By Arielle Mullen

To say that a lot has happened since Facebook first hit the scene is a bit of an understatement. Now the biggest social network the world, what started as a relatively simple platform in 2004 has features that most of us could never have predicted. Businesses can now sell products with chatbots via Facebook Messenger, individuals can create 360-degree videos, and most people are spending nearly an hour every day perusing the News Feed. 

At this time in 2019, Facebook has an average of 1.56 billion daily active users. To put that in perspective, the total population of Earth is 7.53 billion. In April of 2016, Facebook Live was launched, and users were able to broadcast live video from their mobile device or desktop computer straight to their News Feed. Since its release it's continued to gain momentum, with 78% of online audiences watching video on Facebook Live

While it isn't difficult to understand why Facebook Live has become so popular, many businesses have been slow to leverage this tool as part of their marketing plan. While live videos earn three times the engagement of traditional video content, the idea of broadcasting live with no safety net can be daunting. 

If you're a marketer or business owner who has wholeheartedly embraced Facebook Live, congratulations! You are definitely in the minority when it comes to Facebook prowess. However, if you've felt trepidatious at the thought of "going live," today is your lucky day! We've compiled everything you need to know to get started with Facebook Live in 2019. 

Interested in learning how to fully leverage Facebook Live? Get in touch with us to learn about our Digital Marketing Essentials Plan

The Basics: How to Broadcast 

Unless you plan to broadcast via the Live API, you will need the following items: 

  • WiFi connection (or data)
  • Mobile device
  • One of the following: Pages Manager, Facebook Creator app, Facebook mobile app

Depending on whether you plan to broadcast live from a mobile device or desktop, the process will change slightly. 

STEP ONE: To broadcast from your mobile device, navigate to the Page and tap the box where you'd normally go to create a new post. At the bottom right-hand corner, select the red video icon. If you haven't already, at this time you will be prompted to give Facebook camera and microphone access. Once granted, you'll also be asked to allow use of your device's camera content. (This will give you the ability to switch from rear-facing to front-facing camera views). 

STEP TWO: Next, switch the camera setting to "Live." (You won't automatically go live after selecting this). Choose your privacy/posting settings. This is where you'll select the audience for your video and draft a description. 

Pro tip: Nervous about going live for the first time? Select "Only Me" as the audience. This will keep your video private so you can get a feel for the process. 

When writing your video description, be sure to keep it short and compelling. An ideal video headline is something that accurately describes the content, while still grabbing your audience's attention. 

STEP THREE: Next, tag friends, select your location, and/or assign an activity to the video. Filling out these details helps to give more context and personalize your content and increase the likelihood that your audience will want to watch. 

STEP FOUR: Select camera view. Before tapping the "Start Live Video" button, ensure that your camera orientation is correct. Will you broadcast with the front-facing or rear-facing lens? Will you shoot horizontally or vertically? 

Pro tip: If possible, try to always shoot horizontally, and avoid switching between vertical and horizontal shots. 

STEP FIVE: Add a filter, apply special lenses, and/or draw on your video. Icons at the bottom of your screen will allow you to edit the appearance of your video. Available features will depend on your version of the Facebook app being used. 

STEP SIX: Tap the "Start Live Video" button to begin broadcasting. Take a deep breath and begin! Once selected, you'll see a "3, 2, 1" countdown. After your broadcast has begun, your Page followers will be notified that you've gone live, and the video will appear in your News Feed like any other post. 

STEP SEVEN: Once you're finished with your broadcast, select the "Finish" button. After the live video has wrapped, it will drop onto your timeline and be stored like any other video post. 

STEP EIGHT: Edit your video to add captions and make sure the "Autoplay" option is checked. This will ensure your video begins automatically and has captions displayed when someone is scrolling through their News Feed. 

Pro tip: Keep in mind that you can always return to your video to edit the description, change privacy settings, or delete the content entirely. 

Broadcasting from your Desktop

If you're an Admin or Editor of your business's Facebook Page, you have the ability to broadcast from your desktop computer. This method can be valuable for producing videos with slightly higher production value. To broadcast from a desktop computer, follow the steps below:

STEP ONE: Navigate to your business's Facebook Page and select the "Write something" box. Tap the "See All" button, then select "Start a Live Video." Just like broadcasting from your mobile device, if you haven't already done so, you will be prompted to grant access to your computer's microphone and camera. 

STEP TWO: Write a compelling description, then select "Next." 

