Organic Marketing: Making Facebook Livestream work for your Bar

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Facebook’s Livestream allows bars and clubs to constantly be in front of consumers

The Skylark cocktail lounge in New York City is making itself available to customers 24/7, but it’s not extending its opening hours. Instead, Skylark is using Facebook’s live streaming capability to gain exposure.

The venue, which is 30 stories high in the heart of Times Square, opened in the fall of 2014. Last August it offered its first live streaming event when Broadway star Idina Menzel broadcast live from its rooftop at midnight.

“It was all her idea,” says principal David Rabin. “She was debuting a few new songs, and her team brought their own equipment and filmed it with an iPhone set up on a tripod.”

That’s the beauty of live streaming, but also the negative. No special equipment is needed, provided you have a smartphone. But on the downside, the audio and video quality is not the greatest.

The Livestream event with Menzel garnered 3.4 million views on Facebook, the highest ever for the cocktail lounge, bringing free publicity for The Skylark without extra work for employees of the venue.

Based on the success of this Livestream event, Rabin decided to run his own streamed events. Last September he began Tuesdays at The Skylark — breakfast events that feature a discussion between industry titans, influencers and media.

The topic of the first was fashion (“The Keys to Fashion Success Today”), given that the lounge is not far from major shopping areas; the second was on sports (“The Evolving World of Sports”), since it’s only a few blocks from Madison Square Garden. The third event, to be held next month, will focus on Broadway and music. Rabin’s goal is to hold five to six of these breakfast discussions per year.

He specifically chose topics of some relevance to the neighborhood of The Skylark. “It’s a way to awaken people who don’t realize we’re so close to these things. We have a kind of speakeasy entrance and we have to let people know we are here.”

The streaming “is all about exposure, especially with someone of the scale of Idina Menzel. It’s a great way to get our brand out there with a lot of validity,” Rabin says. “It also memorializes our events and lets people watch it at a later point if they missed it. It’s been a beneficial way to get the word out about our venue in a way we like.”

The fashion breakfast event received 108 views; the sporting event got 326.

The best thing about using Facebook Livestream is there’s absolutely no cost to it, Rabin says. Plus, Facebook gives priority to live streams through its algorithm to get them in front of more eyeballs since they’re pretty new (they were launched a year ago).

Next up, Rabin may start boosting these events. Businesses can boost content on their Facebook page by clicking a boost button and paying a specified cost depending on how far they want to boost their post. Typically, this is done by choosing a radius of how far the post is sent out and determining who it is sent to, such as adults aged 20 to 30, for example.

“We are very strategic about our live streaming,” says Rabin, “and we’re not using it in any way that could cause any embarrassment. We do it in a very controlled way.”