Live video streaming is a remarkably engaging tool that brands, content producers, and events can use to connect with followers and grown an audience. While a bit later to the game than other social media platforms, Facebook has made a significant push to incorporate live streaming into its platform. In 2016, 16% of marketers reported using Facebook Live - and with an engagement rate 3x that of traditional videos, it's easy to understand why!
With a few dozen streams on Facebook Live now under our belts, we have identified a few best practices that can help increase your viewership and drive engagement with your audience. Whether you're streaming a press conference, an annual meeting, an interview series, or a live music festival, these practices all apply.
Promote Your Event Beforehand
If you were having a party and didn't tell anyone about it, you wouldn't expect anyone to show up, right?
The same is true for a Facebook live event. In order to reach a high-quality audience, you need to promote it beforehand. This is especially important if paid promotion is a part of your marketing strategy, as you are currently unable to boost a Facebook Live event. Make sure you include event specifics in your promotion posts, such as when the event will occur, who will be involved, and how you want your audience to engage (like, share, leave questions for your presenter, sign up or register, and so on).
Run the Event Through Your Brand's Facebook Page
If you have already built up your brand's presence on Facebook, then you should absolutely run your event through your brand's page. There is no need to create an event for your broadcast or run it through your personal page. Depending on time and duration of your broadcast, you can normally expect 10-25% of your total followers to engage with your content.
If you have only just begun growing your audience on Facebook, you may want to consider partnering up with a more established page in order to drive more viewership. For example: if you work at a university and want to stream an event for your department, work with your school's social media team to stream the event through its main Facebook page.
Schedule Your Post
Facebook Live allows you to schedule a stream up to 7 days in advance. We recommend creating your live post 24 hours before you plan on going live. Viewers will be able to like and share your post prior to the event, as well as set a reminder so that Facebook alerts them once you go live. That way, your audience is already in place when you start your show!
When you schedule a Facebook Live post, it will automatically go live at its scheduled start time. You must begin your broadcast within 10 minutes of your scheduled start time, or your event will be cancelled - so make sure you are prompt!
Pin your event to the top of your Facebook page so any new visitors are alerted to your broadcast. That way, you can continue to post content prior to your event as you normally would without your stream being lost in the feed.
Keep Your Intro Brief
Unlike on other platforms, you do not want a long hold screen while your audience is settling in. Keep your hold screen up for under one minute, or your audience will begin to tune out.
If you need a bit more lead time, consider shooting pre-recorded content you can show prior to your stream starting. You could also set up a behind-the-scenes camera shot that the audience can watch while you are getting ready.
Engage Your Audience
Once you have begun your broadcast on Facebook Live, keep your audience engaged! Pin a message to the top of your comments so newcomers know what they are watching.
Your audience wants to feel like they are a part of the event. Encourage your on-screen talent to address the Facebook audience directly. It's also very helpful to have a representative engaging in the chat, liking and replaying to your audience's posts in real-time.
Encourage your Facebook audience to interact with your stream. Strategies may include asking questions to your presenters, participating in a raffle or give-away, voting on the content using Facebook emojis, or all of the above!
After the Event: Keep Engagement Going!
Once your event has concluded, Facebook will archive it in your video library. Your archived recording can be a powerful post-engagement tool (which, unlike your live stream, can be promoted through a paid ad campaign).
One trick that often gets overlooked: always, always, always add captions to your Facebook videos. There are highly accurate captioning companies such as Home Team Captions or 3Play Media which can help you with this. 85% of Facebook videos are viewed without sound, so captions are essential. Studies have shown that adding captions increases a video's average watch time by 12%.
If there were some moments during your Facebook live broadcast that your audience found particularly engaging, cut those segments out and re-upload them as short clips. You can repurpose these shortened videos on YouTube, Instagram, or other social media channels.
A properly optimized Facebook Live event is one of the best engagement tools in the digital marketing tool belt today. If you are considering producing your Facebook Live event, contact us today and let us know - we are here to help!