STEP THREE: Select "Go Live" to begin your live broadcast. You'll see a "3, 2, 1" countdown, then transmission will begin. 

STEP FOUR: Once finished, select the "Finish" button to end broadcasting. Don't forget to review your video to ensure the description is attention-grabbing and accurate. 

Pro tip: Want your video to gain more views? Consider pinning it to your page. This will keep it at the top so your visitors see this content first. 

Best Practices: Facebook Live

TIP #1: Don't ignore your viewers. Interact with the audience, and be sure to answer any questions they send. Keep in mind that comments and questions will appear in reverse chronological order, so the earliest submitted can be found at the bottom. 

Pro tip: Is your audience shy? Ask them questions! Ask people where they're viewing from, request suggestions for content, or ask them to submit their questions on the topic you're covering. People want to feel included, so acknowledge their questions and comments. 

Pro tip: Are you receiving problematic questions or comments? Keep in mind that if necessary, you can block viewers during a live broadcast. To do this, tap the profile picture next to their comment or question and select "Block." 

TIP #2: Without analyzing the performance of your live video, you're missing out on a huge wealth of information. To access video analytics, navigate to the "Insights" tab at the top of your business's Facebook Page, then select "Videos" on the lefthand sidebar. From here, you can view your "Top Videos," or check out the "Video Library" to view metrics on any video posted by your Page. Available metrics for live videos include: 

  • Minutes viewed
  • 10-second views
  • Average % completion
  • Reactions/comments/shares
  • Unique viewers
  • Peak live viewers
  • Average watch time
  • People reached
  • Total views
  • Demographic breakdown of viewers

Clicking into each metric will show you how each element changed while you were broadcasting. This can help you assess where most people joined, where you lost most viewers, and many other insights. Understanding these metrics will provide hugely valuable insights into your audience. 

TIP #3: Maintain a good content mix. As with any other type of content, you don't want to bombard your audience with ONLY live video. Be sure to space out your live video with other types of content (articles, polls, standard video, shared content, etc.) mixed in. 

TIP #4: While broadcasting, don't assume everyone joined from the beginning. Periodically reintroduce yourself and briefly recap the topic(s) you're focusing on. 

TIP #5: Mistakes are natural, so don't be hard on yourself! Unlike previously recorded videos, people don't watch live video for a highly produced experience. They want to feel like they're getting access to information or experiences they wouldn't normally get to see. Because of this, an informal approach is best. Keep it professional, but talk to the camera like you would a friend. 

TIP #6: Don't forget your CTA! At the end of your video, be sure to include a call-to-action. What do you want viewers to do? Subscribe? Share? Ask questions? Let them know! If viewers love your content but you're not leaving them with further instruction, you're missing out on a huge opportunity. 

TIP #7: Keep it casual, but have a plan! Before broadcasting, outline the key details of what you plan to discuss. You don't need a full script, but by planning ahead, you'll avoid feeling flustered or caught off guard later. 

TIP #8: Figuring out how long to broadcast will take some experimentation on your part to learn what your audience prefers, but a good rule of thumb is to start with a 10-minute broadcast. 

Did you know? The maximum amount of time you can broadcast is a full four hours.

TIP #9: Not sure what to broadcast? Ask your audience! By involving them in the decision, they'll feel more inclined to tune in. For additional ideas on what to cover, check out our list below. 

TIP #10: Make it easy for viewers to check out your other live videos. Once you've completed your broadcast, drop a trackable link (we recommend Bitly) into your description. Possible relevant link destinations include your live video page where viewers can check out your other live content, or an article or other resource mentioned during your broadcast. 

TIP #11: Build anticipation before broadcasting! In the days leading up to your broadcast, tease the video with posts on Facebook and ask your audience to "like" and "follow" so they don't miss your updates. 

TIP #12: If you don't have a strong connection (or at least a 4G connection), it's probably best not to broadcast. A glitchy connection will have viewers dropping out left and right. 

What to Broadcast: Facebook Live

  • Q&A
  • Company news or updates
  • Interviews with staff or industry experts
  • Showcase your skills
  • Announce new products or services
  • Client features
  • Industry topics
  • Event coverage
  • Office tours
  • Product demo/unboxing
  • Share employment opportunities

That's it! We hope you now feel confident and ready to start broadcasting live. If you'd like to know more about how to implement Facebook Live as part of your marketing approach, get in touch with us, we'd love to help!

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