March 26, 2018
Marketing strategies have come a long way since the “Mad Men” days. While campaigns once relied on television, radio and print ads, they’ve now evolved to include live-streaming video and interactive content that directly engages current and potential customers. And Facebook Live is the best platform for engaging viewers through video.
We recently published The Wowza Ultimate Guide to Facebook Live Streaming, which covers tips and tricks for successful streaming, what equipment to use and content ideas for any industry. In this post, we’ll share a few insights from our guide that show you how to capitalize on Facebook Live.
Benefits of Facebook Live for Business
Marketers around the world are finding that video content really works: Businesses that use online video grow revenue 49 percent faster year-over-year than those that don’t, while 59 percent of global marketing professionals say video has the best return on investment of any content type. And a staggering 78 percent of executives who use live video for business say it offers deeper interactions with viewers.
There are many benefits of using Facebook Live for business, including:
- Access to the world’s largest online audiences through a platform they already use every day.
- Unique features for audience engagement, such as real-time commenting and Live Reactions that allow hosts and viewers to interact.
- A flexible platform for either internal or external business use.
- Built-in analytics capabilities to track video performance.
- The ability to boost live videos as paid ads to reach even more viewers.
What better way to display your brand’s human side to your customers than to showing the people behind your company? The arrival of Facebook Live changed the playing field for content development in the online world. More people than ever use live streaming, with Facebook video posts growing by around 94% a year in the US alone. If that wasn’t compelling enough, Facebook Live videos experience three times the engagement of typical videos shared on social media, with millions of users tuning in around the world.
If we look at the figures, Facebook Live currently generates more than 3,000 years of watch time every day. The question becomes how do you take advantage of that engagement for your brand?
Click the jump links below to get to each section!
- Before You Broadcast
- During Your Broadcast
- After You Broadcast
Since Facebook Live is free and easy to use, any company can get involved. However, it’s critical to ensure your video strategy is in place before, during and after the broadcast. Here are 10 Facebook Live tips to follow:
1. Promote Before You Broadcast
While most of the content we post is followed up with consistent promotion, it’s important to remember live videos are more like an event than a blog post. In other words, you need to generate interest before the experience if you want to get that all-important viewership. The good news is Facebook lets you target certain events and groups with your promotions. This is perfect for a more focused advertising campaign.
Ultimately, you’ll want to push the upcoming announcement on your Facebook account as often as possible to start. This means sharing daily updates about your broadcast. Don’t just repeatedly tell your audience you’re going to stream. Every time you remind your audience, share something new of value. For instance, highlight a tip you’ll share, or what kind of information you’ll be covering.
Look at NASA Earth’s post for instance:
It’s full of value and even contains an image to spark additional visual interest. Keep in mind your Facebook efforts don’t exist in a silo either. Don’t be afraid to cross-promote across your blog, email campaigns and additional social networks too.
4. Time It Just Right
Timing can be everything when it comes to making an impression on your audience. Just as there are tips for when to send out email campaigns for the best responses, there’s also guidelines for times to host your videos. During a live-streaming event, the last thing you want is to schedule your video to appear when everyone in your target audience is at work or asleep.
Make sure you think carefully about your target audience. Luckily, you can use Sprout Social’s Facebook reports to learn more about when your customers interact with you the most. Our Facebook Audience Growth report provides you with the tools you need to measure fan growth and post interactions.
5. Offer Context Constantly
You might naturally assume it’s a good idea to introduce yourself and any other speakers in the beginning of your video broadcast. After all, just like a blog post, your initial aim is to convince people to stick around. However, Facebook Live allows visitors to join the stream at any moment. So as more people come in, reflect on your introduction and let your audience know what’s happening. For instance, you may want to use lines such as:
“Hey, if you’re just joining us, welcome to our broadcast. We’re currently talking about [topic] and we’ve just covered [previous topic].”
One great example of Facebook Live that keeps its viewers on track is the video from the ASPCA. They launched a #31DaysofRescueDogs campaign to encourage adoption for their lovable furry companions. The Facebook Live video that promoted the campaign followed volunteers around New York as they took Pitbull puppies for a walk.
Throughout the entire broadcast, the host of the stream constantly reminded the people watching why the walk was happening and how they could get involved with the campaign. This helped to generate a huge number of donations from the ASPCA audience.
