Creating Compelling Facebook Live Streams
Facebook Live is a simple way to connect with your online communities. If you’re not familiar with it, Facebook Live is a way to stream video onto the social media platform.
That means you can show your viewers what you’re doing in real time.
But ‘Live’ isn’t just a feature for sharing with friends and family. It can also be used by businesses and brands who’d like to establish a bond with their followers. No matter how you’ll be using Facebook Live, keep these tips in mind:
Getting Started: Polish Your Image
Being on a live stream can make some people self-conscious. You might be afraid everyone will notice your accent or that you’ll be judged for how you look.
It’s true you can’t control how people react to you. But you can boost your confidence before you live stream by spending some time to polish your image. You can start by taking stock of your appearance.
If you’re in need of a new haircut or if you want to color your roots, make an appointment with your local hair salon. Pick a style that makes you feel sexy and glamourous.
Next, consider your makeup. You don’t have to wear any during a live stream. But many people find it helps their self-esteem to play up their best features just before they begin recording.
After that, look at the clothes you’ll be wearing and think about the image you want to project. This doesn’t mean you have to dress in a suit and tie.
But choose your outfit carefully. Is the t-shirt you have on offensive? Could the slogan on it be considered distasteful?
A good way to determine what you should wear is to ask yourself if you’d feel comfortable wearing your outfit to a job interview.
It’s true a potential employer may never see this video. But that’s not a guarantee— privacy standards are always changing. This means what was once private could become public months or even years later.
Now, it’s time to consider your fingernails. Most people talk with their hands. That means your viewers are going to see your nails at some point.
You don’t want to show off chipped nail polish or dirty nails, so take the time to groom them. If you’ve been looking for an excuse to get a manicure, this is it. Book an appointment and get your nails looking fabulous.
Next, focus on your accessories. Some people keep accessories simple and go with a single smart watch. Other people might prefer big statement pieces like chunky necklaces or an armful of bracelets.
The important thing is to pick jewelry that’s not distracting. Sure, those sparkling earrings are adorable. But they catch the light and create a small glare for viewers.
Those bangle bracelets you wear might be definition of cute. But you don’t want the noise they make as you gesture to distract your viewers. That’s why you want to choose your accessories carefully, thinking through the potential pitfalls.
Make sure you look and feel great before you begin recording. This will increase your confidence and help you to relax while you stream.
Preparing Your Space
Another thing to keep in mind as you consider live streaming is the space you’ll be recording in. If you don’t optimize this space, it may distract viewers and cause them to log off when you’re in the middle of the stream. Fortunately, there are easy and quick ways to transform your space into one that viewers will find visually pleasing.
Start with lighting, as this is the biggest hurdle when it comes to live streaming. If you have too little light then harsh shadows can make it difficult for your viewers to see you.
One solution is to use natural light that comes in through a window. The problem is then you’re stuck filming in that same spot every time or canceling your video shoot if the sky is overcast.
A better solution would be to have your own source of lighting. Experienced video streamers often use LED panels to film their videos.
You should start with one, too. It’s best to have 2-3 panels so you can arrange them at different angles. This will give you optimal lighting on every side.
Next, you need to consider the sound of the room you’re in. A large room without a lot of furniture may create a background echo that can be distracting to those watching your live stream.
To fix this issue, consider investing in a lavalier microphone. Sometimes, called lapel mics, these tiny microphones clip onto your shirt and capture what you’re saying. The advantage of using this type of microphone is that your hands are free while you talk.
You might be tempted to think you’ve covered sound. However, many spaces have background noises that can be distracting. This might be the hum of your electronics, the beeps from traffic outside your open window, or even the creak of your floor as you move.
You can easily rectify these problems with simple solutions. If your old hardwood floors are noisy, put down a thick rug. If your electronics are creating an unwanted hum, turn them off. You can also close windows and doors to create more sound barriers.
Once you’ve taken care of the sound and the lighting, it’s time to check out the background that viewers will see. Facebook Live allows you to preview what your video will look like so examine your preview carefully.
Look for distracting things in the background like stacks of paperwork, piles of clothes or shoes, and monitors playing TV shows or screensavers. This visual clutter can make it hard for viewers to focus on your message.
Fortunately, there’s an easy way to fix the clutter—hide it! You can do this using a screen divider or room divider. If you don’t have a divider, grab an off-white or gray sheet. Iron it then tack it up behind you. Now the problem’s solved and you can get back to shooting your video.
The final mistake to avoid when live streaming is camera shake. This is common when you’re using Facebook Live on your tablet or smartphone. Even slight camera shakes can be disruptive to both you and your viewers.
Stabilize your video by using a tripod. There is a variety of tripods for sale at many different price points, so you should be able to find one even if your budget is tiny.
These small tweaks to your space may not feel seem that important at first. But they send the message to your viewers that you care about them and their experience.
Live Streaming Your First Video
When you go to live stream your first video, you’ll probably feel both nervous and excited. It’s thrilling to have the chance to connect with new people but you may also be worried that you’ll mess up. To make your live stream easier, keep these tips in mind.
Don’t expect a huge turnout. Unless you’re a celebrity or a Fortune 500 Company, chances are you won’t see thousands of visitors on your first live stream. In fact, you may only get a handful of viewers for your first few videos.
If you’re worried about not having any viewers, you can invite a friend or two to watch your first live stream. Let them know what time you’ll be going live so they can tune in.
