Posting live video for the entire world to see can be intimidating to say the least. But for marketers who know what they are doing, the benefits can be huge. Did you know that Facebook Live videos get 3x the views of other videos on Facebook? Yes, you read that right, triple the views.
Facebook Live (according to Facebook) was created to give users a “fun, powerful way to connect with followers and create new ones along the way.” The idea is for users to be able to broadcast to the largest audience in the world through the camera—or smartphone—in their pocket.
According to Forbes, using Facebook Live capitalizes on the video trend that is crazy popular in marketing right now, reaches users in-the-moment and is appealing to youth, a group that Facebook needs to reach to survive long term.
Facebook Live was launched in August 2015 as part of the Facebook iOS app, but only available to celebrities with a verified page, according to Techcrunch. The platform became available to everyone in April 2016, and since then, Mediakix reports the search popularity has risen 330%. In fact, as of April 2017, SmallBusinessTrends reports that one fifth of all Facebook videos were live.
Wired reports that users comment on Facebook Live posts 10x more than regular posts. Facebook live posts also appear higher in user’s newsfeeds while they are live and Facebook also introduced interactive features like viewer reactions and filters to go with the feature.
What to Post:
Facebook Live is the place to post news or events that your fans will be interested in seeing as they happen. Mediakix suggests behind-the-scenes video at sponsored events, Q&As with top executives or industry influencers or live how-to demonstrations. Press conferences, performances and breaking news are other great reasons to go live.
There are also options to go live to a public audience, or a targeted one. It makes sense to customize this based on the type of broadcast you are planning.
When to Post:
Avoid posting on holidays or during major sporting events or other large broadcasts that might detract from the size of the audience you are trying to reach.
SearchEngineJournal suggests going live from 1-3 pm if you want to broadcast during the work day. You catch people while they are eating lunch at their desk or before they are ready to go into afternoon meetings. If you are broadcasting at off hours, 6-9 pm is a good time as people are looking for entertainment during that time.
It’s also always a good idea to check your personal Facebook Insights to see when your followers are most likely to be online.
Length of Posts:
Facebook Live gives you the capability to post videos up to four hours long, but Facebook suggests creating action-packed content between ten and thirty minutes. The longer you broadcast, the more opportunity fans have to tune in. And of course, immediately following your broadcast, the video will be available on your timeline just like any video you post, so fans can go back and watch the whole thing.
Frequency of Posts:
While there’s no hard and fast rule on how often to go live, Facebook suggests you follow a schedule, broadcasting at the same time on the same days of the week, so that your viewers know when you will be live, or make sure to promote each live broadcast individually.
- Don’t broadcast with a weak network connection
Test your hardware and connection before going live. The last thing you want is a weak connection causing video delays or cutting out before you are ready to end your broadcast. If you do run into trouble, try not to freak out. Mashable says Facebook live will pause and try to reconnect. Your video will also be saved, but you can delete it if you aren’t happy with the result.
- Don’t waste a golden opportunity, experiment with the platform
Do you know what is incredibly unique about Facebook live? That right now, it’s absolutely, 100% free to use. When does that ever happen? That may not last forever, especially as marketers learn exactly how to harness the platform for great results.
SearchEngineJournal points out that a regular, non-sponsored Facebook post will reach a single digit percentage of your followers. Facebook live posts will reach many of those same people at no cost. Use this golden time to try target new groups and figure out how to reach the largest targeted audience.
- Don’t forget to use the content you’ve just created
When you are done broadcasting, don’t just end the session and leave the video on your timeline. There are endless ways to put your new content to work for you in future promotions. Facebook suggests adding the video to your blog, creating an ad with it, featuring it on your website or even using it to promote future videos.
- Do announce ahead of time when you plan to broadcast
How can your fans tune in when you go live if they don’t know you will be broadcasting? Facebook suggests posting ahead of time to let people know when you will be going live. And don’t forget to write a compelling description of why you are going live so that people will be compelled to tune in.
- Do have a clear purpose
Don’t just post to Facebook Live because you can. It will not be beneficial and can hurt your image if you don’t have a clear plan and purpose for a post. SearchEngineJournal suggests having a specific topic to address, like a product launch or PR crisis and be sure to stick to topic.
- Do interact with your viewers
The whole purpose of going live is that you are broadcasting in the moment. Welcome viewers to the broadcast by name. There is also a field were viewers can ask questions. Interact with them, answer their questions.
SearchEngineJournal also suggests you prepare for the worst, but expect for the best. You are live and will have literally seconds to answer a tough question. Don’t find yourself tongue-tied. Make a list of possible topics that may come up ahead of time and prepare yourself to answer every question.
Other Tools for Posting and Measuring:
Given the unique nature of Facebook Live, you don’t really need any special equipment and you can’t use video produced somewhere else. Facebook Live is just that—live. You may want actual accessories—portable lighting, a tripod, a professional microphone, etc. to make your broadcasts themselves more professional, but that is completely up to you.
There are also a couple tools within Facebook that can enhance your broadcast.
- Facebook Live Scheduling Tool
With this tool, fans can sign up to be a part of a broadcast ahead of time. You can link viewers to the post and there is a virtual lobby where fans can interact with each other for a couple minutes before your broadcast. Agorapulse has a good explanation on how to get started with this tool.
- Facebook Insights
As with anything on Facebook, the way to be most successful is to check your personal Facebook Insights to see when your fans are online and how your videos are received. At the bottom of each live post, you will find a “see video insights” button that will tell you how many views you have, total minutes viewed and engagement (reactions, comments and shares.)
Still have questions? Hubspot created a bookmarkable guide for exactly how to create a Facebook Live post that can guide you through the process step-by-step.
Now you know the Facebook Live Essentials for 2017. Interested in using other social media sites to promote your business?
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This blog post is part of our Social Media Essentials Series 2017, an 8-part blog series aimed at demystifying social media promotion, one platform at a time. Each post will focus on a separate social media application offering the skinny on updated ways to best use each site for promotion. We’ll let you know about who you will reach, what to post, when to post, examples of best practices and more. We will feature a new post every two weeks. Follow the Educated Marketer to stay up to date on our series.