How do you get the billboard feature to work?

I've been struggling with this the past few days.
I am creating a forest scene in cryengine and it has a lot of vegetation. I'd like to implement the billboard feature for my tree models so I can save on the triangle count. For the tree models, I have 4 regular LOD's and the 5th I would have as a billboard.
I'll try and explain what I have done as best I can. I used 3ds max to model my tree, create the LOD's, and create the billboard (a plane). It's something I have successfully done many times, however, I have never tried to implement a billboard into it. In cryengine, I have a multi-slot material made for the tree model. Slot 0 is for the bark texture, slot 1 is the for branch atlas and slot 2 is for the billboard.
I have made a flipbook texture of my tree model (containing 16 angles) that I will use for the billboard. In the cryengine FBX importer, the first 4 LOD's (3d models) are assigned to slot 0 and 1 as per usual, and the fifth LOD (a plane) I have assigned to slot 2. In the material editor (in slot 2) when I check the billboard option, nothing appears when I test the model in my scene.

I am still somewhat new to cryengine and game design, so chances are I am doing something wrong. In fact, I don't even know if this is what the billboard feature is for. There is literally no information (that I could find) regarding the billboard option in the material editor, so I have just been making educated guesses about these features. So any advice would be appreciated.

Also, if I wasn't clear on something, please just ask and I'll provide a better explanation.

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