Do interact with walk-in viewers. Once you’re live, Facebook will notify your network that you’re streaming. As a result, you might get some walk-in viewers. If they leave a comment, greet them by name and ask a question. You can ask general questions such as, “Where are you from? What do you do for a living? What do you do in your spare time?”
If you’re looking to build an audience within a certain niche such as dog care, then you’ll want to ask questions related to your topic. For example, you could ask, “Who are your fur babies? How old is your pet? Want to share a picture of your dog with the rest of us?”
Don’t panic if you get a troll in the comments. While it doesn’t happen as often on Facebook Live as other streaming platforms, you can still encounter someone being cruel or offensive to stir up controversy.
Quickly ban this user so he doesn’t bring down the entire mood of your video. You can do this by tapping the troll’s profile picture. A menu should open with the option to ‘Block’ user.
Give your viewers a way to connect with you when you’re done streaming. This could be a link to your Twitter URL or your newsletter sign up. But what one option that works well is giving viewers your Facebook page link and inviting them to ‘Like’ you so they won’t miss more great content from you.
If you’re super nervous about your live stream, you can try out this Facebook feature on your personal profile. When you click to stream, set the audience to ‘Me Only’.
Now, no one else will see your video and Facebook won’t send notifications to others that you’re streaming. This will give you time to get familiar with Facebook Live before you go in front of an audience.
It’s understandable to be a bit nervous before you live stream. But don’t unnecessary pressure on yourself. You could tell yourself something simple like, “I’m trying out Facebook Live as an experiment for the next three weeks.” When you treat it as an experiment, you’re free to let go and enjoy the process.
Getting More Viewers to Watch Your Live Stream
You’ve tried live streaming a few times. You’re comfortable with it and you enjoy being live, as well as interacting with your community. Now, you’d like to get even more viewers watching your streams. Here are a few simple ways to do that:
Start by knowing your goal for each live stream you do. If you’re live streaming for personal use, your goal might be to become more comfortable on camera or to have accountability for a new challenge you’re taking on.
If you’re live streaming for business use, your goal might be to get more customer leads or to educate your community about what your community does.
Once you have a goal in mind, it’s time to pick the time to stream. Yes, live streams are instant. But planning a few days in advance can give you time to get the word out about your video and attract even more attention.
While you’re picking your time, think about who you’re trying to reach. If you live on the East coast in the United States, then you may decide to host your live stream at six in the morning. The problem is that’s three in the morning Pacific Time, so your fans and followers living on the West coast are less likely to see your stream.
If you’re looking for more interaction, you need to plan to stream for a while. Most people enjoy streams that last between 30-60 minutes. That means you need to plan to live stream like you would with any other appointment. Be sure to block off the time you’ll be live in your day planner.
Another thing you can do is to plan what you’re going to say in advance. You don’t have to write out every single word you’ll say. Just know your main points so you can stay on track.
Bullet outlines work well for planned live streams. If you’re in the business niche and your topic is building a mailing list, then your outline might look like this:
- Why No One Signs Up for Your Mailing List
- How to Create a Compelling Opt-in Gift
- Transform Visitors into Subscribers
These notes are detailed but they can prevent you from rambling and help you re-focus if you lose your place.
You may also want to consider streaming at the same time each week. This encourages your viewers to log on and look for you regularly. It also makes it easy for them to share your show with other people
It can take a few weeks for you to start building a loyal following on Facebook Live. In the meantime, keep showing up and offering viewers valuable information in exchange for their time.
Hosting Guests for Your Facebook Live Videos
Tired of going solo in your Facebook Live videos? Try adding a guest to your live streams. Not only will you have someone else to help keep the conversation going, you also look like a key influencer by association.
But hosting guests on your stream can be tricky. You want to host people who reflect well on you and your brand. So here’s how to pick your interviewees:
Start by doing a social media check. You’ve found someone and you think they’d make a great addition to your next live stream. There’s just one problem—you don’t know this person well enough to extend a blank invitation. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to fix this problem. Do a bit of research on your guest. Check out their blog; follow them on Twitter, and like their Facebook page.
Once you’ve done this, watch how they interact with others. Are they kind and helpful? Do they seem genuine and caring? If not, move along. You don’t want to be associated with someone who’s rude to others.
If you like what you’ve seen by this person on social media, start looking to see if they’ve been interviewed in other places. This will give you a feel for what they’re like to work with.
You can do this by using a search engine like Google. Just type: “First and Last Name” + podcasts into Google. You can also go to YouTube and type their name into the search bar. Listen to their content and if you find yourself enjoying their material, reach out.
When it comes to reaching out, the best way to do it is over email. Mention the word interview in your subject line. Then write up a quick message explaining who you are and what your live streams are about.
Then ask for the interview. Don’t be vague by asking questions like, “I’d like you to be on my live stream sometime. Are you up for it?”
Instead, be direct. “I live stream every Wednesday afternoon. Do you have time on your schedule to hang out on the twentieth?”
This will prompt your potential guest to give you a clear yes or no. Sometimes, a timing issue prevents a guest from appearing on the live stream. In this case, your guest might say, “I can’t make it on the twentieth, but my schedule is open for next week!”
Always be polite, even if your potential guest turns down your invite. You may not know for months or evens how valuable the connection you made really is.
Facebook Live is fun way to engage with your audience. You can use it to build your personal brand, grow your own business, or simply share about your personal life. The decision is up to you. Have fun streaming!