Facebook has recently invested in promoting their new Live feature of their Facebook mobile application. The feature allows users to livestream videos to their Facebook friends and followers while instantly collecting feedback in the form of reactions (like, heart, sad, laugh, angry), as well as comments and shares.
This all sounds easy enough, right? I don’t disagree there are definitely some perks to going live on the fly. It can give followers an authentic experience. However, as brands start to adopt Facebook Live as a communication medium to connect with audiences online, there are a few crucial steps to each stage of going live that marketers should consider.
With nearly every marketing tactic, planning and preparation is a crucial step in ensuring your efforts are a success. Facebook Live is no different; there are several best practices to keep in mind as you plan your livestreaming debut.
- Front or back? Decide whether you will be using the front or rear camera. Will there will be a tripod-style mount, or will you need a second person to hold the camera steady?
- Can you hear me now? You need to have a strong connection. Check to make sure that you have a strong signal before going live. Wi-Fi tends to work best, but if you can’t find a nearby network, you’ll want a 4G connection. If you have weak signal, the Go Live button will be grayed out. To check your internet speed ahead of time, download the Speedtest app from the App Store or Google Play.
- Plan your time. The longer you broadcast, the more likely people are to discover you and invite their friends on Facebook to watch the video. Facebook recommends that you go live for at least 10 minutes, and you can stay live for up to 90 minutes.
- Optimize by location. Think about the right time zone (Is it Eastern, Central or Pacific?) that will allow you to reach the largest key segment of your target audience. Digging into your Facebook insights will help you determine this in advance.
- Shhh. Background noise can negatively impact live video. Be sure to keep this in mind as you select a location. Additionally, practice your setup so that you know the optimal distance the action should be from the camera so viewers can hear clearly without distraction.
- Silence your phone. Don’t let a ringing cell or office phone disturb your broadcast. Silence your cell and forward calls from any desk phones in range.
- Look behind you. Scan your background ahead of time to make sure nothing is visible that isn’t on-brand or could accidentally compromise your video’s aesthetic.
- Do a dry run. You can try out Facebook Live and set Facebook’s Who Should See This? privacy setting to Only Me. This will allow you to practice and see how things look.
- Keep it real. Rehearse, but it doesn’t have to be perfect. Viewers expect Facebook Live to have an air of authenticity and not be too rehearsed.
- Q&A. Decide ahead of time whether you’re going to take questions or reply to comments. If you plan to take comments or questions, you will only have a couple of seconds to come up with an answer. We recommend brainstorming possible questions beforehand so that you have answers in mind when you’re on the air.
Your followers will receive a notification when you start your broadcast, but a little prepromotion doesn’t hurt. Here are some tips for amping up the anticipation for your livestream.
- Summarize. Write a compelling description before going live so that people understand what your broadcast is about. Think SEO and sound bites! Something people will pick up on in a crowded newsfeed.
- Hype. Build anticipation by letting people know when you’ll be broadcasting live. You can also use paid Facebook ads to promote your announcement ahead of time.
- Use alternate channels. Share your plans to livestream and details about the event or topic you’ll be covering before the broadcast across your social media landscape. You can also share the recording of your broadcast on Twitter and LinkedIn after the event.
- Promote internally. Let co-workers and brand ambassadors know about the event and encourage them to tune in. More views of the livestream will give you an organic boost in Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm.
If you’ve followed the steps above for prebroadcast preparation, then you should feel great going in to the day of livestream. But everyone can get nervous in the spotlight, so here are some things to keep in mind during the broadcast.
- Where do I look? We suggest checking out some Facebook Live videos that are relevant for your industry or expertise to see what looks comfortable to you.
- Be collegial. If you’re going to answer comments, say hello to commenters by name if you can, creating a connection and adding some personality to your brand representation.
- Wrap it up. Use a clear closing line and CTA to signal the end of the broadcast. And after you’ve completed your line, wait a couple of seconds until you hear the “ping,” which tells you your broadcast has wrapped. Some examples are “Thanks for watching!”, “Stay tuned for more broadcasts”, or “Visit our blog for more information”.
- SOS. Anything can happen during a livestream, so in the unlikely event that you need to block a user during your broadcast, you can click on their profile picture in the comments and block them.
After the livestream, it is important to keep the momentum you’ve built rolling. Always respond to comments and questions to continue the conversation, and get the most of your new video with these tips.
- Keep promoting. The video will be published to your page or profile so that fans and friends who missed it can watch at a later time.
- Optimize your video after the fact. You can edit some of the metadata and change the thumbnail of your video to increase views and organic reach. Click on the date stamp (which also acts as a permalink that you can use for sharing), click on “Options,” and select “Edit This Video.” You’ll probably need to do this from Facebook.com.
- Record your metrics. In particular, the Audience Retention metric could help you plan for the optimal length of future videos.
So you see, going live is not as simple as Facebook would like us to believe. But for many brands, this new feature is an excellent opportunity to generate organic, two-way conversations with fans and demonstrate a more laid-back side to their brand. By implementing these tips and best practices, you will be camera-ready in no time.