Facebook has recently launched Facebook Live, a video streaming service that allows anyone to post videos to their feed in real time.
Facebook Live is part of the social network’s plan to continue the promotion of visual content.
Since allowing video posts, Facebook has noticed higher rates of engagement and many more opportunities to reach users.
Having videos on Facebook has also given advertisers and businesses many more ways to connect with consumers and has provided an easy to access platform to demonstrate products and services.
Now with Facebook Live, brands have an even better way to communicate with their audience and build authentic, intimate relationships with their followers.
Facebook Live is a simple concept, however it is important that businesses and marketers know how to take advantage of it and know the best practices to ensure that their Facebook Live videos will offer a positive experience for users.
We are going to take you through all the steps for setting up an effective Facebook Live campaign, plus 10 tips and tricks to help boost engagement and optimise your videos.
How to Use Facebook Live in 8 Simple Steps
You can record on Facebook Live using your mobile device only, however if you have a verified account you may be able to access the Live feature from the desktop version as well.
As Facebook Live grows in popularity, it is likely that Facebook will expand it out to the desktop version as well.
To record a video, click on the “Live” icon that appears at the bottom when you go to update your status. The icon is located right next to the photo icon and is of a human silhouette with a radar around it.
Facebook will then require your permission to access your camera and microphone. Once you grant Facebook permission to access these on your phone, you will not be asked again. If you want to turn off these permissions in the future, you will have to do it through your phone settings.
For first time users of Facebook Live, Facebook overs a mini tutorial that you need to read in order to continue.
The tutorial is very basic and reads-
“Capture and share the moment as it is happening. After you are finished, your video will stay on your timeline.”
After reading through the tutorial you will be asked to click “Continue” to be taken to the next stage.
The next step is to select your privacy setting. This allows you to carefully select who gets to see the video. If you are using your video for marketing or branding purposes, you may want to select “Public” so your video can be accessed by everyone.
If you want to test out how your video will look you can also select the “Only Me” option, which means that your video will only be accessible to you.
If you want to share your video with just your followers you can also choose the “Friends” option as well.
The next step is to write a description about what you are filming. This is similar to a status update and should be written using attention-grabbing language.
A good example of this comes from the Facebook page of the White House. They shared the following status update on their live stream video-
“We got some great news on jobs and the economy this morning, and President Obama wants to tell you all about it. So pull up a chair in the Roosevelt Room next to his economic team and listen in!”
This status update works really well as it communicates to the user what they can expect to hear and learn about, and it makes them feel involved and part of the discussion. This helps to engage users and gives them the feeling that they are getting exclusive access.
You can always edit your status update after you have finished filming, but keep in mind that people will use your status as an indicator of whether or not they want to tune into your live stream or not.
The last step before you can start filming is to set up your camera view. This allows you to select whether you are filming the video using your selfie camera or your back camera.
Keep in mind that Facebook Live is only delivered in a square format, so it does not matter whether you hold your phone vertically or horizontally.
Today on most phones there is very little quality difference between using the front or rear facing camera, but this may be something you want to test out before you go live.
The final step in setting up Facebook Live is to click the “Go Live” button. You will see a countdown on your screen and then you will be live.
As you start streaming, your video will appear in the News Feeds of those who follow you. You can then follow how many people are watching and if anyone is commenting.
You can respond to comments in real time through your video feed or you can also have another member of your team jump on the desktop version and type responses to your comments.
The comments will be available at the bottom of your screen and will appear in the order that they are received, with the latest comments appearing on the top.
You can also block users during the live broadcast by tapping their profile picture and selecting “block”. You can unblock them later as well if you wish.
Currently, Facebook Live only supports videos that are 90 minutes long and the longer you speak, the greater the chances that people are going to find your live stream and tune in.
Once you are done with your broadcast you can select “Finish”. The live streaming will end and your video will be uploaded to your Timeline. Once on your Timeline your video will just look like a regular post.
You can also save your video to your camera roll so you can edit it or share it elsewhere later.
