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A beginner’s guide to Facebook Live

With over 2.20 billion monthly active Facebook users, Facebook has the largest potential reach of all social media platforms. Over the years, Facebook have released numerous tools and features to help business’ to connect with their audience. One of these features is Facebook Live, which allows users to broadcast video live from their smartphone.


Facebook Live may seem like a daunting prospect, particularly if you’re camera shy or have little experience in creating video content. However, broadcasting live on Facebook allows business’ to connect with their audience in a whole new way; forming new relationships and strengthening existing ones. Therefore, it should not be dismissed as part of a social strategy.

The bottom line is, if you’ve not tried going live on Facebook you’re missing out, and we’ll explain why.

IT ENCOURAGES REAL-TIME ENGAGEMENT

Engaging with your audience in real-time means that they can ask you questions that you can answer then and there. Users can comment on your video, and you can respond directly to them on camera as and when they appear. This makes it really easy for you to host a live Q&A, where you can give your viewers more insight into your business, your company values and your products.

YOU CAN EXPRESS YOUR BRAND’S PERSONALITY

Interacting with your audience live on camera gives you the opportunity to show off your brand’s personality, which gives you an advantage over your competitors. Showing you’re a normal person just like everyone else gives your brand a human element, so your customers can connect with you on a more personal level. Be humble, be yourself and you’ll make a lasting impression.

IT DEFEATS THE ALGORITHM

If you post on Facebook regularly (if you don’t, you should), you may be aware of the pesky algorithm that affects the way users see your posts. Unless you put money behind your posts, or you create a piece of content that goes viral, it’s increasingly difficult to get your posts seen by the right people organically.

However, the Facebook algorithm loves video, and in particular live video. So much in fact that if you broadcast a Facebook Live it’s more likely to go to the top of the newsfeed where it will be seen by more users. The more interactions you get in terms of comments, likes and shares, the more likely your video is to be seen as long as the content is meaningful.

IT DRIVES TRAFFIC

Facebook Live is a proven way to drive traffic to your Facebook page and your website. If your audience like what they see, they’re likely to check you out to find out more. If you carry it off well, you may see a few sales off the back of it!

YOU CAN CREATE A BUZZ AROUND PRODUCT RELEASES

Facebook Live is fantastic tool for creating a buzz around new product releases. Whether you’re giving a sneak peak of the products or presenting your whole range, by filming it live you’re able to make your viewers feel a part of something special and exclusive.

Your audience will tune into your broadcast not knowing what to expect, which creates more excitement around your new products. If you inform your followers about your release video ahead of time and countdown to it, you’ll create a hype around it.

If you can make the release videos a regular thing, you can encourage customer loyalty. If your customers like your products, it’s likely they’ll keep coming back for more.

IT’S EASY CONTENT CREATION ON A BUDGET

You don’t need any fancy equipment, props or editing software to film a successful Facebook Live. All you need is a smartphone and ideally, a tripod and microphone. You don’t need to spend hours editing it like you usually would with video content. Viewers actually appreciate the raw, uncut nature of Facebook Live. It makes a change from the  highly-edited, polished marketing material users are used to seeing.

As we discussed earlier, it’s also quite difficult to get your content seen by the right people without putting some money behind it. But with live video, exposure comes naturally as long as the content is valuable.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

If you want to get started with Facebook Live, then here’s what you’ll need:

  • A smartphone
  • A tripod – you don’t have to get a tripod, want to avoid making your viewers dizzy with a shaky camera, especially if you’re doing a sit-down video. It’s also easier to get your desired camera angle with a tripod. They’re fairly cheap and it’s worth the small investment.
  • A microphone – you don’t have to get a microphone, however, it’s a good idea to get one as you can use it for any video content. If you’re broadcasting from a room with lots of background noise, having a microphone ensures your voice is the main focus. You can get external microphones with different adapter cables, so have a look online and you’ll be able to find one for the smartphone model you have.
    A strong internet connection – A good Wifi connection or 4G signal will ensure your video is good quality and prevents it from cutting out half-way through.
  • A phone charger – ensure your phone is fully charged before going live. It’s good to have a charger or battery pack at hand too as broadcasting is quite draining on your battery life.
  • Good lighting – whether that’s natural light or a well lit room, good lighting is essential.

Of course, it’s possible to do a Facebook live with a smartphone at the bare minumum. However, if you want to make your broadcasts a regular occurrence, then bumping up the production a little will score you points with your audience.

TOP TIPS FOR GETTING STARTED

Now you know what equipment you’ll need, it’s time to get started.

PREPARATION IS KEY

Ok, sometimes going live on Facebook is a spur of the moment thing. However, for videos planned ahead of time we recommend you put some preparation into it, to avoid stumbling on your words or losing your train of thought.

Creating a plan for what you’ll talk about will give your video a little more structure, and it prevents you from forgetting key points. Write down a few bullet points on a piece of paper and have it in front of you during the live so you can refer back to it if you get stuck.

CHOOSE A TIME FOR YOUR FACEBOOK LIVE WHEN YOUR AUDIENCE ARE MOST ACTIVE

There’s no point going live at 3pm if the majority of your potential customers are at school or work. You’ll barely reach anyone or get any interaction, so it will be time wasted. Take a step back and figure out when your target market are the most active on social media to ensure you get as many viewers as possible.

TELL YOUR AUDIENCE WHEN YOU’RE BROADCASTING AHEAD OF TIME

Create a buzz by telling your followers when you’re going live in advance. At least a days notice will give your followers enough time to prepare for it. Post reminders where you can across each of your social media channels.

Of course Facebook Live can be spontaneous, and in this situation you won’t get chance to build up to the broadcast. However, if you have pre-prepared your live, it’s best to tell your followers sooner rather than later.

DON’T SAY ANYTHING IMPORTANT IN THE FIRST 2-3 MINUTES

It takes a good few minutes for users to tune into your Facebook Live video, so you want to avoid saying anything important in the first 2-3 minutes. Introduce yourself and make a bit of light chit-chat  just to ease yourself into it before the main bulk of your audience tune in.

It’s common for users to tune in half-way through your video too. So if you notice a sudden influx of viewers it’s a good idea to briefly re-cap what you’ve already said just to bring them up to speed.

TRY AND GO LIVE FOR AT LEAST 10 MINUTES

Facebook recommend going live for at least 10 minutes to maximise exposure. The longer you broadcast, the more likely your video will be discovered. However, try and keep it to around an hour as you don’t want it to go on too long – people will lose interest.

GRAB ATTENTION WITH YOUR CAPTION

Come up with a punchy caption that entices users to watch your video. Give a little context, but don’t give away too much as you want them to watch the video to find out more.

POST THE FULL RECORDED VERSION AFTERWARDS

As soon as you’ve stopped recording, Facebook gives you the option to upload the finished video to your page. This means any followers who missed the live can still watch it afterwards.

Keep in mind that not everyone will be able to watch your video live, so whenever you answer questions make sure you read the full question out before you answer it for clarity and context.

IT’S TIME TO GO LIVE!

So there we have it, everything a beginner’s guide to Facebook Live.

Don’t worry if you’re feeling nervous or apprehensive. I’ve filmed Facebook Live videos myself and I can assure you I was terrified leading up to the first one. However, it’s actually quite fun interacting with your audience in a different way, and it doesn’t feel as weird talking to a camera as you’d think when you start seeing the questions coming in.

If you’re still not convinced you can do it, try filming with someone else. This way won’t feel as uncomfortable because you can conversate and bounce off one another.

Either way, you have nothing to lose so just bite the bullet and give it a go! Have fun with it and use it as an opportunity to interact with your potential customers.

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