Facebook democratized fame, and in the process, empowered its users to be film stars. The social media revolution has penetrated businesses, making engagement and connection more important than ever before. Clients expect more personalized interactions and responses.
And nothing answers that demand better than video. Enter Facebook, not only the largest social media platform worldwide, but one of the leaders in the live video space with its new Facebook Live Producer.
In this article, we will explore the three steps you go through to go live on Facebook.
3 steps to engage your audience with Facebook Live:
- Prepare and schedule your Facebook Live session
- Perform your Facebook Live session
- Optimize, follow up, and learn
Overview: What is Facebook Live?
Facebook launched its Live capability in 2016. Anyone could go live on Facebook from anywhere in the world in a simple way, much like an Instagram live session works today.
Users have published 8.5 billion broadcasts since then using Facebook Live. Gradually the user community has become more professional, and in March 2020, to provide even more options to producers of live video.
What started as clicking a Live button on your smartphone has evolved into a professional broadcast platform, where you can even plug into professional equipment, and provide the video stream via an API.
You can still do a Facebook Live stream on a smartphone like before, and you can graduate to more complex and professional equipment as you go, using successively more advanced equipment and tools for your Facebook Live setup.
In this article, we will take you through the basics of the platform and provide you with Facebook Live tips, and insights into how the Facebook Live Producer works.
What to consider before going live on Facebook
In order to use social media for small business, you must define the boundaries between the private and the professional sphere. Business is based on people-to-people relationships just as personal friendships are.
In that sense, Facebook is simply another well-defined communication channel for business. You host your live session via your Facebook business page.
1. What is your objective?
You must define your objectives for your live operation. You may have more than one, and “learning” is an acceptable objective.
You should probably consider the long-term perspective as well: A stand-alone live event is difficult to promote, whereas you can build a specific audience over time for recurring online events.
And if you have an established social media strategy, any live sessions should be integrated into it as a means of engaging your audience, and gaining more followers, who can, in turn, promote it.
In the US market, you can even use Facebook Live as a component of your social commerce strategy: showcase and promote products from your Facebook shop, and users will be able to add products to their basket and purchase them without leaving the video.
2. Consider your topic and theme
If you’re wondering how to get started with Facebook Live, then you probably already know what the theme for the session will be.
You might promote a special event, a product launch, a regular update, a Q&A, or a more daring Ask Me Anything (AMA) session. AMAs have become a popular format for sharing expert knowledge, and you can showcase your expertise to boot.
You can get additional ideas for topics and themes via social listening as well as exploring the characteristics of your audience using the new tool.
A social media audit will provide ample information about the themes and topics that interest your audience.
3. What’s your starting point in terms of followers and engagement?
You can post live sessions to a page, a group or an event. We are focused on a business page in this process, but a group or an event could make sense if your page doesn’t have a strong user base, and you have alternative audiences you can use.
The advantage of posting to a page is that you can crosspost to several pages, and get detailed insights into the performance of your session. Additionally, you can restrict a live session by age, gender, location, and language. This granularity ensures the audience meets your objective.
4. Consider the context
A live session should not be a stand-alone element in a social media marketing plan. It should be a piece of your social media content calendar with posts preparing for it and the session itself priming for future communications.
How to use Facebook Live for your small business
Doing a Facebook Live from a phone and from a computer can be two widely different things. The easier way is via smartphone, and it couldn’t be simpler: you press a button and you are live.
So much more reason for preparing well. On a computer, you have more controls and you can use a much more complex setup if you wish to.
Using a paired encoder, you acquire the video signal from professional camera equipment and feed it into your Facebook Live Producer via your computer.
For the technical setup, we will assume you use either your phone or the camera option. It’s a good and inexpensive way to start. You can gradually move to more complex setups when the value of your social media operations allows you to invest more.
Step 1: Prepare and schedule your time
Go into the Facebook Live Producer to schedule the time for your live sessions. It’s an option at the top left part of the screen. You can schedule a live session up to a week ahead.