6. Always be Responsive
The live comments and reactions are part of what makes the experience so engaging to customers. It feels more like a two-way conversation when you’re responding directly to their questions in person. That’s why Facebook Live drives comments at 10 times the rate of non-live videos.
One of the most powerful ways to increase engagement online is to address the comments that appear live on air. This invites more people to share their opinions and thoughts as you go along. If you’re concerned that you might have too many comments to respond to in one stream, you can always get some help from someone off-camera to direct the most important comments your way.
Check out the video from Stephen Amell in his “Let’s Talk Arrow” post. He responds perfectly to the comments that come his way while keeping his audience engaged.
Remember, Facebook live is a window into your brand experience in real-time. Your responses to comments keep your audience in the moment. And with Sprout, you can manage Facebook messages all in one single-stream Smart Inbox.
Our tools help brands keep their messages in order across all platforms. However, with Facebook Live comments, it’s easy to track questions or respond to comments you might have missed–all within the same platform.
Try us free for a 30-day trial or request a demo to get started!
7. Make Sure You’re Likable
One of the most important Facebook Live tips to remember is this is your chance to really connect with your audience. In other words, you’re not trying to market yourself obnoxiously or sell a product. You’re trying to build relationships that lead to longer-lasting impressions. When you’re ready to broadcast, make sure you’re relaxed, smiling and feeling confident.
Of course, keep in mind that it can be useful to draw attention to your products or services from time to time, as long as you do it subtly. You can always end your video with a call to action or reference your services throughout the content. For instance, in a Trey Ratcliff video on Facebook Live, he talked his audience through choosing the perfect camera setup.
The idea was to allow Trey to build relationships, trust and thought leadership with his audience, while also pointing out his own incredible photography skills. The marketing was almost done on a subconscious level, which is what made it so effective.
8. Give Your Viewers a Shout Out
Facebook Live videos are instantly archived after they’re finished. This means you can always call attention back to them if you want to share additional value with your audience. To help boost your viewership among people who didn’t join you for the live show, try sharing a quick post thanking people for watching.
You can also ask for new questions and comments to generate additional engagement. The people who view your videos like to feel appreciated, so show them some love wherever you can.
10.Analyze Your Results
Finally, as with anything in the world of marketing, you should always learn from what you accomplish. Facebook has several metrics that you can measure with your live videos. For instance, you can check out how many people you’ve reached, how many unique viewers you have and so on.
The more you learn about your viewer preferences from your social media analytics, the likelier you are to design and publish stronger videos in the future. You can even go through your results to find out how many people were watching at specific times. This is a great way to figure out which moments had the most impact on your audience.
Once you’ve learned as much as you can, use the data gathered to experiment and optimize your next video. Then A/B test your results just as you would with any other content.
2. Tell people WHEN you’re going live
Facebook Live isn’t that exciting if no one shows up. Make sure your core supporters show up when you go live.
- Post an update on your page the week before and the day before
- Include the date time and topic in a Facebook cover photo
- Send an email to your email list
- Share your broadcast date / time in your email newsletter
- Tweet about it immediately before you go live
3. Make an outline for your broadcast
You’ll be less nervous if you jot down an outline of your broadcast on a small index card. Here’s a simple outline:
- Welcome your viewers and thank them for watching
- Introduce your topic
- Introduce yourself and your guest
- List your agenda or interview questions
- Tell people about upcoming events
4. Write a compelling description
When you’re ready to go live, you will be prompted to write a description for your broadcast. Keep it short and sweet:
- Make your topic clear
- Make your topic compelling
- No more than one sentence
5. Respond to commenters
The cool thing about Facebook Live is that you can see comments as they’re posted in real time during your broadcast. This is a unique opportunity to have an authentic discussion with your supporters.
- Call out commenters by name
- Read their comment
- Reply to their comment
- Say thank you
6. Ask for action
As your broadcast reaches more users, your viewer count will increase. This is your captured audience. Seize the moment to ask for action!
- Ask participants to follow your social media channels or join your email list
- Ask supporters to support an issue
- Ask supporters to sign a petition
Looking for more ideas for your first Facebook Live?
If you’re not sure what topics or events you should broadcast, check out this list of 35 Facebook Live ideas for museums, animal shelters, youth organizations, and more.
Have any additional Facebook Live questions? Let us know in the comments section.
- Facebook Live,
- social media,
- social media marketing
Facebook Live’s Latest Features
Earlier this month, Facebook introduced three new features for those who are creating Facebook Live videos.