Once you have recorded your video you can also go back to it on your Timeline and edit the description, change the privacy settings or delete the video if necessary.
How to Analyse the Performance of your Facebook Live Video
While you are streaming you will be able to see how many people are tuning in and how people are engaging with what you say.
This should give you a pretty good idea if you are keeping people engaged and if people are responding positively to what you are saying.
Because Facebook Live is somewhat of a new feature, you may also find that you receive more views once the video has been uploaded rather than when you are streaming in real time, so keep this in mind when determining effectiveness.
For your Facebook Live video, you will be able to analyse the following analytics through the Facebook platform-
- Minutes viewed
- Unique viewers
- Video views
- 10-second views
- Average percentage of completion of video
- Peak live viewers
- Number of people reached
- Reactions and Likes
Facebook also gives you insight into how these metrics change over the course of your video and which points were the most successful in terms of views, comments etc.
This can help you to determine the best length of time to make your videos and how quickly people are tuning in to what you have to say.
For example, if you notice that you had a peak during the 5 minute mark, it will help you to know that this is how long it takes before people start to really get engaged. For your next video you can then save your juiciest bits for the 5 minute or after mark.
How to Optimise your Facebook Live Videos
Facebook Live videos are great for-
- Connecting with your audience
- Building intimate relationships
- Sharing stories with your audience
- Promoting a product or product feature
- Giving a taste of a service that you offer
- Offering valuable content
- Providing a “free sample” of your work
- Establishing yourself as a thought leader
- Gaining more engagement and followers
- Increasing your social reputation/profile
- Giving followers a chance to ask questions
- Building awareness around your brand
- Questions and Answer sessions
As you can see, there are many ways that you can use Facebook Live videos to help support the growth and development of your business and brand.
Facebook videos also tend to get far better engagement rates than compared to image and text based posts, so sharing a video is also a great way to reach your audience.
Here are 10 ways to optimise your videos to ensure the highest engagement rates and best practices:
1. Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3….
Before starting your live stream you should definitely test it out using the “only me” setting to see how your video looks.
Remember, once you select the “Live steam” feature, people will have instant access to your video, so you may want to do a test run to ensure that what you say is polished and relevant to your audience.
Things to look for during your testing phase include-
- The quality of your picture
- The quality of your sound and audio
- How your message is received or communicated
- If you can polish up or shorten any sentences or demonstrations
- Whether your background or other elements are distracting
- If the camera movements are distracting or too shaky
- If the lighting looks clear and crisp and not over-exposed or too dark
2. Offer Different Types of Content
Once you get started using it, Facebook Live is a pretty fun feature however it is important to remember to balance it out with other forms of content as well.
This means including posts, links, photos, infographics and other content types in your News Feed and not just flooding your feeding with endless live stream videos.
This also helps to ensure that the videos that you do post have a higher reach and are more easily found by your followers.
For best practices, it is recommended to stick to posting a live steam video once per week to begin with. You can always increase or decrease the frequency from there depending on how your audience responds.
3. Introduce Yourself Throughout the Video
Because you are steaming in real time you are going to have users checking in and out of your video fairly frequently. For this reason, it is important to keep introducing yourself and what you are talking about. This helps your video to be accessible to those who signed in midway through.
You may also want to think about having a brief message or intention for your video so you can have people follow along easily.
For a rough idea, a 10 minute video should have at least 3-4 introductions about who you are and what you are talking about. This number may be higher or lower depending how many people tune in or drop off at a particular point.
4. Make Your Video Visually Engaging
When a follower scrolls past your video they are going to be able to see it but without the sound. In order to convince them to watch it with the sound on, you have to work at creating a visually appealing video.
The more visually appealing you can be, the more likely people are going to tune into your video to see what you have to say. The more appealing your content, the more likely they are to also share, comment and engage with it.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the more engagement you get with your videos, the more likely you are to rank higher on other people’s News Feed. This is due to Facebook’s algorithm which gives preference to posts with high engagement rates.
5. Make it Natural
When filming in real time, no one expects a polished and perfectly edited video. They expect to see something raw and real that truly highlights your brand and your message.
