Combining Facebook Live And Story-Doing

Over the past month, Facebook’s PR blog has been publishing weekly lists of their favourite streams from Facebook Live.

Scan through the these two lists and you’ll spot a clear theme. It’s people talking to the camera. Non-stop. Some of them are interviews, some of them are mini-vlogs, but it’s pretty standard stuff. Not much happens.

This is standard PR stuff. Get the face of your brand to speak to camera or answer a few questions. It’s fine, but it’s not getting the most out of Facebook Live.

Story-telling vs story doing

Prepare yourself for a little bit of pretention. In a recent Campaign article, Charles Vallance spoke about the move in advertising from story-telling to story-doing. Instead of focussing on communication, businesses should be prioritising engagement.

Looking at the recent winners at the Cannes Lions, like the one above, pretty much every prize went to some sort of social movement or big public event, but you’d already know that after reading our 2016 Cannes Lions post.

The basic theory is this. Story-telling companies sell themselves by promoting the story of their brand through PR and paid advertising. Story-doing companies act based on their brand. Products, their workplace, social media profiles, they all follow the story of that company.

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The current Macbook page on Apple’s website

Best example: Apple. Apple are simple and innovative. Their products are designed with simplicity in mind. Their advertising follows a very basic style, white background, plinky-plonk music. Their press conference presentations are all on black backgrounds, clear white font.

The story-doing process

Here’s the story-doing guide.


Check out for more info

So let’s look at those Facebook Live videos. They’re pretty much story-telling. Fairly standard PR interviews, in which the athlete explains how they became a successful Olympian, or they announce their latest album.

There are a few story-doing videos, and they’re the ones we want to focus on.

One good example, the Smithsonian’s birthday celebration for their youngest panda. Let’s go through those six steps.

  1. You have a story

The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute is part of the USA’s National Zoo. They do a lot of work for veterinary medicine and the conservation cause. They care about animals and look after loads of cute ones that you can come and see.


The Smithsonian’s #PandaStory promotion

  1. The story defines an ambition beyond commercial aspiration

They don’t look after animals just for you to pay the entry fee. They actually care, this is why they’re observing the physiology of the animals and providing a happy life to the animals that they’re studying.

  1. Your story defines a clear enemy

Don’t get too hung up on enemy here. Enemy could be a competitor or it could be a worry customers have.

In this case, it’s customer that are worried about animal cruelty. People want to be sure that the animal inhabitants aren’t being mistreated when they visit a zoo or wildlife preserve. Considering the negative press that a certain zoo has received in recent months, it’s a pretty important factor.

  1. The story is being used to drive action throughout the company

The Smithsonian are a caring zoo, so they do nice things for their animals.

  1. You have defined a few, iconic transformative actions to focus on

This includes baking a special cake for their prize panda’s birthday. It’s not even a simple caterpillar cake or a little cupcake with a candle, we’re talking panda sized.


The cake in all its glory

As a nod to Chinese custom, the zoo also arranged a Zhua Zhou. It’s a first birthday tradition in which parents lay out a range of object in front of the child. Whichever object they select shows what the future holds for the one-year-old.

They backed up the birthday live-streams with short videos giving a little bit more information, like a quick run through how the birthday cake was made. The Smithsonian also bumped an older video of Michelle Obama visiting the pandas, for a little star quality.

  1. People outside the company are engaging with and participating in the story

Backed by Facebook Live, the Smithsonian could reach a worldwide audience.


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People love pandas. Cute little ones eating a birthday cake. Thousands of people watch, thousands of people comment saying “happy birthday!” and thousands of panda emojis are posted.

A more cost-effective strategy?

Story-doing isn’t just a pretentious way to talk about advertising. It’s a way of lowering ad spend.

Companies are spending less on paid media, getting far more online coverage and are growing far faster. Time for a few graphs.

These are based on the StoryDoing project’s data on 42 publicly-traded companies. 7 doers vs 35 tellers. Each of the doers fells into one category (retail, entertainment, food & beverage) and compared to 5 other telling companies.

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Here’s one of the groups

This isn’t only a strategy for big names like Apple. With social media, you can sell your company by following the 6 key qualities outlined above. Here’s an example of what we’re doing.

Digital Media Team’s Pool Showdown

A couple of weeks ago, we filmed the final game in an ongoing pool rivalry.


Really missed a trick by not adding pockets to the corners

Broadcast on Facebook Live and Periscope, Sharky vs Enigma attracted 500 views, seven shares, 30 comments and 9 reactions. Considering the quality of the pool and our 2pm Friday start time, it was a pretty solid response.

Our story was we’re fun and friendly people. It’s more than selling our services, we’re showing a side of the company that isn’t always visible when people visit our site. We didn’t want to seem overly-corporate or stuffy.

To show that story, we streamed the match. It captured the personable side of our business, everyone in the office gathered round to watch and cheered for their favourite player. Viewers commented and reacted on Facebook Live.

Most importantly, I won.

If you’re looking to sell your company through streaming services like Facebook Live or Periscope, consider this approach as you start to draw up ideas. Show how your branding runs through everything your company creates and watch your social engagement rise.

Here’s the final paragraph; it’s where we plug our services. You can contact Digital Media Team today to discuss the social media services we can provide for your business. To stay up to date on the latest social media strategy, like our Facebook page or follow @digitalmediatm on Twitter. If you’ve enjoyed this article, share it with all your friends, acquaintances and enemies.

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