This will create a post on your timeline and help generate more awareness around your session and more attendance when you perform.
Social media management tools are great for managing the process and optimizing the reach across various social media networks.
Tips for preparing and scheduling your live session
With your topic and your target audience in mind, you will try to generate as much expectation and awareness as possible about your live session ahead of the event. You should also prepare your themes, and perhaps a script or a list of talking points for the session.
- Find the right time: Synchronize your timing with your audience by checking the “Insights” section of your Facebook page for the time your audience is typically online.
- Promote via other channels: Announce the live session the day before via email and via social network posts 10 minutes before, in order to maximize your attendance.
- Run a test live: Why not run a test live into a small facebook group to become familiar with all the options you have for a live session.
- Uh-training: If you have a tendency to say “uh” every three words, train yourself to not say it: Turn on your webcam and put a post-it saying “no uh” on your computer screen, then present to yourself from your talking points a few times. You can easily get rid of the “uh” if you become aware of it.
- Your friend in the audience: Make sure that you have a trusted person ready to attend your live session to report back with honest feedback after the session.
Step 2: Perform your live session
At the scheduled time, you will connect to the Facebook Live Producer again to launch your live session. Be sure your video and sound quality are OK and check your internet connection.
If you’re on the move with a mobile device, make sure you have sufficient bandwidth to stream. A WIFI or 4G connection will work best.
Tips for performing your live session
If you are new to live streaming, disregard many of the options. With more experience, you might want to explore the interaction options you have for a live stream: polls and questions. You can also explore the Stream health while you are live to monitor the technical performance of the stream.
- Face a window: The best way to guarantee good lighting is to face a window, and do the session during daytime.
- Prepare polls and questions: During the live session, you can use polls and questions to interact with your audience. You need to prepare them ahead of time.
- Consider using a microphone or a headset: Although you may not be as good-looking with a headset on, it is a good way to guarantee good sound quality. A clip-on microphone is another good option.
- Write down your end-sequence: When you are live, you are under stress and tend to forget some of the things you intended to cover. Make sure you at least have the end-sequence for your live session written down, so you can always end the session without forgetting important announcements or calls-to-action you planned.
Step 3: Optimize, follow-up and learn
Consider a Facebook Live session an event. You have planned for it and promoted it, and after the event you evaluate it and consider improvements for future events. Remember that a digital event enables you to measure how it went much more easily than for a physical one.
A live event may not fit well into your other social media metrics. In the promotion phase you are building reach, and while the session is running, you are creating strong engagement, but the metrics are not directly comparable to those of other social media publications.
The user’s simply attending is strong engagement. In the process, you are also building content that may serve for future posts.
You may even establish relationships with people who can become your brand ambassadors via a live session. As such, there are many outcomes of a live session that won’t fit into your social media monitoring dashboard.
Tips for optimizing, following and learning
After the live event, the streamed session is available like any other post. It can generate likes and comments, and drive more views and engagement. Answer or like all the comments on the post as required.
Also look back at your objectives for the session. Did you meet them? What did your friend in the audience provide as feedback? Document these things for future reference.
- Replay: If you have saved the live session, it can be replayed and if you have extracted it, you can use it in other channels.
- Clipping: With the Facebook Live Producer, you can clip sequences of your video during the live session. You can also go back after the session and extract clips that you would like to use in future videos or promotion material.
- Recap document: Create a report to recap your session in terms of objectives, preparation, stats and improvement points. It will be useful for preparing your next Facebook Live.
Live but not light: Everything is in the preparation
Facebook has made it easy and accessible to create live events and reach a large audience at marginal cost. This doesn’t mean, however, that you will be immediately successful, but don’t take it lightly.
Facebook has empowered you. Now it is up to you to be relevant, accessible and take your live session as seriously as you would any other public appearance. Do that and you will quickly uncover the potential of Facebook Live for your business.