How to Create a Facebook Live Video: Nuts and Bolts
What’s the buzz about Facebook Live?
Why are marketing professionals and small business owners so excited about Facebook Live? Maybe you’ve asked yourself: “Is it all hype?” Is Facebook Live one more technological fad that will pass away as soon as a better innovation becomes available?
To get to the bottom of this question, I did my own research about Facebook Live. I also spoke to Townsquared Expert, Chris Guillot, about the way she’s used Facebook’s live video feature for her business, Merchant Method. Beyond any of the hype, here are the nuts and bolts of Facebook Live:
Facebook Live is a live video streaming service that lets anyone broadcast live videos from a mobile device straight to their Facebook News Feed. The advantage of Facebook Live for small business owners is that they can use the power of live video to communicate their stories and build authentic, intimate relationships with their customers.
Facebook Live is one way of generating Facebook engagement, and it’s extremely cost-effective. Recording video in a studio can be expensive and time-consuming. The opportunity to create digital content immediately, with a tool that most people already have, is an amazing resource for small business owners. With Facebook Live, you can reach your target audience with the smartphone in your pocket, at little to no cost. Plus, once you’ve created your live-streaming video, it lives in your Facebook News Feed for as long as you want it to.
How can I use Facebook Live for my business?
Chris Guillot is an independent retail consultant in Seattle who specializes in coaching business owners, high-level executives, and creative entrepreneurs in need of stronger, more efficient operational strategies. In her business, Merchant Method, Chris focuses on product-based businesses, including retail stores, e-commerce platforms and small-batch manufacturers.
When I asked Chris about her experience using Facebook Live, she told me that she’d been considering sharing trend reports for her audience of independently-owned retailers for over a year. Chris wanted to highlight product-based trends that were pertinent to independent retailers. She knew that live video had the potential to be more forgiving than recorded video, because the audience doesn’t expect the content to be edited or perfect. With her own mini-tripod for iPhone, she imagined creating a mini-scene; since 2016, Chris has created 24 trend reports using Facebook Live. She considers her decision to use Facebook Live as one of the best decisions she made for her business last year.
For years, Chris was reading industry reports and, “had a lot to say about them.” But she wasn’t able to share that knowledge immediately, and with all of her clients at the same time. Now, her industry trend reports air every Tuesday at 2pm. Because Facebook Live allows you to capture and save your live streaming content, Chris is able to cross-post the trend reports she creates every week. All of the content she creates using Facebook Live lives on her website, in addition to YouTube, her Facebook Feed, and other social media channels. A recent trend report, aired on Facebook Live on Tuesday, April 26th, is titled: “Learn Why Shoplifting Happens and How You Can Prevent It.” This trend report now exists as a resource on Merchant Method’s website that Chris can point her clients (and potential clients) to.
Chris told me she’s not concerned about her live audience viewership, or the number of people watching her trend reports at the same time she is creating them, every Tuesday at 2pm. She cares more about the value of the content that she’s creating than the format that’s being used to create it (which is a good rule of thumb for all social media content creation). Her decision to use Facebook Live was primarily based on her ability to utilize the content she creates with Facebook Live elsewhere.
Equally important is the technical aspect of creating Facebook Live videos. Chris uses a tripod that has a cell phone adapter and records on her cellphone. (Facebook Live’s technology was created to be used only on smartphones, although there are third party apps available now that can be downloaded to use Facebook Live on a desktop computer). She uses a lavalier microphone, a microphone that attaches to your lapel and plugs into your cell phone. Sometimes she creates a reflector with a white, foam core board to improve the lighting. And occasionally, is she’s traveling, she uses a selfie stick to record her videos if she’s traveling.
Chris’ advice for anyone considering Facebook Live for their business is to consider not just their goals or measurables, but who their audience is. How is your audience likely to watch your content?
Tips for using Facebook Live
Although the premise is pretty simple – record on your mobile device, and a real time video shows up on your Facebook News Feed – there are ways to maximize your reach and impact using Facebook Live.
1. Chris told me that many internet marketers create anticipation about when they are going live. Tell people ahead of time when you’re going to broadcast. This will give your fans time to tune in. You may want to use other outlets for outreach, alerting social media followers on other channels. Or send an email to your mailing list with the date and time of your broadcast.
2. Using your outreach channels, pitch what your broadcast is about and include a description of the topic of your video before going Live. Like Chris, you could plan weekly content, and let your fans and followers know what your next week’s topic is in the previous video.
3. Check your cell service or internet connection before going Live. Wifi tends to work better, but if you can’t connect to a nearby network, you’ll want a 4G connection. If you have weak service, the “Go Live” button will be grayed out and you won’t be able to tap on it.
4. Ask your customers to follow you so that they’ll receive notifications when you go Live. If your audience taps on the ‘Follow’ button on a Live videos, or videos that were Live, it will opt them into receiving notifications the next time you are Live on Facebook. If the content you are providing is valuable, your audience won’t want to miss out on it next time.
5. Broadcasting for longer periods of time allows you to reach more people. The longer you are Live, the more likely people will see that you are broadcasting. You can go Live for up to 90 minutes, but it is recommended that you broadcast for at least 10 minutes. This makes more sense if you are live streaming an event, but if you’re planning a series of live broadcast, like Chris has done with her Tip Tuesdays series, consistency makes more sense than the length of your broadcast.
6. Be creative, and go Live often! Try different types of broadcasts – and go live frequently – to keep your audience engaged. Maybe you will create a series that makes sense for your audience, like Chris did. Or you will reserve live videos for special events, so that your followers and customers will be more likely to attend your next event.
How do I create a live recording using Facebook Live?
Download the Facebook Business App to your mobile device. In the App store, it’s called “Pages” and displays as white with an orange flag. This application lets you access any Facebook business pages that you manage on your smartphone and use Facebook Live on that business page(s).
Go Live Using Facebook for iOS
First, tap “What’s on your mind?” at the top of your News Feed. Next, tap “Live Video.” Write an optional description for your broadcast. Tap “Go Live” to begin your broadcast. Tap “Finish” when you want to end your broadcast.
Go Live Using Facebook for Android
First, tap “What’s on your mind?” at the top of your News Feed. Next, tap “Go Live.” Write an optional description for your broadcast. Tap “Go Live” to begin your broadcast. Tap “Finish” when you want to end your broadcast.
During your broadcast, you’ll see the number of viewers, the names of other verified People or Pages who are tuning in, and a real-time stream of comments. You can go Live in a group or event by tapping “Write Something” or “Say Something” and then by tapping the Live icon. You can block viewers during a live broadcast by tapping the profile picture next to a viewer’s comment and then tapping Block. You can also unblock someone that you’ve previously blocked.
Although Facebook Live is still relatively new, its viewership is growing rapidly, as more and more brands begin to broadcast. Brightcove statistics indicate that social video generates 1,200 percent more shares than do images and text, combined. The technology offers a range of possibilities for small businesses. If you’ve worked hard to build a Facebook following, you can leverage that network by using Facebook Live to reach them. The technology of the world’s most influential social media site is easily harnessed by entrepreneurs through Facebook Live, and a piece of their influence is harvested by savvy professionals who are willing to experiment with unique ways to share stories and engage with a market primed for your fingertips.
Curious about the nuts and bolts of creating a podcast? Check out our how-to article on leveraging a podcasting platform to reach a different audience of fans and followers.