November 10, 2016:
Didit has been closely following Facebook Live video since it launched earlier this year, and we’ve chronicled the many uses to which the video platform is being put by small businesses and local organizations.

As we noted back in May, early adopters to the platform include an intriguing set of small businesses, including barber shops, tattoo parlors, real estate agents, and a wide range of “citizen self branders.”  Over the summer of 2016, we also saw animal shelters, beauty consultants, and florists joining the live video party.

When we sampled Facebook Live again in early November 2016, we again noticed that beauty consultants, tattoo parlors, and barber shops continued to be very active on the network. But we also noticed some intriguing business types we hadn’t seen before, including:

Car Dealerships

Gateway Classic Cars video stream on Facebook Live Video, 11/7/2016Car and motorcycle dealers appear to be increasingly active on Facebook Live, and that makes perfect sense. Most people contemplating a high-consideration purchase such as a car prefer to see much more than an image on their computer before committing to a transaction. Seeing a live video, on the other hand, gives a much better feel about the car’s actual condition and history, and lets the used car salesperson wax more eloquently about the virtues of a particular “cream puff” on the lot. The fact that the video is live adds urgency to the sales pitch to “come on down!”

Local Police Departments

Fort Worth Police Department live video stream on Facebook Live Video, 11/7/2016Police departments across the nation are appearing with greater frequency on Facebook Live (we found at least four local departments during our survey). Obviously, police departments’ interest in social media isn’t limited to monitoring suspects or gathering evidence from social media posts after crimes have occurred. Having an active presence on social media is good for community relations. One small police department in upper New York State even live streamed from a parked patrol car (the live cast was only terminated when an urgent radio call came in).


Monterey Bay Aquarium video stream on Facebook Live Video, 11/7/2016Back in the early 1990s, millions of aquarium-themed screen savers were sold to PC and Mac computer users eager for a CRT-saving visual break from their boring, predicable desktop screens. A quarter century later, aquariums are still fascinating the online multitudes via live streaming. There must be something deeply satisfying to the human soul about watching fish swim around.

Cattle Auctioneers

Kenny Raney Jr. video stream on Facebook Live Video, 11/7/2016Buying and selling cattle is a big business in the west and southwest, so live cattle auctions pop up from time to time on the platform. Right now, you can’t actually bid on the cattle you’ll see in at auction, but that could well change if and when Facebook adds a payment layer to its video streams. Sold American!

Beautiful, scenic spaces

Avila Beach video stream on Facebook Live Video, 11/7/2016There’s an odd thrill in being able to watch a largely unchanging landscape unfold in real time, and Facebook Live hosts a good number of these “non events.” Beaches, deserts, lakes, and other beautiful spaces are the stars of these of these minimalistic, often silent live casts, often hosted by local tourist information centers. Interestingly, the tradition of pointing a live video camera at the ocean is a throwback to the very earliest years of television (when many Americans had never actually seen the ocean).

Musical instrument repair shops

Jake Willoughby video stream on Facebook Live Video, 11/7/2016There’s an art – indeed a zen – to the art of musical instrument repair and maintenance, and we saw at least two music shops make use of Facebook Live Video to stream live musical instrument repairs, which tend to be methodical and lengthy. While many of us will never spend a single minute contemplating the fine touch required to install a new whammy bar on a vintage Fender Stratocaster, there are enough people who do to make this a worthy gambit for music shops.

Plastic Surgeons

Cosmetic Surgeon Thomas T. Jeneby live video stream on Facebook Live Video, 11/7/2016Plastic surgeons are profiting mightily from the advent of social media, especially Facebook (whose humble beginnings were as a classic 1990s-style “hot or not” comparison engine.) Because so many Americans are now comparing their bodies (unfavorably) with each other on social media, the cosmetic surgery biz is undergoing its biggest boom since Botox. And streaming platforms such as Facebook Live video give enterprising surgeons a great way to bring brave prospects right into the operating theater.

Home Repair

Quality Epoxy LLC video stream on Facebook Live Video, 11/7/2016Home interior repair is a natural application for Facebook Live Video. Being able to see how an actual contractor works in a real life work environment gives prospects an excellent feel for whether the contractor will be a good match for a home improvement job. Live video lets the contractor express his/her personality, which counts a lot in the home contracting business.

Consumer Products (Moon Pies)

MoonPie live video stream on Facebook Live Video, 11/7/2016We didn’t find any big CPG brands using Facebook Live, except for Moon Pie, a regional favorite in the South whose contribution to the live streaming  medium was an odd and somewhat surreal live video showing a guy with a Moon Pie in front of him who was clearly battling with the will power necessary to avoid eating the pie. From time to time, he’d mutter comments on his mental struggle, but his Hamletlike indecision went on for so long that we ran out of patience before he did anything. Expect odd experiments like this to continue as brands attempt to wrap their minds around the endless storytelling possibilities of the live streaming medium.

Funeral Parlors

Stevenson and Sons Funeral Parlor video stream on Facebook Live Video, 11/7/2016Modern Luddites might find that conducting an online wake on Facebook is an exercise in questionable taste, but when you think about it, streaming a funeral/memorial service serves as a major convenience to friends and family located too far away to make it to the service. While we have no reason to believe that many funeral homes will soon begin offering live streaming capability as part of their standard service offerings, that could change in an instant if enough millennials demand it.

Didit Editorial
The latest adopters of Facebook's Live Video platform include funeral parlors, plastic surgeons, aquariums, police departments, and and existential pitchmen.
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