Social media and other platforms have been dancing around broadcasting live for years (e.g. Google Hangouts and YouTube Live).
Webinars are still going strong on sites such as Zoom and GoToWebinar.
And last year we saw a whole raft of new players hit the market with Periscope, Meerkat and Blab all staking their virtual claim to doing things live.
The problem was that all these sites needed people to go to different platforms and learn skill sets. This meant that they didn’t reach mass adoption by the mainstream. You had to go somewhere else, rather than it simply being part of your everyday life.
Facebook has entered the fray and democratised live broadcasting (or live streaming in their lingo).
In August 2015 Facebook started rolling out live broadcasting for carefully handpicked verified public figures such as The Rock, Mari Smith, Mark Zuckerberg and Ricky Gervais.
In December 2015 Facebook started rolling Live Stream to personal pages and verified business pages.
Now, it is continuing the roll out to all business pages.
Why Facebook Live is a Game-changer
People naturally are disinclined to change channels once they are on them (which is why TV stations spend a fortune trying to get you to put down the remote control and mindlessly stay watching the one station all night).
If people are scrolling through their Facebook newsfeed, they can simply stop scrolling and watch your broadcast. They don’t have to go to another platform (i.e. change channels) to watch you.
By reducing friction to seeing your film, it means more people will watch it (and Facebook benefits because you have stayed put).
So Why Broadcast Live?
Live broadcasting has a totally different feel to it than pre-recorded video. It feels more spontaneous and connects people in the moment with what’s happening. People engage more with live streaming, than pre-recorded information.
From a Facebook perspective, they LOVE live streaming and they give your video nice a boost in people’s newsfeeds. This means that more people are exposed to your work, which is great for your small business!
Another benefit of broadcasting live via Facebook is that your broadcast is automatically saved and shows in your feed. You don’t have to fiddle with software, adjust anything, download or upload to different platforms. You just push one button on your app, and you are LIVE!
What Should You Live Stream?
When thinking about live streaming, the temptation is to stream everything. As with all content, you want to mix up your content types and not stay too much with one thing or another.
Things that lend themselves well to live streaming:
- Q&As or Ask Me Anything sessions
- Behind the scenes (Breakfast TV does this regularly – live streaming behind the scenes antics or guests)
- How to do something live
- Reacting to breaking news in your industry
- Breaking “real” news in your local area
Talking with my clients, things that are happening in real time would work a treat. Showing dodgy electrical wiring and explaining why it is dangerous and answering questions about how to turn off power at the switchboard. Showing a termite’s nest behind a hot water system and explaining why they build nests there, as well as responding to questions. Showing the after results of putting up a new wallpaper mural for an office and answering questions about sizes, choice of images.
The key here is real time. You want to be in the moment with people and responding in real time, otherwise a traditional video is just as good.
A few more snippets from the announcement of the general roll out of Facebook Live – Using Facebook events to broadcast your live QA is a brilliant idea!
What Happens When You Broadcast Live on Facebook?
When you start a live broadcast, it appears in your newsfeed for your friends and followers to comment, like and share.
People who have recently interacted with your page, or who have subscribed to your live feeds receive a notice that you are broadcasting so they can pop over to your page and watch.
During your broadcast, you will see the number of people who are watching and the stream of their comments. You can respond to the comments as they happen, or you can respond later on (or turn comments off all together).
How Do You Broadcast Live?
Here’s a live broadcast I made to help you find how to broadcast live using Facebook Pages App in IOS.
Look for the head with two halos in your Update Status area – that is the “Live Button”
When you click the button, you will be asked to type in a title of your broadcast. The title is what appears in notifications to your friends and followers, so make it compelling.
Then click the “Go Live” button, and you will be given a 3, 2, 1 countdown before you are live to air.
You can switch from the front facing to rear facing camera during the broadcast to switch from your face to what you are seeing.
You end by simply pressing the stop button.
Handy Broadcasting Hints:
- Lighting matters. Avoid squinting directly into the sun or being in a dark room.
- You can improve your sound quality by simply plugging in your headset microphone. I use a Rode SmartLav lapel microphone for iPhones for even clearer sound.
- You only can live broadcast for a maximum of 30 minutes. 2-5 minutes is a nice sweet spot length, although you need to test this with your audience.
- End with a call to action. It can be as simple as like & share, or subscribe to your feed.
- Practice getting comfortable with livestreaming by testing it out first on your personal page to your friends.
- Do a run through of what you are going to say before going live using your inbuilt video camera. That way you can check for wayward hair, bad lighting or looking at the screen and not the lens.