- Live Rewind – which allows viewers to rewind videos while they are still streaming live.
- Cross-posting – which lets marketers post the videos on multiple Facebook pages.
- And persistent stream keys – this one is a bit more technical, but basically, this allows live streamers who broadcast frequently on Facebook Live to send one permanent stream key to production teams before events. This can be used for more than one broadcast too.
The social media giant is continuously working to improve its live streaming service and while you may be thinking Facebook Live had its moment in the spotlight already, live video continues to grow and live content is just as important as ever.
Why use live Facebook Live
These new features will be warmly welcomed by many marketers who have been using the service since it launched for all users in 2016. (Facebook cleverly built hype around the platform by letting celebs use it for a year before this.)
Consumers like Facebook Live, because it humanizes brands. It makes them feel more authentic and honest when that are willing to go live. The sense of FOMO (fear of missing out, in case you’re not familiar with the term) also helps boost engagement.
Over the past couple of years, brands have been using Facebook Live to communicate their brand personality, make events influence a wider audience and provide customers with other valuable content like tutorials and how-tos.
There are no editing tricks, second takes or over-the-top production and in an online world of highly curated, carefully chosen content, this is a breath of fresh air for audiences.
Over the last couple of years, it seemed like live video broadcasts were everywhere – and that’s not going to change anytime soon.
Here are a couple of stats for you:
- The video streaming market is on track to become a $70.5 billion industry by 2021
- 80% of consumers would rather watch a live video than read a post
- Facebook Live videos are watched for three times longer than regular videos
- Facebook Live grew to be the most popular live streaming platform at the end of 2016
The list goes on – and if you’re looking for more detail you can check out this great article by Neil Patel about why you should care about live streaming in 2018.
Of course, there are other platforms for broadcasting live video, like YouTube Live, Twitter’s Periscope, Livestream and Amazon’s growing Twitch platform.
However, if you are using Facebook to market your brand, frequently using Facebook Live can help you increase engagement on the platform as the Facebook algorithm likes this activity and will boost all of your posts as a result.
What are the bandwidth requirements for live streaming?
Let’s start off with streaming in your office…
Your internet connection will have an upload speed and a download speed.
To check your speed, use Speedtest.
Here’s the upload and download speed for our line (see top line in the diagram):
Test of your bandwidth
When you are watching a live stream, you want to have a high download speed.
When you are streaming, you want to have a high upload speed.
Livestream, who are in the live streaming space, recommend that if you are streaming HD (high definition) video, you need a minimum upload speed of 5Mbps but ideally you will have at least 10Mbps. No matter what your internet provider tells you, there will always be fluctuations in the available bandwidth so you’re better off having as much as possible.
Here’s a table from Livestream showing recommended bandwidth requirements:
As you can see, you can get away with live streaming with not a lot of bandwidth…
…as long as you broadcast using SD (standard definition) and accept there’s probably going to be some hiccups and delays.
There are multiple factors that affect the amount of data you are transmitting as you are live streaming. We are assuming you are live streaming both audio and video!
Here’s the most important factors:
- SD/HD – The difference between a SD (standard definition) display and HD (display) is really the quality of the image. You get a much crisper image with HD but SD is still good quality. Standard definition transmission is normally 720×480 and HD can go up to 1920 x 1080. Let’s not worry about 4k video yet!!
- Frame rate – This is the number of frames that are transmitted per second. If you’re doing an interview series, the standard 30 frames per second is perfect. But if you want to live stream a football match where there’s a lot of fast moving activity and you’ll want to use 60 frames per second. So… you’ll end up with double.
- Encoding – When you transmit data, it is encoded. The normal encoding used for live streaming is H.264. When you use this, it can be displayed across most devices.
When you are live streaming, you’ll see some of these settings in the live streaming services so it’s important to know the basics. If you don’t… then you may end up transmitting HD using a 60fps (frames per second) across a slow mobile connection!!!
What hardware do you need to live stream?
When it comes to equipment for Facebook live, there’s no shortage of tools. Let’s start off with live streaming from your office.
The basic setup
What you’ll you need to get started is an internal mic on your PC and an internal camera. You click a button and you’re up and running. Nothing wrong with this set up.
If you want to take it up a notch, you can buy an external mic and maybe even an external camera. You could use the Blue Snowball USB mic and the Logitech HD pro C920 camera.
The Blue Snowball is a very good-quality external microphone
You now have good high-quality video with good sound.