The reason that Facebook Live is also so appealing is that there is a spontaneous element to it. People want to be able to see something “real”, which means that the more down to earth and spontaneous you can make your video, the more likely it is to perform well.
Use your Facebook Live videos to also show your followers a different side of your personality and what they can expect from doing business with your brand.
6. Encourage Viewers to Like and Share your Video
Because Facebook Live is relatively new, you have to encourage users to take part in sharing, commenting and liking your video as you go.
This is important as it helps Facebook to rank your posts higher in their algorithm and also convinces others to join in on what you have to say.
When people are watching your video they can also be distracted or engulfed in what you have to say and may not even think about sharing it with their friends and followers. For this reason, try reminding your audience every so often to like, share or comment.
Here are a few examples of what you could say:
- If you like this video or think that someone else may benefit, share it right now with your followers.
- Remember to Like this video if you want to see more.
- Thanks for all the Likes everyone.
- Thanks for the comment, “insert name here.”
- Please feel free to send in your comments, I really want to hear what you have to say.
- Share this with someone who you think may benefit from “xyz”.
It may also help to think about your target audience and ensure that you are catering to their needs and desires.
7. Learn How to Respond to Commenters
Asking people to comment in real time can be fairly daunting. There is always the risk of not being able to answer their question, or the risk of them asking a negative or confronting question that you will have to deal with.
Depending on your followers and brand, a way around this would be to-
- Ask specific questions
- Direct off topic or difficult questions to an email address
- Ignore or block trolls
The more comments you can get on your video, the better Facebook will rank it, so you definitely want to try and promote comments as much as you can.
Just remember to keep your answers casual and use your follower’s questions as an opportunity to show off your knowledge and personality.
If any confronting questions come through, be sure to stay calm, cool and collected and try not to take anything personally.
When people do leave comments, call them out by name and be sure to thank them for their comment before replying.
You don’t have to answer every comment during your live stream, so don’t put pressure on yourself to do so. You can always let your viewers know that they can contact you at an email address or that you will reply to your comments after the live stream is over if you haven’t been able to get to their question.
You may also want to consider keeping the live stream more of a “group chat” then a one-on-one question and answer session, this will help everyone tuning in to feel included.
You can also encourage viewers to reply to other viewer’s comments to promote a group discussion as well.
8. Ask Viewers to Like Your Page
To help increase your social profile and score more followers, ask your audience to like your page. This way you will help turn your watchers into followers of your brand.
There is also an option offered by Facebook Live to allow users to turn on live notifications. This option can be found on the top right hand corner of the live video post. By turning on notifications, this means that users will be notified whenever one of your video streams start to go live.
If you have your audience like your page, there is also a greater chance that they will be notified if you start doing a live stream.
9. Stream for at least 10 minutes or more
Once you begin your live stream video you will start showing up in the News Feed’s of your followers. This means that the longer you broadcast, the more chances people have to see that you are doing a live video.
Even though broadcasting for longer will help more people to see that you are online, broadcasting for too long may also cause your watchers to lose interest.
You may have to experiment for the best time frame for your followers, but start with 10 minutes and see if you can increase it or decrease it from there accordingly.
10. Sign Off or Say Goodbye Before you Leave
Before you sign off, give people a warning that you are getting ready to leave the call.
This may go something like this-
“So I am about to sign off now, it has been so great talking to you all. For more information please visit me at (website address) and be sure that you follow me on Facebook for regular updates. Thank you all again for your comments and questions….etc. etc”
When you extend your exit message it gives people a final chance to like, share and comment on your video. It also lets those who are just tuning in know that your video will soon be published on your Timeline in order to be watched again.
Facebook Live is a great way to reach your audience and connect with your followers in a new and unique way.
Take advantage of the live streaming videos now while people are still getting used to the feature. This will not only help you to experience increased engagement, but it will also allow you to get a head start on what types of messages work best for your audience.
Video content is really the way of the future, and Facebook Live is just one of the many video additions that we expect to be rolling out in the coming years.