Hello. It's Martine here. Welcome to Episode 29 of the Creative Me podcast. Today I'm talking to you about Facebook Live. I've got a little bit of a disclaimer before I start talking about Facebook Live: I am a newbie. I've only live-streamed twice. However, I thought it was a good idea to record my thoughts from a newbie's point of view and share with you some of the things that I've learned through doing just two livestreams. Without further ado, let's get started.
What is Facebook Live?
It's a live video streaming service unsurprisingly based on Facebook. You can stream live for up to four hours on Facebook. I've not seen any streams that are quite that long, but it's good to know. Most of the streams I've seen so far have been 10 to 30 minutes. That seems like a really good length.
You can live-stream from profile pages, groups and Facebook pages. One of the best things about Facebook Live when you compare it to similar options, for example, Snapchat and Instagram Live, is that the replay of your Facebook livestream is available straight afterwards and it doesn't disappear. For me, that is absolutely fantastic, and it means the majority of my livestreaming moving forward will most likely take place on Facebook.
Instagram Live, as far as I'm aware, hasn't hit the UK yet, but it's going to any minute. I might have a bit of a play with it; but if like Snapchat, the replay disappears after 24 hours or whatever the time is, I don't see myself spending as much time there as I will on Facebook Live.
My Facebook Live Experience
Let me tell you a bit about my experience. I did two livestreams in my private Facebook group. This is The Light Bulb Club, which you are very welcome to request to join. The group has approximately 80 members at the moment. For me, it felt like a safe environment to do my first couple of livestreams.
Actually, on reflection now, I don't think I'll be streaming anywhere else. I'm not sure I'll be streaming on my Facebook page because the interaction in my group is so much better.
In The Light Bulb Club group, I talked about Pinterest for the first stream and social media automation for the second. Both streams were a response to topics that had been discussed in my Facebook group, so I was responding directly to issues my members were experiencing. For my first couple of streams, that was a really good approach because specifically, the individuals who started the conversation about those issues were pleased I had taken the time to reply to them live.
If you run your own Facebook group and you're struggling to think about what you could stream live, then have a look at what your members are discussing. Pick a few key topics and talk about those if you can. I'm really pleased that I approached my first livestreams in that way because it seemed to help the interaction.
The Power of the Replay
I'll be honest, not many people tuned in live. My group is still fairly small in comparison to others. A few did, and it was really nice to see them. A lot of people watched the replay. My streams were about 10 minutes long if I remember correctly. They aren't a huge time commitment. I was pretty chuffed with the numbers on the replay. People left comments and asked questions and things like that, so the interaction was great.
What Have I Learned?
1. Start Straight Away
The first thing is to get started straight away. I must admit I picked this tip up from someone else so I was quite conscious of doing this in the first instance, but nevertheless, I wanted to share it with you. Because a lot of people will catch your stream on the replay, it's pretty boring watching someone waiting to be joined live. Just get started. Even if you've got nobody watching you, get started straight away.
2. Introduce Yourself
After that, introduce yourself. This is something I don't think I did on the first livestream. Say hello, explain who you are and what you're going to talk about, which leads me on to my next point...
3. Have a Plan.
I didn't plan rigorously for my two livestreams. I like the spontaneity of it. However, I did have a couple of bullet points. I knew what I wanted to talk about.
4. It's Not Scary!
Possibly one of the most important things I learned from my Facebook Live experience was it's not as scary as you think it's going to be. I'll be honest I was petrified. I really was. Sometimes you've just got to get outside your comfort zone and have a go. That's exactly what I did, and it was nowhere near as bad as I expected.
Also, I watched back the replay, and I never watch myself on video. It was all right. I wasn't shocked or horrified, and it made me want to do more. I definitely will be doing more Facebook Live because I enjoyed it. I can't believe I'm saying that. I enjoyed being on video. That's not strictly true. I enjoyed the interaction with my followers.
5. You Need Good Wifi
A big learning curve for me was that you need good wifi, you need a decent connection to stream live, and my wifi connection is rubbish. I am shortly upgrading to super-fast broadband, so that will help enormously. My poor wifi connection meant that Facebook wasn't actually that keen on me going live, but I did anyway. The broadcast cut out a little bit. That would be frustrating for anyone watching live. Thankfully on the replay, it was just a very brief pause, but I am aware that's an issue, and it's something I'm going to fix ASAP.
I've already mentioned the interaction, but for me, that's one of the best things about being on video and being live. The interaction is fantastic.
7. Let Followers Know When You'll Be Live
Another top tip is I've realised it's a very good idea to tell people in advance that you're going to be streaming live. If you're in a Facebook group or on a page, put a little message up saying when you're going to be streaming, what you're going to be streaming about and what time and day it's going to be. When you explain the time, don't forget to include the time zone.
8. Include a Description
When you set up your Facebook Live post, you have the opportunity to include a description of what you're going to be talking about. Make that as catchy as possible, check in some Emojis if you like. That will help people engage with your stream.
9. Say Hi
When people join you live, respond to them. Say hello. Answer questions.
10. Wrap Things Up Clearly
When you reach the end of your livestream, I recommend you make it clear that you're wrapping things up, have a final thing that you say. For me, it would be something like "I hope you tune in next time I'm live streaming," something like that.
11. You Decide Who Will See You
Another learning point for me, and I've only just found this out, is you can customise who sees the video. There's a little dropdown box. If you want to make your video totally public, you can. Mine defaults to just people in my group, and I'm quite happy with that.
12. Rank High
Finally, something I discovered today is that live video ranks high on news feeds. The replay doesn't rank so high; but when you're live, it will be high on people's news feeds, and that's great.
Still Not Convinced?
If I haven't convinced you to answer the question why should you be using Facebook Live, I would say it's quick, you have to do minimal preparation, and it is fantastic for engaging with your followers. People like to see your face, and they like to be able to engage with you live.
Struggling for Topics
If you're struggling to think what you could broadcast about, I have a few ideas. You could do a Q&A type session; an ask me anything. You could collect questions in advance if you wanted to when you advertise your livestream in your group or on your page. You could demonstrate something. Like me, you could answer a specific question. You could interview someone, or you could perform. If you're an artist or a musician, you could perform something. Those are just a few ideas to get you started on Facebook Live.
Wrap Up and a Challenge
I'm about to wrap things up. Before I go, I challenge you to try Facebook Live. I challenge you. Do let me know how you get along. I am willing to promise you it is not as scary as you think it's going to be. Let me know how you get on.
Thanks so much for tuning in to today's episode. I really hope you enjoyed it, and I hope you'll tune in next time.