Couple using Facebook Live on a phone

Facebook Live – What is it and how do you get the most out of it?

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If you’re on Facebook, you’ve probably already received a notice or two that a friend, cousin or brand you follow is hosting a ‘live’ event. What does this mean?

Going ‘live’ on Facebook means that a person or group is broadcasting live video. The video can be of anything from an official announcement (like a press conference or new product release) to a rugby match or a family event.

Regardless of the content, live video is one of the hottest trends in social media for both individuals and businesses. In fact, going ‘live’ can be a great way to generate interest among your followers – and when used effectively, it can build loyalty, help answer questions or share announcements with your customers.

With that in mind, let’s take a brief look at Facebook Live and how you can use it to your advantage.

What is Facebook Live?

Introduced in 2016, Facebook Live allows you to create and share live-stream video. This is different than just posting a video on your page (though that’s good, too) because those videos are pre-recorded. However, once you create and share a live video on Facebook, it will remain in your News Feed as a viewable “post” unless you decide to delete it.

(Note: Not to be outdone, Twitter and Instagram have also added “live” options, and Periscope is a site completely dedicated to sharing live video, so if Facebook’s not your thing, you have other choices.)

How it works

With Facebook Live, you can broadcast video directly from a smartphone or tablet. Friends and followers can “tune in” and see your broadcast at the appointed time.

Here’s a list of the steps:

  1. Log into your Facebook account on your mobile device.
  2. Open the status bar like you were going to write a post.
  3. Click the “Live video” icon.
  4. Allow Facebook access to your camera and microphone (this should only show up the first time you test it out).
  5. Choose a privacy level. It’s best to choose “Only Me” first just to try things out! Once you get the hang of it, you can go public. Scroll to the bottom to find this setting.
  6. Add a description/title. This is optional, but the title will appear in your News Feed later, so be sure to help your viewers understand what you’re showing.
  7. Aim your camera at what you want to film.
  8. Hit the blue “Go Live” button to begin. As soon as you begin filming, your video will appear in your News Feed just like any post (providing you’ve changed your privacy setting back to ‘public’ after testing). Once you’re done, click “Finish” to stop recording.

Once you’re live, you can take and respond to comments from viewers if you choose. And just like other Facebook posts, you can delete the file if you want to remove it from your News Feed.

Tips for using Facebook Live in your marketing

Facebook Live is easy to use, but to get the most out of it, it’s best to plan ahead. Here are some tips for getting the most out of Facebook Live:

  1. Create a strategy
    Think about ways to use live video that would help inform and engage your followers. Have a new product to share? Would a customer testimonial or interview with a member of your team be live-worthy? Put together a plan for how to use live video as part of your overall social media strategy.Also, think about how long your live video will be. Will people stick around for an hour-long event, or do you need to keep things short, sweet and focused? Long events that do well are seminars, roundtables, and training sessions.
  2. Rehearse
    BE SURE to try the process out before you go public! Yes, there may be a few surprises with a live broadcast and things may not be perfect, but nothing says “amateur night” like a shaky camera or long, awkward pauses. Your audience is likely to leave.
  3. Give notice
    Facebook will automatically notify fans when you’re live, but it’s best to let people know in advance what you’re doing and what your event will be about so that you have as many people watching as possible when you broadcast. Consider sending an email prior to the event or posting advance notices on Facebook for a few days before your event.
  4. Or be spontaneous
    Giving notice when you will do a live event can help attract a larger audience, but spontaneity can be good too! Once you have some experience going live, look for opportunities to do a quick spontaneous video. Something fun or unusual happening at the office, an interesting site out in the field, a quick tutorial showing how to use the product in real life, etc. These are great opportunities to really engage with your customer base.
  5. Engage
    One thing that makes live video so interesting is that viewers can immediately request and receive information. For example, if you’re presenting a new product, you have the chance to answer questions about how it works and get feedback from viewers on the spot. Get your viewers involved and make it worth their while to tune in.

Need help incorporating live video into your overall marketing strategy? Contact Breathe Marketing today.


Anna Nixon-Smith

All stories by: Anna Nixon-Smith