I started regular Facebook Live broadcasts back in March. It took me a while to get comfortable with the idea of live video but my weekly ‘Digital Coffee’ show is something I almost look forward to now.
It’s hard work for me to get interaction on my Facebook posts these days. I do get Likes but comments are less frequent and I, like many others have seen my reach take a dive over recent months. The one thing that works for me, every week, is my live broadcasts. I’m beginning to build a regular, interactive audience.
My broadcasts aren’t perfect but I think it’s the very haphazard nature of live streaming that keeps people watching. I have managed to pick up some tips over the last 6 months and it’s those tips I’m going to share with you today.
Read more about Facebook Live:
- Facebook Live v Uploaded Video – Is The Honeymoon Over for Facebook Live?
- How To Download Your Facebook Live And Make Content Babies
- How To Use Facebook Live To Drive Traffic To Your Blog
- Could Facebook Live For Groups Keep Your Group Alive?
- 5 Quick Easy Facebook Live Tips That You’ll Wish You’d Tried Sooner
Watch below for a 1-minute blast of Facebook Live tips
What are you going to talk about?
If you want to be successful don’t just go live for the sake of it, have a plan. Are you going to run a weekly news show? A demo? Do you want to show off your office, your co-workers? Is there someone you can interview?
Once you’ve decided rehearse, do a run through of what you are going to say and do.
When you start broadcasting Facebook will build an audience for you, it will push your stream out to the people who like your page and others can discover you via the Facebook Live map. If you want a regular and interested audience you’ll need to promote it yourself too.
Give your audience some notice. Post about your broadcast on your page the day before, an hour before. Tell people on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.
Here’s what I do:
My broadcast is on Friday mornings 9.30am Irish Time (Subscribe to my event feed here if you want a reminder).
- Set up a Facebook event to start gathering an audience. Closer to broadcast time I can post to this event. Those who are invited or who have RSVP’d get a notification when I do this, reminding them to tune in.
- Invite interested friends to the event
- Share the Facebook event with my Small Business Bloggers group and on my personal Facebook Timeline.
- Share the event on Twitter and schedule tweets for later on Wednesday, twice on Thursday, 1 hour before broadcast and 10 minutes before broadcast. I use the #facebooklive tag when sharing.
Part of my Facebook Live includes a whiteboard, I draw prompts for the topics I will discuss on it.
- Share photo of whiteboard with text overlay on Instagram
- Update event cover photo to include new whiteboard photograph
- Post on event page 1 hour before broadcast
- Post on event page 10 minutes before broadcast tagging my Facebook page so people know where to go to watch
- Update video thumbnail image, video title and description
- Share link to broadcast on Twitter tagging anyone I mentioned
There are a few things you’ll need to test before you go live:
1. Internet connection
Find a spot with strong internet connection for your broadcast. If you have a test page (and if you don’t why don’t you?) try a test broadcast, is your internet connection strong enough to carry the live stream?
2. Find a position for your phone
Holding your phone at arms length is painful, particularly if you have to hold that position for longer than a few minutes.
If you have a tripod you can get an attachment to hold your phone. Here’s the one I have.*
It expands to hold most phones.
If you don’t’ have a tripod a selfie stick can help, I use one of these when I’m out and about broadcasting. It puts distance between me and the camera and I can hold it steady between my legs leaving my hands free for props.
If you don’t have either of these just lean your phone against a pile of books or on a shelf.
3. Check the lights
We’re heading into winter here in Ireland and soon even daylight won’t be enough to illuminate me for my broadcasts. You don’t always need specialist lighting equipment, you can use desk lamps or large windows. I have a portable light* that adds a final glow to my videos.
If you are broadcasting from inside your office the microphone on your phone is probably sufficient. If you are going outside you’ll need something else.
When I broadcast an episode of Digital Coffee from Dublin I used my headphones as a microphone, it helps cut out background noise.
Make a test recording before you go live to test the sound quality.
I’m used to making video I can mess with, that I can edit and add captions to. When I first started experimenting with live I wondered how I could make it interesting if I couldn’t cut or edit
The answer for me was props. I have my whiteboard, a coffee cup, an iPad and a few other visual cues. These make a live broadcast of me talking to the camera for 1/2 an hour a little more visually interesting.
This has been bothering me, I’ve been struggling to find the right backdrop for my videos. I used to sit down to present and had a screen in the background displaying my logo. This looked kinda cool but the lighting was an issue. My phone always wanted to expose for the screen leaving me a dark blob in the middle of the screen.
Now I stand up for my broadcasts and I use a corner of my office as a backdrop, I’m still looking for something more innovative but the office backdrop seems fitting for a small business broadcast.
Look around your spaces, is there somewhere that represents you and your business well? Try a few different backgrounds and choose the one that looks best.
7. Prepare yourself
10 minutes before broadcast, just after I’ve updated the event page for the last time you’ll find me dancing around in front of my phone. This is me warming up. If I’m going to hold your attention for 1/2 an hour I’ll need energy. Dancing helps banish my sleepiness and nerves.
8. Have some filler content
It takes a while for Facebook to get your audience to you. For the first minute you could be talking to yourself or a very small audience. Plan for this, don’t dive straight into your most valuable content, build up to it.
I talk about the week in the office and what I’m drinking, it is a digital coffee morning after all.
9. Welcome viewers
Welcome people as they join. You can see when your friends are watching but you’ll need to encourage others to leave a comment so you can see who they are. Ask a question. In my case, it’s what are you drinking? Tea? Coffee? But it doesn’t have to be that specific. You could ask them to confirm they can hear and see you or get them to tell you where in the world they are tuning in from.
When you have finished broadcasting you can make limited edits to your video.
- Change the thumbnail
- Change the description
- Give your video a title
To edit click the down arrow to the top right-hand side of the post and select ‘edit’ from the drop-down menu (see below).
Do you use Facebook Live? Do you have any tips to share? Who are your favourite broadcasters?
*Affiliate link, I get a small cut of sales if you buy after clicking this link.