Jumping on the bandwagon isn’t always a good thing. However, in the case of Facebook Live, it might be worth a spin around the block.
Facebook agrees with the watercooler talk: video is all the rage. Zuck and his crew even went on record back in March of 2016 saying that video, particularly live video, will rank higher than other formats in the news feed. This, paired with Facebook’s ginormous audience of 1.23 billion daily active users, is reason enough to experiment with this real-time video-thingy.
Novice and expert broadcasters unite! Here are a few tips to keep in mind for your next live video broadcast.
1. Hype it up
Which sounds better:
“Sure, come to my party. There will be Brussels sprouts,” or “GET HYPED FOR MY PARTY…MY PIZZA PAAARRRTY!”
Not to generalize, but likely the pizza party is goin’ over better than the sprouts.
You don’t have to scream in all caps (we’ll admit, that was a bit much), but generating buzz matters – and the same philosophy applies to your marketing events, live video broadcast or other.
Teasing your broadcast in advance helps stir up excitement. It also gives people time to schedule you on their calendar. As a rule of thumb, start the pump-up process up to a month in advance and steadily “pump up the volume” as you near showtime. The goal is to keep your event top of mind and build anticipation, but not annoy.
Get the word out. Schedule promotions, updates, and teaser content across your social media channels. Hit up your subscribers over email (you’ve been building an email list, right?), and chat up your broadcast during in-person meetings.
Get creative with that teaser content.
- Gather “about me” video or audio snippets from broadcast guests
- Interview and quote subject-matter experts and influencers
- Capture thought leadership via blog posts, infographics, GIFs, or short videos
- Share unbiased articles and content from outside your organization.
Stick with the 80:20-ish rule. Push out promotions for your broadcast and other initiatives around 20 percent-ish of the time. Spend the remaining 80 percent-ish of efforts on valuable teaser content to support your regularly scheduled programming.
2. Don’t wing it
Just because live video is raw and unedited, doesn’t mean preparation goes out the window. You still need structure, consistent brand voice, and smooth production values.
Last we checked, this takes a decent amount of planning.
Where to start?
Check … check … check
Before going live, check your audio and visual quality. If using a handheld device, a mount will keep the shakes at bay. If you don’t need to be out in the action, broadcasting from your desktop is an audio and camera-friendly option.
Select a location with minimal background noise and distractions. Sometimes viewers also need a friendly reminder to shut off their distractions, too – remind them to leave the multi-tasking to Edgar!
Nothing is more disabling than a bad broadband connection. Download a speed test app to check your Wi-Fi or 4G in advance. If the connection is questionable, consider Live Audio, Facebook’s latest live podcast-style feature, instead.
Prep … prep … prep
You don’t need a 100%-scripted broadcast. In fact, depending on your comfort level, a nimble approach gives you flexibility to pivot based on questions or live reactions – you know, Love, Haha, Wow, Sad, or Angry. If that dad joke falls flat, you’ll want to think on your feet. (Trust us – we’ve been there.) We recommend memorizing your opening two minutes, so you’re strong out of the gate. From there, a loose outline should do the trick!
Think through your desired outcome and how you will achieve it.
- What is your primary goal?
- How will you define and measure success?
- What action do you want your audience to take?
- What information will benefit your audience?
- What questions will come up?
Practice makes perfect (or pretty darn great)
Do a practice run, especially if you’re a newbie. You can even record and play back a live broadcast to yourself by selecting “only me” from the “share with” drop-down menu. You can also adjust this from your desktop privacy settings.
Set expectations before, during and after your broadcast.
You know how your Aunt Doris used to tell you that her meatloaf didn’t have onions, but it did? It’s kind of like that. Make sure your audience knows what they are getting into, or risk forever losing a potential advocate, customer, and loyal fan.
(Even though you’d never hold a grudge against dear old Aunt Doris.)
Following these best practices is, well, best!
- Accurate promos: Be honest about the agenda. Click bait and cheap tactics don’t drive long-term value.
- Outline expectations: Make sure attendees know what they are getting into. At the start of the broadcast outline the lineup, periodically foreshadow topics throughout, and discuss next steps and a clear call-to-action.
- Description: A solid description can make all the difference. If your live stream goes in a direction you didn’t anticipate, you can always edit the description.
- Establish a question policy: Sometimes fielding questions in real-time is distracting, and it’s better to reserve time at the end. Consider appointing a question master, or someone to answer real-time audience questions so you can focus on running the broadcast.
3. Engage Your Peeps
If it seems like Facebook is releasing live video updates at lightning speed, it’s because they are.
Well, they’re responding to rapid user adoption rates, and they’re also on the hunt for new ways to drive engagement. For you, that means playing around with creative ways to be engaging and encourage fan engagement in return!
Mama says, ”Use your manners.”
Welcome people by name. Consider asking them to share a unique tidbit about themselves in the comments, like where they’re from. If you have an occasional troll, you can always block their comments and reactions from your stream.
Make it social.
Encourage people to ask questions and invite their friends to join the live broadcast. With a tap of the invite icon, they can invite friends via push notification. Offering incentives, like a discount code, can motivate viewers to do so. You might even release an exclusive bonus for participants after hitting a viewer threshold goal!
Whether you are an outdoor company taking your viewers on an adventure or a yogi leading a class from your private group broadcast, you need compelling and engaging content. Experiment with new formats!
- Invite influencers or guests to take over your broadcast
- Go behind-the-scenes
- Nurture existing clientele with an educational series
- Host a Q&A about your latest book release
- Show off your sick snowboarding moves
- Introduce your pet unicorn
4. Squeeze out every ounce of value
That’s a wrap. High-fives all around, right?
Nope, not quite yet! This is valuable content – it’s not the time to send it to the content graveyard.
Share and re-share your video.
At the close of your stream, your video saves and posts automatically to a specified audience: public, friends, or other subset.
In other words, take the opportunity to drive more views!
Look at Candace Payne, aka “Chewbacca Mom.” This previously unknown mom of two never anticipated that a four-minute Facebook Live video of herself in a Chewie mask would garner over 164 million views AFTER the live stream ended!
Learn and iterate.
Facebook offers a slew of metrics like views, peak live views, unique viewers, completion rate, and more. Pay attention during your broadcast and adjust your habits to the ebb and flow of live reactions, comments, and attendance. Optimize your length and approach based on drop out points. Where are you losing people? Did your doodle and filter fixation result in a mass exodus?
In other words, if you can figure out what works, you’ll be well on your way to inspiring, informing, nurturing, and entertaining your audience. You got this!
What Facebook Live Video tips and tricks do YOU have?
What did you cover in your last broadcast?
What’s been working or not working?
How do you engage your audience?
How do you recruit viewers?
What companies out there are nailing their live video?
Let us know in the comments below!