Everything You Need to Know About Facebook Live
With shelter-in-place in full effect, now is the time to embrace Facebook Live. Everyone else sure is. Viewership of the streaming feature has gone up 50% in the last month in the U.S., according to Facebook. Yes friends, video life in the time of coronavirus is real. That means whether you’re a Facebook business manager or a solopreneur pivoting in real time to keep your brand alive while your brick and mortar is shuttered, Facebook Live can keep you connected.
Let’s be honest, as of now we’re all using Facebook Live to do our daily lives anyways: streaming yoga classes; watching online concerts; or just stopping our scroll when something cool comes in our feeds. Even Pope Francis livestreams his mass from the Vatican each day.
If you haven’t yet, now’s the time to get on the bandwagon and make Facebook Live work for your brand, too. All told, there have been over 8.5 billion Live broadcasts since the feature launched in 2016. Ready to join in? Here’s what you need to know.
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Facebook Live is a streaming video feature that lets you interact in real time with your audience. After your livestream is over, it remains in your Facebook feed and video archives, so people can view it even after the recording is done. People crave human interaction and Facebook Live feeds that in a way that scripted and edited videos do not.
You can livestream from your personal profile, your page, an event, or a group. Keep in mind, Facebook provides more features when you livestream from your page, including the ability to cross-post to other pages (collaborations for the win), track metrics in Creator Studio insights, and put age- or location-based restrictions on who can watch.
Whether you livestream from your profile or your page, you have equipment options:
- Mobile device
- A separate camera enabled with streaming software.
Fortunately, creating a live video from mobile or laptop is as simple as making a normal Facebook post:
- Open your Facebook app or website
- Write a caption describing your upcoming livestream
- Choose your filters or stickers and get recording
- Hit Start Live Video
The key though, and this is crucial, is making a livestream video that people will stop and watch. Here’s how to do that.
Before your livestream
We’re going LIVE to celebrate Valentine’s Day with DD super fans, Jeff & Kelly Mindell from @StudioDIY! Watch as they make Dunkin’-inspired V-Day crafts and stay tuned for a fun surprise! 🍩 ☕ #DDLoveContest
Posted by Dunkin’ on Wednesday, February 7, 2018
A few minutes of pre-planning can give your livestreams more star power. Here are a few ideas to try to create authentic, interesting livestreams that keep people engaged.
Come up with a focus
Anyone, anywhere can livestream to connect with friends. But if you’re a brand or business, put some thought into what you’re going to be livestreaming. Is it an educational session? Create a class outline. Will you be demonstrating a recipe? Have all your ingredients on hand and prepared. Livestream means to go with the flow, but you’ll flow best if you’re prepared.
Promote your livestream
Give your audience a heads up and build excitement! Use Live Producer on your desktop (coming soon as a mobile app, too) to pre-schedule Facebook Live videos a week out. Whether you’re doing a makeup tutorial or teaching a yoga class, this lets you use an image and a caption to give people notice about the details. Cross-promote your livestream on your blog, in your other social feeds, and via your email newsletter.
Plan ahead for wifi
You need a solid wifi connection so your viewers have a smooth viewing experience. People won’t keep watching (and they might not watch your future livestreams) if you’re pixelated, delayed, or cutting in and out. Plan your livestream somewhere the wifi is reliable.
Create visual appeal
Facebook Live is all about authenticity but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan ahead, especially if you’re a brand or business. Think about these visual factors for your next livestream:
- Plan out your backdrop. If you’re outdoors, choose a setting that’s not too distracting and if you’re indoors set the stage for a nice viewing experience—pick up clutter and add a design touch or two
- Think about lighting. Don’t be backlit, because it can be hard to see your face. Natural light is often the best bet
Do a test run
The awesome news is that you can experiment with Facebook Live before publishing to the world. A test run when creating a Live post lets you catch any problems with your lighting, your audio, your camera angle, or your background before you commit. To do a test run, just adjust the post settings to “Only Me.” Record as planned for a few minutes, then watch the playback to suss out any problems.
During your livestream
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Besides the fabulous live content you have planned for your audience, there are things you can do during your livestream to both get a boost in the Facebook algorithm and build rapport with your community. Check it out.