- Blokes can get away with stubble and t-shirts. Unfortunately, women are still held to a different broadcasting standard. You don’t have to be Instagram worthy, but at least brush your hair.
Here’s some more handy Facebook Live tips.
Can You Edit Your Film?
You can’t edit a live stream video from your page. If you want to edit it (to cut out bits), you need to download it, then manipulate it in your regular movie editing program, before uploading it as a regular video.
That said, there are some editing tasks you need to do when you have finished your live broadcast.
Tap on the date of the film from your page, to open up the quick editor.
You can edit your title, choose a flattering thumbnail or upload a branded one of your own (#hint), select a category that the film represents, and add in a call to action and relevant URL (great if you are sending people to a landing page on your website).
Handy Editing Hints:
- Edit as soon as you finish the video and BEFORE you push Boost (if you want to get even more eyeballs on your film). Once it has been boosted, you can’t edit the film.
- Create a branded image for your thumbnail and use that instead of a plain still from your video. If you are going to Boost it, you can’t have more than 90 words of text. Like all Facebook ads, the thumbnail can’t take up more than 20% of the image. In most cases, simply add a transparent logo to a still photo is enough.
How Can You Get More Live Viewers?
Getting views is the name of the game. You can schedule regular times for your broadcasts each week (similar to a podcast), or you can simply start running a few posts announcing you are going live in 10 minutes, 5 minutes, 2 minutes.
Another strategy includes asking people to subscribe to your feed so they get notified if you are going live, or simply publicising your next broadcast in your newsletter or blog.
But the real value comes after the broadcast. People watch your video later once it is in your feed, which pushes your numbers of views up. If they like and engage with your video, they are more likely to be notified by Facebook of future broadcasts.
This is why it pays to boost each one of your early broadcasts, to get in front of the maximum number of people. It doesn’t have to cost a lot to boost a post. Just a $5-$10 boost for 24 hours to your fans of your page and their friends delivers a quick hit of social proof.
Handy Viewer Hints:
- Promote that you will be live broadcasting 10, 5 and 2 minutes out.
- Choose a time when your followers are most online (check your Facebook Insights page for this data).
What If You Hate Your Video?
Hate what you have done? Stumbled over your words or used naughty words when you shouldn’t? Attacked by a wayward seagull with good aim?
You can always delete your film from your page (although you won’t be able to delete people’s memories who watched you live, although I am sure Facebook is working on that!)
A Few Words of Legal Warning
Live broadcasting has legal and moral implications. Pod Legal’s Tips on Periscope, also apply to Facebook.
- Be careful of what is in the background of your video in terms of copyright protected music, art or locations.
- Don’t be offensive, derogatory, defamatory or “inappropriate”.
- Comply with all terms of entry of locations.
- Comply with all site terms.
- Get the consent of everyone who will be in the broadcast or is identifiable in the broadcast (preferably in writing).
Other Words of Warning
If you choose to broadcast events or speakers live in full, consider the implications on future events. Why should people attend your event if they can watch it on their smartphones?
One solution is to value add your event by broadcasting Q&As with the speaker after the event, showing the attendees and the buzz before the event or hearing from attendees after the event. Give a taste – not the banquet.
What Does This Mean for Your Facebook Stream in the Future?
I was asked by a client if this means that everyone’s Facebook feed is going to be overrun by shoddy films.
Yes, and no. Facebook is testing a separate video only stream at the moment, for people who love videos. Expect to see this later in the year.
As people get used to the technology, they will naturally increase their use of it. This means a lot of half-baked films and updates as people are learning. The trick for you as a business is to get in early and get your learning done before everyone else does, so that when the masses leap into it, you will already look like a pro.
How Can You Get the Most Use Out of Your Broadcast?
Just like all content creation, you want to repurpose your content for maximum benefit. Here are a few quick tips:
- Embed your film on your blog. Views of your film on your blog add to your Facebook view count. Just click on the down arrow next to your film, select Embed, copy the code and add it to your website.
- Pin it. Pin your video to the top of your Facebook feed, so new visitors see it first.
- YouTube It. Download it, add an intro and outro and then upload it to your YouTube channel (See our finished example below. One hassle is Facebook makes it square so it looks strange in a frame- yay! ). Extra bonus points if you add in closed captioning!
- Share it on other social media. Once you have added it to YouTube, then share the link merrily on Twitter and other platforms.
If you don’t feel comfortable enough in front of the camera to try Facebook Live there are other ways to create video content for your social media without appearing on camera or speaking.