These days live video is a popular means of communicating to an audience. The beauty of this method of connecting with customers, clients (or anyone really) is that it’s not solely available to major corporations with deep pockets, an in-house studio, and a multi-million-dollar advertising budget. It’s also a great way for smaller businesses or even indie shops to build relationships with their followers. And it’s relatively inexpensive. To shoot a livestream video that can be shown on your website, you’ll need to download streaming software such as OBS Project, a free, open-source tool. Paid subscriptions like Vimeo Livestream can cost about $1000.
Today, however, we’re going to talk about shooting live video for Facebook. About two billion people in the world are on Facebook, so it’s highly likely that your message will reach the folks you want it to. Here are a few tips and tricks to get your business on the road to live broadcasting success.
#1: Let People Know You’re Going to Broadcast Ahead of Time
It kind of sounds like a no-brainer, but no one’s coming to your party if you don’t invite them!
Use photos or a short pre-made video to promote your upcoming live stream to your personal Facebook news feed, the fans of your business’s Facebook page, groups you’re in, or even an event.
Don’t forget that there is also an entire world outside of Facebook that you can tap into. If you have a blog, write a short post to invite your readers. Send out an announcement to your mailing list, and include a link to your Facebook page, group or event.
If you feel that your live broadcast could be valuable for an even-larger audience outside of your networks, you can always boost your “Live Stream Coming Soon” posts by using paid Facebook ads. That’s a whole different animal that we’ll get into in another blog post.
#2: Prep and Practice
Before you go live, you need to do some preparation to make sure that your audience can hear you clearly and participate in the broadcast. Think about how long you want your broadcast to be. Facebook recommends that you limit your live video to about 10 minutes, but you can run as long as eight hours.
Here are some tips for making sure the location and setup for your live feed are perfect:
- Minimize background noise and clutter.
- Regardless of whether you’re holding your phone and using the front-facing camera or you’ve got it mounted and you’re using the rear-facing camera, make sure to position your phone horizontally. This is one of the biggest mistakes we see with video shot using a mobile device. Think about it this way: Television and movie screens are horizontal, so your phone should be positioned that way, too.
- Make sure you have a strong internet connection so you don’t have disruptions in your video.
Pro tip: Mute your phone and incoming text messages.
Do a Practice Run and Then Go for It!
When making any type of presentation, it’s never a bad idea to rehearse a few times. But how the heck are you supposed to rehearse a live video? Easy! Set Facebook’s “Who can see your post?” privacy drop-down menu to Only Me before you click “Add to your post” and then “Live Video.” You’ll see the live video exactly as it will appear, but no one else will.
#3: Be Approachable
When you’re ready to really go live, relax. You don’t have to provide a professional newscast-like production, but you do need to give your audience a reason to like and trust you.
Start off with an introduction and a quick overview of what you’re going to talk about and how long the video will be to help manage time commitment expectations. Facebook recommends that you interact with your audience as much as possible. After all, that’s kind of the point, right? Be sure to encourage the use of comments and emojis.
Pro tip: Address commenters by name and repeat the question or feedback being given so everyone watching is clear about the conversation. When the video is replayed, comments will still show up just like they did during the live event.
Be sure to end your live video with a call to action. What do you want them to do as a result of watching? Visit your website? Buy something? Call you? Also, be sure to tell them about plans for your next video, and ask them to share the archived copy of the video that will be in the timeline. Make sure that they can easily contact you with any follow-up questions.
#4: Optimize Your Live Recording
Facebook Live videos are immediately archived, and it’s common that archived views exceed the viewership of a live video.
You can add a comment to the archived video to thank everyone for watching. Encourage additional comments and questions so you’ll show up in more newsfeeds and have the opportunity to engage with your audience even further.
Also, you can edit the metadata for the archived video. Click on the date stamp (which you also use to share the video), click Options, and select Edit This Video. It’s easier to do this from Facebook.com instead of your mobile device.
Change the thumbnail, add or change the location and date, provide a longer description, and select a category.
#5: Conduct a Post-Mortem
You can see how well your video drew in your audience by checking out the metrics that show you the total number of viewers who watched at least part of your video, as well as a running tally of the number of viewers you had at any given time during the broadcast. This can show you what your more popular content was and where participants dropped off.
Play around with your next live video. Try shooting on a different day of the week or at a different time of day, maybe try adding another person to your shoot. The great thing about this marketing channel is that there are dozens, maybe hundreds, of different approaches you can try. Give it a go and see what sticks. Lights, camera, ACTION!