update. New attractions opening in town? There’s something that tourists might want to know. Started using a system that makes it easier to check in? Let people know.

The updates angle is a bottomless well of Live and Story content. But, be careful when you share promotions. If you have limited time offers going on, let people know with a live broadcast or a story. But, keep the direct response tactics to a minimum. Otherwise, your story or live post will look like a TV commercial, which people don’t like.

If it might be valuable to your customers, put it in a live broadcast or story.

Facebook Live and Facebook Stories: Best Practices

  • Shoot your video candidly. Avoid staging or over scripting. Make a loose plan for what you want to say, and start recording.
  • Selfie footage from your phone is perfect for both Live and Stories.
  • Engage with your audience. Welcome people as they join your broadcast and answer questions. Respond to comments on your Stories.
  • Make your Facebook Live broadcasts longer than 10 minutes if you can.
  • Add captions to your videos.
  • If you want to include a call to action, mime a “swipe up” motion so people get it, even with the sound off.
  • Schedule all your live broadcasts ahead of time, and let your customers know when you’re going live through your other marketing channels (email, other Facebook posts, etc.).
  • If you’re using Stories, post consistently, so there’s always new content to check out.

Even if you use only basic content ideas and follow best practices, you’ll reap the rewards of organic reach. If you want a more thorough look at advertising on Facebook (including a deeper exploration of Facebook Live and Stories), head over to the Biteable Video Marketing Lab.

If you’re feeling confident, grab your phone, and take advantage of the cheapest marketing vehicle on Facebook.

Author Bio: Gerard is a co-author of the Facebook Video Marketing Handbook and a social media scientist in the Biteable Lab. Out of the office, Gerard likes watching owls and sharing messages with his neighbors by mowing them into his back lawn.

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