Getting Started with Facebook Live

facebook live getting started

If you’ve never tried video or live video, or even if you tried out a service like Periscope or Meerkat, and it wasn’t quite right, investigate Facebook Live.

Your brand probably already has a presence on Facebook, which means no additional app to set up. It’s also super easy to get started — all you need is your smart phone.

See also: Facebook Live – An Overview

Developing a Facebook Live Plan

Before you jump on the Facebook Live bandwagon, you should understand why it’s such a unique medium and how it can help you better market your brand.

Sure, there are risks that come with broadcasting live to thousands or even millions of eyeballs, but a little planning can go a long way towards preventing a PR fail. Live video feels fun, spontaneous , and personable, which makes it hugely appealing for a brand’s audience, but this isn’t synonymous with lack of preparation.

Since audiences don’t expect live streams to be perfect, brands can worry less about flawless sound, lighting, and scripts, and instead focus on capitalizing on trends and current events.

Define Your Goals for Using Facebook Live

Start by reviewing the goals for your company, marketing department and social media strategy. Ask yourself:

  • Do the benefits of live streaming align with what I’m trying to achieve this year, both at a company-wide level and specifically for my marketing department?
  • Will live video get me closer to the ideal state of marketing that I’ve laid out with my team?
  • What results – such as views, shares, or conversions – would make live streaming worthwhile for my brand?

Once you’ve determined exactly how live video supports your marketing and social media strategies, along with the goals you want to achieve through live streaming, it will be much easier to design your first Facebook Live campaign.

Select the Right Approach for Your Facebook Live Video

Facebook Live video can take many forms and be used for a variety of purposes, such as Q&As, product demonstrations, behind-the-scenes event coverage, and games and challenges. To figure out what’s right for your brand, brainstorm three to five different types of live videos you might want to create.

Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Create live content that feels informal, natural, and unrehearsed. If someone is talking directly at the camera, it shouldn’t seem like they’ve memorized a script; the dialogue should feel ad hoc and spontaneous.
  • Determine whether you want to incorporate audience participation into your live video. For example, if you live stream an interview or an event, there might not be an opportunity to respond to viewer feedback. However, if you’re running a more casual Q&A, you can take questions from the comments.
  • Accept that the outcome of your livestream won’t be 100% predictable. At first, it might be best to veer away from topics that are sensitive or controversial (unless that’s what your brand is about).
  • As the saying goes, work smarter, not harder. Take an inventory of the events your company already has scheduled and think about which ones would make for good live video. For example, do you already have a star client stopping by the office to talk to your CEO? If so, perhaps you can film something with them while they’re there.

No matter what industry you’re in, your brand can generate content that’s conducive to Facebook Live. Keeping in mind that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery; peruse the social network to find inspiration from other brands that are already live streaming.

Promote Your Facebook Live Video before You Broadcast

It’s a good idea to publish at least one post with the time and date of your broadcast before you go live. In fact, this is the number one tip on Facebook’s list of advice for using Live; they say that a day’s notice is the perfect amount of time.

This helps generate anticipation for your video and can boost the number of people who tune in when it’s go time. Facebook also recommends reminding your audience to tap the Follow button on live videos so that they can get notifications the next time you broadcast.

facebook interest targeting

You can also use Facebook’s interest-targeting capabilities to boost the reach of your announcement , ensuring that more people who fit your target demographic see your live content. Lastly, if you have a strong following on other social channels, like Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest, consider cross-promoting your upcoming broadcast there as well.

Set Up the Right Equipment for Your Facebook Live Video

At first, Facebook Live video was shot exclusively on mobile, with support for IOS and Android. Facebook has since made the Live API publicly available, which means that broadcasters can now live stream from standalone cameras and even drones. They can also mix multiple video and audio sources and incorporate special effects – all while live streaming.

At the very least, make sure that your sound and lighting are good enough for people to enjoy the video and stick around to watch the whole way through.

Pro tip: Do a quick non-live test video on your mobile phone to check these technicalities.

Often, the narrator moves from one place to another, so a tripod isn’t necessary. But if it’s a live stream where the speaker or subject stays in one place, you might consider using one to stabilize the camera.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, make sure you have a strong Wi-Fi connection and a good 4G signal (in case you’re Wifi suddenly goes out). Also, double-check that your IPhone or Android battery is fully charged and that you have additional batteries for backup.

Designate Someone to Monitor Comments

If you have a large audience tuning into your live video, it can be difficult to catch every comment coming in, and you might miss a great opportunity to interact with your viewers.

With a tool like Sprinkler, you can make sure someone keeps an eye on all of these interactions and routes them to the appropriate person. For instance, some comments might be shared with the presenter so she can address them live, while others are passed along to a customer service representative.

How to use Facebook Live?

Live broadcasts can be identified by the red icon in the top left-hand corner of the video. The word “Live” will be written next to the icon, along with the number of current viewers.

How to start a Facebook Live broadcast:

  • Tap on Update Status
  • Select the Live Video icon
  • Write a description
  • Choose the audience you’d like to share with
  • Go live

During the broadcast, you’ll see the number of live viewers, the names of any friends who are tuning in, and a real-time stream of comments. Once you’ve ended your broadcast, the post will save to your Timeline like any video.

facebook live broadcasts

Live broadcasts can be up to 90 minutes long.

How to schedule a Facebook Live broadcast?

  • On your Page, go to Publishing Tools
  • Select Video Library and then Live
  • Copy stream credentials, such as stream key and server URL
  • Write your announcement post
  • Finalize your scheduled Live broadcast
  • Click Schedule

Where to find Facebook Live broadcasts to watch?

There are several ways to discover Facebook Live videos. The simplest is, of course, clicking on one in your News Feed. If there’s a particular broadcaster you enjoy, you can tap the Follow button while watching one of their videos to receive a notification next time they go live.

You can also choose to receive notifications from Pages you follow. By default, this setting is set to on.

How to turn notifications on or off?

  • Click the drop-down arrow in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.
  • Select Settings.
  • Click Notifications on the left-hand side of the screen.
  • Click On Facebook.
  • Scroll down to Live videos, then choose your desired setting from the three options in the dropdown: On, Suggestions off, and All off.

Another way to find live broadcasts to watch is via the Facebook Live Map, which displays all live broadcasts currently happening around the world.

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