What is Facebook live: a complete guide
In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about Facebook Live, from what it is to how to use it, as well as 10 best practices to help you make the most of this powerful tool.
Facebook is still the most widely used social network worldwide, and it has now reached 3 billion users (statista.com). After Google and YouTube, it’s the third most visited site in the world.
As many as 67% of users are active on a daily basis. (hootsuite.com)
With Facebook, we’re talking about a social network with many years behind it (it was born way back in 2004); and one of the secrets of such enduring success has always been its ability to adapt to new trends and new user requirements, even those that originated in other social networks. And doing so very quickly.
Live streaming is certainly one such trend. It saw an unprecedented surge during the pandemic emergency period. If we look at the present, according to an analysis from eMarketer, in 2023, around 164.4 million users are watching live videos (insiderintelligence.com).
In this post, we will focus on Facebook Live. We will see what it is and how it works. Then we will review the main best practices you need to know, with a 10-point list.
What is Facebook Live and how does it work?
So, what is Facebook Live? It’s Facebook’s streaming tool that allows you to broadcast live videos. A tool with which we are already very familiar! Where and how does it work?
From smartphones, first of all. Just use the Facebook app and in the post editor, select the “live video” option. You can enter a description of the video, tag friends, geolocate, and add a mood or activity.
You can also do this using the Creator Studio app. From your computer, you can also use Live Producer, which takes advantage of the camera and streaming software. This can help give your final production a more professional look.
Facebook Live: the 10 best practices
Now that we know what Facebook Live is, let’s dive into the best practices that users should always keep in mind.
1) Promotion before and after
Before going live, it is crucial to make sure that your broadcast will have an audience.
Translated: announce when you are going live well in advance and make sure that the “news” reaches the widest number of people…or, rather, the largest number of people in your target audience.
At this stage, it’s important to create suspense (when needed), arouse curiosity, and create a sense of anticipation.
Of course, promotion isn’t limited to the moments before the live broadcast. In fact, the video remains posted on your profile or page. When it is successful, it can continue to reach an even wider audience.
You can also select and repurpose the most effective portions of video, which can be turned into snackable content, for example.
2) Always start with a well-built script
Users like Facebook Live for the sense of immediacy and freshness it conveys. Beware, however: immediacy does not mean total improvisation.
Always prepare a solid script. Think about how you imagine the live broadcast from start to finish. You’ll begin by introducing yourself, setting the agenda for the session, and don’t forget to think about how you’ll wrap up, leaving space for viewers to speak (which doesn’t necessarily have to be just at the end).
An extra tip: a recap of the key topics covered in the live broadcast, before the finale, is always a good idea.
3) The right time
Here we come back to the initial point: to ensure that you have a large and interested audience, it’s critical to schedule your Facebook Live broadcast at the right time.
Make sure you’re aligned with the best times for your given audience and avoid times that could conflict with other highly attended events.
Identifying the best time for every scenario could be difficult. It all depends on the type of content and the target audience (think of the different ways we use social networks during working hours, during the evening, or on weekends).
A good rule of thumb is to check your page analytics to know your highest traffic periods.
4) The right duration
What is the right duration of a Facebook Live broadcast? Again, there are no absolute certainties.
For sure, you don’t want to go less than 10 minutes nor to exceed 60 to 90 minutes – apart from some exceptional cases.
However, if you’ve structured well thought out intervals for interaction and engagement, you can afford to extend this time.
The longer the live broadcast, the more reactions, comments, and shares can increase.
Keep this statistic in mind: the average viewing time of a Facebook Live broadcast is three times longer than for regular videos that appear in the feed (bloggingwizard.com)
5) Technical aspects
You can have the best script and plan in the world, but it won’t matter if you ignore the technical aspects.
An unstable broadcast, with a connection that continuously jumps, could ruin the viewing experience and cause a high dropout rate.
Also watch out for the audio and lighting aspects: this impacts your viewers’ perception of video quality.
If you are using a smartphone, the best orientation is landscape.
6) Stimulate engagement
This is a decisive point. Another major reason for the effectiveness of Facebook Live is the sense of engagement they are able to stimulate in the viewer.
Nothing new here! This has always been the case, even for live television broadcasts. But, on social networks, people feel even closer to those on the other side of the screen.
So, don’t forget to address your live viewers and don’t exclude the audience from your live storytelling. Be sure to stimulate questions and engagement throughout your broadcast. This brings us to the next point. But first, a statistic:
- Facebook Live produces an average of 3 times the engagement rate of traditional videos (livereacting.com)
7) The importance of comments…and managing them
You have to push users to take action, to actively participate in live feeds.
You want them to comment even before the event!
We know this isn’t easy. Especially when you have a large audience, things can get out of hand quickly. So make sure to manage this part carefully. ,
Take the utmost care in managing comments, preferably with a dedicated person for this task.
There are several moderation tools that you can use with Facebook Live. These include:
- Frequency limitation: only one comment can be made every 10 seconds.
- Conversation: the chat only shows comments that contain at least 100 characters.
- Follower: only followers can comment.
- Restricted: only followers whose accounts are at least two weeks old can comment.
- Restricted: only people who have followed the live broadcast for at least 15 minutes can leave comments.
8) The importance of the description
Writing a good description for your video is crucial. Think about a potential viewer who hasn’t tuned in yet—your description should be written to compel these viewers to join your broadcast.
So: use short, concise, direct texts that create a sense of interest and curiosity in the viewer. Also, make sure your promotion matches what will be shown during the session: don’t make promises for topics that aren’t central to your broadcast.
Don’t forget: descriptions must also be effective for viewers who will watch the video later!
9) Always close with a call to action
Of course, a live video is not a product video in which to insert a “buy now” button at the end.
However, it also shouldn’t be an aimless chat.
Before you stop the broadcast, say thank you and goodbye. Think about what you want to leave your audience with. Think of a specific action to direct those who have followed you so far.
There are many options here: Invite viewers to visit your company’s website, to tune into future live streams or a live event, encourage them to learn more about a particular product or service, or point them directly toward a purchase.
Of course, in this case, adding links in the comments is always a good solution.
10) Analyze the results to improve
And once the live broadcast is over? Here is another decisive moment: That of analyzing your video performance.
Facebook offers many analytics that can be valuable for understanding how your video performed: unique viewers, minutes viewed, view completion rate, peak viewing moments and slump moments, number of people reached, reactions, comments, shares, as well as demographic and specific data related to the target audience.
Warning. This is an extremely valuable asset. Make sure to cross reference this data to learn what worked and what didn’t. And, more importantly, understand this for specific segments of your target audience.
These are numbers that don’t lie, and they can be a compass for improving the performance of your next Facebook Live broadcast. It’s all about knowing how to interpret them.
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