Getting started with Facebook Live

Have you been brave enough to use Facebook Live?

All around us people are diving in and telling (and sometimes baring) all to their followers in a live broadcast.

I don’t know about you, but I’m staggered by the amount of rubbish people are sharing on their live performances. Social media has always been full of terrible content, but since the Live thing has taken off, I think it’s become worse.

So, what is the point doing this, and how can we do it well to add value to your followers and customers?

Showing your human side

The first thing to say, is that Facebook Live is seriously impressive in terms of engagement. Apparently, it gets three times the engagement of any pre-recorded video shared on any social media platform. So the benefits are:

  • It’s the number one technique for engagement on Facebook right now - which is worth thinking about if you find that your regular Facebooks posts are not doing well as well as they used to. It's no secret that FB is restricting organic reach (which means without paying for ads), and it can feel as though you are spending a lot of time creating content that no-one is getting to see.

  • Personality of the business - It’s a good way of letting your audience see the human side of your business.

  • It’s free and there is no expectation of ‘hollywood production values’. You just press the live button and go.

  • The live video stays on your Facebook page so people can watch it even if they didn’t catch the live show.

  • There are some apps that allow you to record and save the video offline to use in other social media or have on your website (I did that recently with the Instagram one I did a few weeks ago).

Tips to get started

  1. Promote your live broadcast in advance - you should think of your live videos like an event. So let your followers know the date, time and topic of your broadcast. Also, don’t be afraid to promote it on your other social media platforms. So if you are on LI, Twitter or Instagram, let your followers know about your FB Live event.

  2. Make your topic specific and relevant to your audience - I don’t know about you, but I’m not interested in giving my time to watching a talking head just wittering on about nothing in particular. But if I know that the FB Live will cover a specific topic that interests me, I’ll make an effort to tune in. It sounds obvious, but so many people just click their ‘live’ button with no real roadmap of what they want to say.

  3. Do a test run - the first time I did a FB Live, I was terrified my making a total numptie of myself. So I set up an additional Facebook page for testing purposes and used it to practice my Live performance. After a few false starts, I did it in full 3 times on the test page to check everything looked as I wanted it to and that the sound worked ok. I know people expect a more informal experience on FB Live, but I wanted to make it professional rather than slick, and testing gave me the confidence for the big night.

  4. Minimise noise and distractions - before you press the Live button. Turn off your phone, email and anything else that goes ‘ping’. Also if you are doing it from home, make sure no-one in your family is going to burst in stark naked bringing you a cup of tea. Your video replay may end up going viral for all the wrong reasons. (Also if you are in an area where the wifi is a bit iffy, ask family members to stay off their devices while you do your FB Live performance.)

  5. Horizontal or Vertical? - If you are going to use your phone or tablet to do your FB Live, I would advise always using the horizontal orientation. If you want to use a recording of it on say, your website, it prevents that unattractive black margin down the sides of your video.

  6. Try to acknowledge comments and questions - When you are broadcasting live, viewers will make comments and ask questions. While you don’t want to get too distracted, do try to acknowledge some of the comments and answer some of the questions. In FB Live lingo, it’s called ‘shout-outs’. It can feel a bit daunting watching fast-moving comments on your screen, somehow it makes it quite exhilarating. If you can’t answer all the questions while live, make an effort to answer the comments and questions after the broadcast is finished. You will be able to see all the comments below the live video post on your Facebook page.

  7. If you want to record your FB Live performance and use it for other marketing purposes outside of FB, I recommend Ecamm’s FB Live app. It costs $12 a month, and it allows you to share your screen, which is handy if you want to show some Powerpoint slides. You can even cue in other pre-made video clips if you want to. I trialled 4 different apps before I decided on Ecamm - which is very easy to set up, and it worked like a dream. I was terrified of technical problems - there’s nothing worse on a webinar or FB Live spending the first 5 minutes listing to someone say ‘can everyone hear me’.

I think that’s it. If you are going to do a FB live, do let me know so I can tune in and give you some moral support.



jackie harris