By Stephanie Abrams Cartin & Courtney Spritzer, Socialflyny.com
Live video has become a huge part of our online culture in this year alone. A platform once open only to celebrities and journalists, Facebook Live is now a live streaming service available to the masses. Some once unknown users have quickly become household names thanks to Facebook Live skyrocketing them to fame. Diamond Reynolds’ live stream went viral after she recorded live footage from her car immediately after her boyfriend was shot by a police officer during a routine traffic stop. Candace Payne, more commonly known now as Chewbacca Mom, also has Facebook Live to thank for her fame. Whether used for good-natured humor or to highlight the tragedies happening in our world today, Facebook Live has quickly grown as a tool used by many for a range of reasons.
With so much happening in our news feeds from so many different outlets, how can brands cut through the chatter to make their Facebook Live video worthy enough for a user to stop their endless scrolling? Companies have a great deal to consider before diving headfirst and clicking that daunting “Go Live” button. Our list of tips below can help you master the platform before you even step foot in front of your iPhone camera.
- Have a game plan.
Before you even think to begin recording, it would be wise to go into your stream with a game plan. Now, the video doesn’t have to be scripted necessarily — in fact — this could actually take away from the stream feeling natural, but creating an outline of talking points and reading them over ahead of time can get you in the right headspace for recording. Being camera shy is a very real thing that many don’t realize they suffer from until they are faced with that metaphorical blinking red light, so having a game plan before you begin recording can help you organize your thoughts and be prepared to talk, whether you get a little nervous or not. Rambling is a definite side effect that some suffer from when they do get nervous, so having a pre-thought out list of topics that you want to discuss will help you stay on track and avoid a nervous, never ending monologue.
- Build buzz around your stream.
If you want people to tune into your live stream to interact with you while you’re on the air, you need to advertise your video ahead of time. Creating a Facebook Event and promoting it to your target audience can be a great way to let fans know when they can tune in, how to watch (simply including a link to your Facebook page is a great way to do this for those less-tech-savvy fans), and what topics they can expect to learn about from your stream. Think about it: if no one knows you will be going live ahead of time, you may not get the viewer count that you had hoped to achieve. Cross promote on as many social media channels as you can to encourage your fans and friends to tune in. If your show is going to be a regular weekly or bi-weekly segment, coming up with a consistent name and hashtag can be a great way to promote your show and encourage users to get in on the conversation.
- Prepare your set.
Nothing will cramp your video’s style more than poor lighting and an uninteresting set. Make sure you are filming in a location with plenty of light. If you can film near a window or somewhere near plenty of natural light, this will read best to the camera. If not, purchasing a couple of cheap studio lights can really amplify your video’s quality and help to up the ante on its production value. Ensure that you are filming in an interesting location, or at least one that is well staged. Filming in front of a busy office or outside at a populated park will be much more visually interesting to viewers than simply filming at a desk in front of a blank wall. This will keep your viewer’s eye busy, ensuring they won’t get bored watching your broadcast.
- Test your connection.
Well before you even think about going live, it’s imperative you test your Internet connection. A faulty Wi-Fi connection can ruin a live stream in an instant, so it’s important that you test your signal strength well in advance of when you want your stream to start. This can be done easily by changing your Facebook post privacy settings to “Only Me,” then going live and doing a quick run-through of your talking points. Watch the playback and look for any spots that appear to lag or cut out, and if you must, move to a location with a stronger connection.
Now you are ready for the lights, camera, and action! Make sure you have a game plan and a strong connection, and you’re ready to conquer the exciting world of Facebook Live.
Looking for more social media tips and tricks? Tune into our own Facebook Live series SocialLIVE every Wednesday at 2:30 pm EST at facebook.com/socialfly!