Now that you know exactly how to go live, here are 10 tips and best practices for you to really get the most out of your streaming experience.
1. Plan your broadcast
As former US President Dwight Eisenhower once said, “Plans are worthless, but planning is essential.”
Broadcasting live means you can’t predict what’s going to happen. But that doesn’t mean you should just wing it.
Like any type of content online, a Facebook Live broadcast should have a purpose.
Before you begin Facebook streaming, take some time to think about what your broadcast is about, what you want to say (or do) in it, and why it makes sense as a Facebook Live stream as opposed to some other format of content.
Prepare a list of talking points to have on hand. You may never need them, but they can save your broadcast if you suddenly freeze once the camera’s on, or if you hit a lull in your conversation with a guest.
2. Be yourself
While viewers expect social video to be polished, audiences often enjoy the opposite in Facebook Live video.
Production value tends to be less professional and more raw, which many viewers perceive as more authentic.
“With so much competing noise on social, content can often come across as an advertisement,” said Hootsuite’s social media marketing manager, Amanda Wood. “Facebook Live gives insight into the brand personality and culture.”
“The appeal of Facebook Live is its unedited and raw nature,” adds Hootsuite’s former social media marketing coordinator, Christine Colling. “Your audience is much more forgiving here.”
3. Notify followers in advance
Let people know about your live stream in advance with teaser posts on Facebook and other networks.
Facebook says letting your audience know about your live stream in advance “builds anticipation.” Be sure to also ask viewers to subscribe to Live notifications so they will always know when you go live. All they have to do is click the Follow button at the bottom of your Facebook Live video.
4. Check your Internet connection and equipment
It’s important to make sure you have a strong signal before you begin broadcasting. While WiFi is ideal, if it’s unavailable, a 4G connection works well.
You should also check your equipment in advance. Try setting your Facebook Live audience to Only Me to preview how well your lighting and sound equipment is working before sharing the video with your fans.
On that note, while you can go live with nothing more than your mobile phone or computer, the Hootsuite team recommends the following equipment:
- External microphones, especially for interviews. If you’re alone, you can use the built-in microphone on your earbuds.
- A tripod to ensure a steady shot. If you don’t have one, you can simply prop your device up against some books or a wall.
5. Write a compelling description of your video
Your description tells people what your video is about. A good one captures the audience’s attention and a bad one—or worse, none at all—makes it all the more likely they’ll keep on scrolling.
Use your description to tell a story. Give context about what your broadcast is about and be sure to make it clear why people would want to watch.
6. Tag other people and your location
Leverage the tag options for your Facebook Live video to increase your chances being discovered by new viewers and building engagement.
For example, if you’re interviewing an industry influencer in your Facebook Live stream, tag them in the video.
When you do, they’ll show up in their followers newsfeeds — increasing your video’s reach and drawing in new audiences.
Also, when you tag your location, you personalize your post by letting audiences know where you are and what you’re up to. For example, you might be at an industry conference. Let your audience know that! It provides context for your Facebook Live.
7. Remember people might join part-way through
Not everyone will join your live stream right away. Facebook says they prioritize videos more than three minutes long “that inspire people to continue watching.”
So don’t be afraid to make your video a little longer. Give your video a great intro, and don’t try to cram everything into the first couple of minutes, since some people might miss what you say.
If you’re interviewing another person, a classic radio interview technique can help create context for people who join your live video in progress. Every so often, say your guest’s name at the start of a question to let viewers know who you’re talking to without disrupting the flow of the conversation.
A brand watermark or branded background can also help make sure people have some context for what they’re watching as soon as they join your live stream.
This is another reason why it’s important to write a compelling and informative description of your video, and also leverage the tagging features mentioned before.
8. Engage with your audience
As with any kind of social content, engagement is key on Facebook Live video. Facebook recommends saying hello to commenters by name, then responding to their comments.
It can be tricky to keep up with audience comments if you’re the one hosting the video. If possible, assign someone to respond to comments as they come in, so you can focus on speaking. This person can let you know if there’s a question you should answer live, or can point people to relevant resources in the comments.
Think about what resources you might need in advance so you can have a list at your fingertips as the questions start to come in.
To encourage engagement, try pinning a comment that asks viewers a question relevant to your video content. Just write your comment, post it, then tap it and tap Pin this Comment.
9. Reuse your work
Your live video remains visible on Facebook after it ends. But you should consider editing it into one or more shorter videos that highlight certain key points or great moments.
You can then share these as regular Facebook videos, or post them to other social networks. This ensures you reach people on the platforms they use, rather than forcing them to come to you.
That said, when you share your video on other platforms, you can mention that the content comes from a Facebook Live stream and encourage fans to follow you on Facebook or sign up for Live video notifications if they want to be the first to see your new live video content .
10. Go live on a regular schedule
The Facebook algorithm considers “how frequently viewers return to watch your content and how many you retain on a weekly basis.”
That means broadcasting live on a regular schedule will encourage viewers to return regularly, since they know what to expect from you and when.