Over the last couple of years, social media platforms have made a not-insignificant foray into the world of live video broadcast. Perhaps you are familiar with live streaming tools like Periscope and Meerkat. A new name to familiarize yourself with is Facebook Live, which is important for the obvious reason: It’s Facebook’s built in live streaming tool, and as such it immediately provides an important content distribution outlet for marketers and small business owners everywhere.
In fact, all signs point to this as being a centerpiece of Facebook’s brand vision – right down to reports suggesting that Live videos are prioritized in newsfeeds. Even beyond that, though, live video offers brands a great way to remove barriers between themselves and their customers; to speak directly and casually, offering insight, thought leadership or simply a human face.
But what do you need to know about using Facebook Live? What are some of the best practices? Well, lucky you: Facebook has offered its own list of best practices, and most of them are no-brainers. Make sure you have a good internet connection. Respond to live commenters if you can, using their names if possible. Broadcast for 10 minutes or more. And make it clear when the broadcast is over; come up with some kind of a sign-off message.
Beyond that, I’ve got a few more best practices to suggest – again, mostly common-sense kind of stuff, but hopefully still useful for anyone who’s just getting started with live streaming.
(To learn more about how to start a stream, see Facebook's instructions.)
Have an actual purpose for your live stream.
You know what the worst reason to use Facebook Live is? Because it’s there. If you go into a live stream without a clear purpose, you’re going to frustrate viewers and probably look a little silly in the process. At the very least it will be a waste of your valuable time, so have a clear sense of the message you want to share and the result you hope to achieve before deciding to hit the live button.
None of your marketing channels exist in a vacuum, and Facebook Live is no exception. Use it in correlation with your other venues. Use the Facebook page – or even other social media sites – to promote an upcoming stream. And while streaming, make mention of relevant blogs or other resources that your viewers might seek out.
One of the great benefits of Facebook Live is that it lets you show viewers the people behind the brand—to make it feel personal and not just like a faceless corporate entity. Allow yourself to have some fun and to be spontaneous in your stream, then; plan it, but also be willing to roll with some spontaneous comments, to laugh, and to be yourself.
Pick the right environment for streaming.
First and foremost, make it somewhere quiet. Also, though, think about what’s in the background. For personal security reasons, you may not want to stream from your own home. Pick a good, non-distracting environment in your office, and stream there – or, invest in some kind of a branded backdrop you can set behind you.
Most important of all, perhaps: Don’t make it all about you. Make the stream something your visitors will enjoy. Take some live Q&A questions. Address some comments people have e-mailed or left on your blog. Demonstrate a new product. Do something that people will care about – people other than you!
With these tips in mind, you’re ready to start experimenting – and see how this video thing works for your brand.
Do you have any additional tips? Please post them in the comments!