With a more advanced set up, you might invest in a really good quality mic:
In the picture, you see:
- Heil PR-40 Microphone
- Heil PRSM-B Shock Mount
- Heil PL2T Heavy Duty Mic Boom Arm w/ C-Clamp
- Focuswrite 2i2 – My mic connects to this and this connects to my Mac using USB (recommended by Steve Dotto)
- Logitech HD Pro C920 – This sits up above me because, when I’m recording, it looks so much better when the camera is higher than you.
Note: No one is perfect; you’ll see that I have my monitor sitting on a pack of paper and a file!!
What about live streaming from your mobile device?
The most basic set up is taking out your mobile and broadcasting but you may want to have a couple of extra bits and pieces.
For this, I’m going to refer you to a list from Brian Fanzo, who does more live streaming from mobile than anyone else – Check out Brian’s list.
What about setting up a green screen?
If you record with a green screen, some of the apps will enable you to change the background as you broadcast (e.g. Live Air). Here’s an example of Steve Dotto using green screen and replacing the background with a demo of an app (note this was not live).
Green screen setup
In our office, we set up a system where we can display a green screen or white screen when we need it. The backgrounds are on rollers so we just roll down the set up that we require.
Green screen setup
When you want to go live on Facebook, where do you go?
Now that we covered the hardware equipment part of the Facebook Live setup, let’s see how you can actually start a broadcast. You can go live on your Facebook Page, profile or group on your mobile device.
If you want to go live from a mobile device, you just open up your status update and select ‘live video’.
If you want to go live on your Facebook Page, select the ‘publishing tools’ menu option on the top right of the Facebook Page, then select the video menu option and finally click the ‘Live’ button.
If you want to check out who’s live on Facebook at the moment, there is a map showing live broadcasts.
DISCOVER. SHARE. INTERACT.
After 15 years of supporting some of the largest media campaigns in entertainment history, we understand that technology needs to be both flexible and robust. With our cloud-enabled platform, you can use your own in-house encoder, or one of our integrated encoding solutions, enabling an adaptable workflow to publish your live content that is seamless and easy to manage.
Live Studio offers a number of built-in settings to customize your stream before you go live so you can manage how and where viewers can find your content and drive distribution. AUDIENCE CUSTOMIZATION: Control who has access to your stream depending on the appropriateness of your content. SCHEDULED POSTS: Schedule your stream so you can build an audience, moderate submitted content, and drive promotion before going live.
Whether using one of our standard templates, or a custom-built engagement mechanic created for your campaign, our dynamic graphics and interactive solutions can enhance your content and increase audience participation.
Built-in monetization opportunities through our integrated branded content and sponsorship tools deliver a unique relationship with your viewers and added value for sponsors.
Re-target your viewing audience post LIVE to continue the engagement and also expand their relationship with your brand or sponsor.
Click here to view Case Studies
Need to stay mobile? No problem. With our new mobile app, it’s like having a production crew in your pocket.
Stream from your iPhone and monitor viewer comments, allowing you to stay informed while keeping your viewers engaged.
From concept to creativity, cameras to connectivity, we have all of your production needs under one roof. As live streaming production experts, we can provide creative services, full video production, custom branding solutions and live moderation – working with you from the outset to craft your live streaming strategy and streamline the workflow to help you deliver the best live video production.
What is Facebook Live video?
Live video lets you share what you’re seeing in real time — whether you’re visiting a new place, cooking your favorite recipe, or just want to share some thoughts. No matter where you are, Live lets you bring your friends, family, and followers, right next to you to experience what’s happening together.
Facebook launched Live for celebrities in August 2015 and gradually started rolling it out to influencers with Verified profiles before eventually opening it up to all iOS users in January 2016. Android support followed in February.
How to use Live
To share live video, tap on Update Status and then select the Live Video icon. If you’d like, you can write a quick description and choose the audience that you want to share with before going live.
Rather than notify all your friends or fans when you broadcast, Facebook will only send a push notification to close friends, people who recently interacted with your Page, or those who have subscribed to your Live videos.
During your broadcast, you’ll see the number of viewers, the names of friends who are tuning in and a real-time stream of comments.
Broadcasts can be no longer than 30 minutes, and when you end your broadcast, it will be saved on your Timeline like any other video.
Mark Zuckerburg has been using a big advocate of Live and sees it as “a way for people to have a more authentic and intimate experience sharing about their lives.”