Facebook Live for Businesses and Brands
Last week we tried Facebook live for the first time. It was a little nerve wracking but now that we’re over the “live video hump” we can’t wait to go live again. We’d like to share our Facebook live learnings with you so you can you can decide how to use Facebook live to benefit your business.
First and foremost, Facebook live is all about being in the moment. Make sure you pick the right moment to share with your audience. For example, March 21st was National Down Syndrome Day, a cause that we feel strongly connected to. Our own VP, Video Production, Katherine Armstrong, was eager to educate viewers and share her experience raising a daughter with Down syndrome. We’re really proud of our first Facebook live video, especially because we picked a topic we care deeply about.
1. Instant Content
At JK Design, we really enjoy the creative process of bringing an idea or a story to life. However, social media moves insanely fast, and dedicating too much time and resources creating content for Facebook can be frustrating. The magic of Facebook live is you’re instantly creating engaging content. There’s no time for revisions or rounds of approval – live video just happens! By the end of your Facebook live broadcast, you’ll have engaged your audience and left behind a valuable experience that can be immediately replayed.
We just used the word “engaging” to describe Facebook live. But it’s more than that. It’s conversational. Facebook live gives your audience a direct line of communication to you in real-time. This can be intimidating for businesses and brands. What if they don’t like us? What if we get stumped by audience questions? What if a troll shows up? Breathe. Keep in mind, transparency – honest dialogue – is what audiences want. So just be real with your audience, and they’ll appreciate it.
We all know live video is the latest rage as far as digital content. There have even been TV commercials about it! Facebook doesn’t even pretend to treat live video equally with other content. In fact, in a blog post, Facebook states, “people spend more than 3x more time watching a Facebook Live video on average compared to a video that’s no longer live.” This quote is a strong indicator of the popularity and the priority that Facebook’s algorithm gives live video.
1. Plan ahead.. But not too much
• Don’t over think what you’re going to say. If you picked a moment that you’re passionate about – don’t worry! – you’ll have plenty to say. You know more than you think know.
• Be casually prepared. Facebook live is supposed to be momentary and spontaneous. Remember, transparency is key for live video. Audiences will know if you try too hard; they would rather you just be genuine.
• Let people know ahead of time when you’ll be live. A simple announcement the day before and an hour ahead of the broadcast is more than sufficient.
• Grab people’s attention with a clever description. The first thing people will consider when deciding whether or not to watch a live video is the description. Make it clear and captivating.
• Longer broadcasts get higher engagement. The longer you’re live, the more time Facebook has to insert your video into people’s feeds. For example, we reached our peak number of viewers at the very end of our broadcast.
2. In front of the camera
• Whether you’re holding the device or hands-free, here are a couple tips for going live on camera.
• Introduce yourself and your reason for going live at the beginning of the video. Repeat this throughout the broadcast so new viewers feel welcome.
• Say hello to viewers by name. Do this at the beginning and sporadically throughout the broadcast. Of course, you won’t be able to name everyone if you have thousands of viewers. But everyone will appreciate the personal gesture.
• Have a sign-off phrase. It would be a shame to have a good Facebook live video fizzle out; you want to end a strong note. A sign-off phrase is a clear signal to viewers that you’re saying goodbye. We intend to perfect our own JK Design sign-off.
3. Behind the camera
• We recommend having another person behind the camera and they can be just as involved as the person who is live. If you’re the one holding the device, here are a couple things to help you help the person on camera.
• Put your phone on Do Not Disturb. Otherwise, you will be interrupted by emails, texts, and other alerts. Notifications don’t pause the broadcast, but accidentally clicking one and leaving the Facebook app could cause problems. This happened to us and some video is missing.
• Don’t switch between the front-facing and back-facing cameras if you don’t need to. You can, but it has consistently caused a hiccup in the live videos we’ve seen. We did it at 0:40 in our video, and you can see/hear the hiccup. If you absolutely need to use both cameras, just let your viewers know when you’re going to switch so they won’t be caught off guard.
• Interact with the person in front of the camera. He or she won’t know what viewers are saying if you don’t say anything. This interaction is something that should be agreed on before going live. In fact, we recommend you introduce yourself along with the person on camera. Establishing the person behind the camera prevents interruptions from feeling awkward.
• Reply to your viewer’s comments via text. Obviously, the person on camera can’t message with your viewers, so you have to. Just be careful not to shake the device too much. Find a balance between replying to comments and simply voicing them to the person on camera.
One of the great things about Facebook live is as soon as your broadcast is over, Facebook treats the video like any other video. You can edit your description, share it with other people, and boost it to reach a wider audience. You can also download the video file, edit it down to just the highlights, and upload it to YouTube, Vimeo and even back to Facebook.
Here’s what we recommend for repurposing your Facebook live video:
• Save the video to your phone right away. Unfortunately, we did not have enough space on our device to save our live video. See next tip. We later found this method to be the most reliable way of getting the highest quality version of your live video. There are plenty of mobile video editing apps for you to trim your video to its best parts. We recommend Adobe Premiere Clip, because of its integration with our editing software, Premiere Pro.
• Make sure in advance that you have enough storage space on your device. Just to give you an idea of how big your video file size might be, our 23-minute broadcast was 99.5 MB. However, the video resolution was only 640 x 360, which is very small.
• As stated above, we use Premiere Pro. There’s one catch when it comes to editing your Facebook live video file: variable frame rate. Simply put, Premiere Pro does not like variable frame rates, and it causes the video and audio to go out sync. We recommend Handbrake to convert your Facebook live video file from variable framerate to constant framerate.
• Cut down the broadcast to just the highlights and upload to YouTube, Vimeo or even back to Facebook. While you’re at it, export small soundbites from your broadcast just for Instagram or Twitter.
We hope you found this blog post helpful. Even better, we hope it influenced your business to try Facebook live. The irony of writing a blog post on Facebook live is not lost on us. They seem like opposite ends of the digital content spectrum. Eventually we’ll do a Facebook live video on Facebook live. In the meantime, let us know if you have any questions. We would love to help you with your Facebook live videos.