Everything You Need to Know About Streaming Live on Facebook
Think of how many Facebook Live videos your clients and prospective clients watched during the 2020 pandemic. Even if you don’t watch livestreams, that’s ok, we have to acknowledge that a whole lot of people do. I honestly didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to livestreams until the beginning of the quarantine period, which is when it hit me that I should be getting involved too. Every time someone who I was friends with, or whose fan page I followed started a livestream, my phone gave me an instant notification. No matter what I was doing, the social networks wanted me to pay attention so badly, that they have a “push notification” turned on for these things. The push of the social networks to continue to grow their livestreaming audience is to your benefit, because you can get in on the action too! I will admit I wasn’t quite sure where to begin, which is why I, when I figured it out, I published a blog on the types of livestreams and podcasts that are most commonly used. The key is that I was committed to providing quality content that enables my audience to do one of the three things I always try to help people get better at: earning, learning, and serving.
I have to say, now that I’ve done more than a dozen livestreams, my only wish is that I wish I started sooner. And, if you haven’t “gone live” yet, now is the perfect time to start streaming live on Facebook!
While live TV broadcasts have been around for almost 60 years, livestreaming over the Internet is still a fairly new concept. Livestreaming was technically invented in the early ‘90s but didn’t become a phenomenon until YouTube Live launched in 2008.
As livestreaming gained popularity online, more and more streaming platforms joined the market, and Facebook announced the introduction of its streaming platform along with Instagram in 2016.
Since then, Facebook has reported that one in five videos on the platform is a live video, and daily watch time for Facebook Live broadcasts grew an astonishing four hundred percent over the course of 2017.
It’s time to take advantage of live videos on Facebook (and the ability to practice real-time storytelling) and get your business, message, ideas, etc. in front of a highly engaged audience. The best part about it, is that when you are finished with the livestream, the video is archived for anyone to go back and watch later. (And don’t worry, if you feel like you made a huge mistake, you can always delete it yourself!) But first, there are a few things you need to know before you go live.
In this guide, I’ll show you:
- Five steps for setting up your Facebook Livestream
- How to promote your event and grow an audience
- What to do once you go live
Five Steps For Setting Up a Facebook Livestream
Going live on Facebook is akin to hosting a party.
You wouldn’t throw a party without cleaning up, organizing tables and chairs, or buying snacks and drinks. Setting up a Facebook Livestream is like being a good party host—it’s all about the details.
But, before you get to the details, you have to choose the party’s theme. Or, in this case, the topic you plan to livestream about.
Common Facebook Live topics include:
- Q&A sessions
- Interview series
- Industry news
- Behind-the-scenes looks
- Topics requested by your audience
- Whatever you want to talk about
Once you’ve decided on a topic, you can begin to plan out all the details like the livestream date and time and what equipment you’ll need.
Follow these instructions to go live immediately or schedule a livestream for a future date.
- Get Started. If using a mobile device, open the Facebook App and select the camera icon on the left side of your search bar. From here, switch to “Live” located at the bottom of your camera screen. If using a desktop, head to your Business Page or personal page, click to write a post, and select the “Start a Live Video” option. You’ll be asked to give Facebook access to your camera and microphone on both devices.
- Write a Description. In your written description, you need to give people a reason to click on your live video. Explain what you’ll be discussing, and encourage users to join in. You can also you keywords and hashtags here to gain more visibility.
- Add Video Details. Take advantage of as many Facebook Live features as possible. Tag friends you think would be interested and use the location option to capture the attention of people nearby.
- Set Up Last-Minute Details. Just before you go live, take a moment to ensure that all the details are in place. Make sure your camera orientation is right (landscape is the best option!), get distracting posters or images out of the background, and adjust any light that may be drowning you out of the video. A huge mistake many people make is putting their back to a window, this makes your camera have to fight sunlight, and you end up looking like a shadow. What most pros do is flip that around 180 degrees and let the sun light you through the window. Natural light is often the best light!
- Start Your Live Video. When everything is ready to go, take a deep breath and push that blue “Start Live Video” button. You’ve got this!
If you’re not planning to go live immediately, you can schedule a Facebook Livestream for the future. To do so, go to Facebook’s Live Producer and select “Schedule a Live Video.” Enter the time and date, and set up the rest of the live video as you would normally. You can also publish an announcement post. Once everything is scheduled, your stream will go live at the scheduled time.
So that you’re not talking to crickets, schedule your livestream during a day and time when the majority of your audience is engaged with Facebook. Use the data from your page’s analytics dashboard to determine the best timing.