Consider video length
Facebook “prioritizes longer videos (3+ minutes) that inspire people to keep watching.” The longer you’re live, the better chance that more of your audience will see you and engage with you in real time. You’re actually allowed up to eight hours per video. If you’re a solopreuner you likely won’t be making eight-hour videos on the regular, but if you’re livestreaming an event, concert, or conference this is good to know.
Keep your content rolling
Remember that it’s okay to repeat yourself while also keeping your information going. For example, if you’re a florist teaching people how to make a bouquet, new people might be coming on all the time. Introduce yourself on an ongoing basis, let people know what you’re there doing, and keep it fresh and fun.
Engage with your people
Livestreaming is all about human interaction. If possible, work with a partner who can respond in real time to comments while you’re recording. Here are a few ideas for making people feel welcome, feel part of a community, and to want to keep watching your live video:
- Give a shout out to people when they join—people want to feel included
- Answer pertinent questions in real time and thank the person who asked the question
- If you’re at an event, get the audience there to go live, too
Give a call to action
During your video, encourage your audience to invite their friends to join the livestream and to share the link. You’ll make your audience feel like you’re all doing something important, fun, educational, etc., together. People might not even think to tag their friends in the comments or share the link unless you ask them to.
Monetize your live content
In a recent post, Facebook said, “We’re helping content creators earn money during their videos by expanding Stars to more creators and publishers. We’re also testing it with musicians and cultural institutions for the first time.” Look into Stars to see if it’s a good option for your brand.
Inspiring Live videos
With those billions of livestreams bouncing around Facebook, you’ve surely seen some great ones by now. Facebook Live is an amazing way to bring people together. Here are some examples to follow:
Host an event. This living room dance party had over 181,000 viewers; 11,000 comments; and 1600 organic shares. Large-scale live events can also serve as fundraisers, as this livestream by DJ Mel did.
It’s a germ-free, nonstop dance mix for you and your loved ones – all in the safety of your own home. Put away the hand sanitizer, move the furniture and tune in on FB Live! LET’S GO!Benefitting:Banding Together https://www.gofundme.com/f/bandingtogether2020DSACT http://www.dsact.org/donateStand with Austin: https://www.austincf.org/stand-with-austin/In Partnership with DoStuff [at Home] a local resource helping people find the best stuff to do at home from livestreams to how to give back to the community. Find a city near you! dostuffathome.com #dostuffathome with us.
Posted by DoStuff on Saturday, March 21, 2020
Provide a service. This sibling duo offers encouragement, inspiration, and service in their regular Live videos. The young brother has cerebral palsy, a traumatic brain injury, and visual impairment. His older sister uses the videos to teach him communication through sign language and music. With over 76,000 views, it’s clear this type of interactive, educational service connects with their audience.
sign tutorial – Million dreams / Greatest showman, BSL signs in lyric order (SSE)
Posted by Sign along with us on Friday, March 27, 2020
Get support for your brand. The ASPCA used Facebook Live to inspire people to either adopt or donate and support their services. How could you not watch a teeny tiny baby kitten get its hair brushed with a toothbrush? Create compelling content that inspires your target audiences’ emotions to keep them watching, commenting, sharing, and contributing.
We’re LIVE at our NYC Kitten Nursery to kick off our #MeowForNow kitten fostering campaign! 😻😸 Visit aspca.org/kittencuddler to learn how you can help tiny kittens like these!
Posted by ASPCA on Friday, May 10, 2019
Here are a few more ideas:
- Teach a class (yoga, guitar, cooking, etc.) that’s aligned with your brand
- Demonstrate various ways to use your product (in a fun and non-sales-y way)
- Host a Q&A with a partner brand or influencer and you can cross-promote the livestream
- Do a livestream pop-up product sale
Check out the Facebook Live training video to learn more about Live. To take your livestream game to the next level, check out the Facebook Business Manager. You’ll find free tools, like the Facebook Pages Manager app, that help you create livestream posts, create content, and track metrics.
Use Adobe Spark to promote your Live events across all your platforms, and be sure to tag #AdobeSpark for a chance to be featured.