How to Promote Your Event and Grow an Excited Audience
Unless you’re the spontaneous type and plan to go live right away, you’ll need to promote your livestream ahead of time. Advertising your upcoming livestream ensures that you’ll have an audience ready to interact with you the moment you go live.
My three tips can help you grow viewership long before you’re live on Facebook:
1. Tag Friends, Family, Partners, and Other Brands
Generate excitement about your upcoming livestream by tagging people you think would enjoy the content. Tag friends and family and ask them to share the post with their network. Or tag your business partners and brands you’ve done business with too. Just make sure you are providing value to that audience and you aren’t “that guy” on Facebook who “keeps tagging me in really irrelevant posts that I have no interest in.” Yes, don’t be that guy. As always, use tact!
The more people who know about your livestream, the larger the audience that’ll tune in!
2. Share the Livestream Link on Other Platforms
Let the world know you’re planning to go live by cross-posting about it on other social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn.
However, the more people who know about your scheduled livestream, the greater the chance that people will join in!
3. Send the Link To Your Email Subscribers
Remember to inform your email subscribers about your livestream, too. Send them a message about the upcoming Facebook Live event along with the livestream link and a calendar invite. Recipients who accept the calendar invite will be notified right when it’s time to log onto Facebook for the event.
You’re Live: Now What?
Streaming live for the first time can seem nerve-wracking! But with the proper preparation and my tricks up your sleeve, you’ll have a fun time. Plus, practice makes perfect. I wasn’t as confident on camera at first as I am now, so the most important step is to stop second guessing yourself and just have fun with it. I always tell my clients, “when the message is more important than your ego, you’ll get out of the way and start sharing the message.”
Before you go live, test your video and microphone by using the “Only Me” option on Facebook, and make adjustments as needed. Turn off all outside notifications, and eliminate environmental distractions such as music or noise.
Once it’s go time, keep these tips in mind:
Introduce Yourself Multiple Times
It may not seem natural to introduce yourself and the topic several times, but your audience isn’t logging in all at once. Some viewers may hop in five seconds after you go live, and others will join five minutes into the stream. Think about when you tune into a radio station or a tv show, they recap what is happening every few minutes so that new viewers aren’t lost. If you don’t do this, you are going to lose those new viewers because they are going to be confused and feel left out of the party!
A few minutes into your livestream, introduce yourself again and give a quick update of what’s happened so far in the stream. Do this a few times throughout the first 10 minutes of your live stream if you notice your viewer count steadily rising. After that, 5 to 10 minutes, you’ll get a rhythm for it eventually.
Always Interact with Viewers
No one likes talking to a wall. If you don’t interact with your viewers, that’s exactly what the Facebook Livestreaming experience will feel like.
Instead, scroll through the comments and shout out viewers by name, answer their questions, or elaborate on their comments. This makes the experience fun for both the viewers and yourself.
You can also enhance the livestream experience for everyone by assigning a friend or colleague to moderate the comments and interact with viewers throughout the stream—at The Success Network our producers help moderate the comments for you so you’re not trying to multitask too much. For instance, as you’re talking about a particular topic, your moderator is scrolling through comments and responding to viewers or queueing up questions for you to answer.
Have a Call-to-Action (CTA)
Throughout the Facebook live video, remember to shout out your call-to-action (CTA). Typical Facebook Live CTAs include:
- Liking the business page
- Subscribing to a video channel or email newsletter
- Sharing the video
- Commenting on the livestream
- Clicking the link in the video description
Remind viewers to do this multiple times throughout the video. But be careful—you don’t want to overdo it and come across as spammy. Again, try it a few different ways, you’ll find the one that’s right for you. It always seems scary to start, because we often try to be perfect. But I always tell my clients this to help ease their nerves on this point, “if your first podcast was the best one you were ever going to do, wouldn’t that be even more frustrating!” Think about it! This also applies to many other things in life. Of course your first try isn’t going to be the best thing you’ve ever done, but without your first try you’ll never get to your hundredth!
Continue Promoting the Live Stream
Generate more demand for future livestreams by continuing to promote your video well after the original livestream. And, as you promote the previous livestream, it’ll keep garnering engagement, which leads new fans to your page and other content. It’s a win-win!
Get Started with Your First Facebook Livestream
Now that you know everything about streaming live on Facebook, what are you waiting for? Hit that big blue live button and start growing a loyal live stream audience!
Need help honing your message or organizing your Facebook Live strategy or production? Reach out to me today! My team and I can help with any aspect of your Facebook production from creating a show outline to having a producer on with you live to moderate your show. But if you never go live, none of this will help you. So, get out there and start streaming, and let me know how it goes!