You’re backstage before the show when you see your headlining band horsing around. “This is a Facebook Live moment,” you think. You whip out your iPhone, queue up your Facebook app, and hit “Go Live.”
But things quickly go wrong. Your WiFi connection is wonky, the lighting is murky, and just as you’re finally getting rolling, the announcer calls the band onstage. Live fail. Luckily, since you also neglected to announce the broadcast in advance, it’s likely no one was watching.
The muse to go live can strike at any time, but to honor that muse, you must be prepared. Whether you’re streaming on a whim or broadcasting a pre-planned moment, here are the 6 tips the Facebook Live team recommends for all event creators.
1. Don’t go Live without a plan
To give your interviews, Q&As, behind-the-scenes footage, and other types of live video the best chances of unfurling smoothly, plan your environment in advance. Make sure your setup includes:
- A location that’s visually interesting, but not so busy it’s distracting
- Adequate lighting — not too dim, but not blown out, either
- Minimal background noise
- A strong internet connection (without adequate internet, you’ll find your Go Live button grayed out)
Choose the places you think you might go Live later, and take some practice video. Play it back to spot any weird background noise, lighting issues, or strange objects you hadn’t noticed in the frame.
2. Schedule your live events to maximize viewership
Yes, some live video is spontaneous. But if you know you’re going Live, let your fans know in advance. Facebook recommends giving folks a day’s notice with an announcement on your Facebook Event page.
Even better, schedule it. “A lot of people don’t know you can schedule your Live video,” says Matt Labunka, Product Manager, Live & Co-Watching at Facebook. “It’s a powerful trick to build buzz among viewers in advance, and you train your audience to show up at a certain prescribed time.”
Whether you’re using this trick or not, be sure to post across your social channels when you’re about to go Live.
3. Tap into your largest, most engaged audience
Your Facebook Event might seem like the obvious place to go Live. But if your main Facebook Page or a private group has more fans, it might make more sense to post your video there.
Labunka’s rule of thumb: “Always pick the place with the biggest, most engaged audience. You can also crosspost or share your Live video elsewhere after it airs.” Sharing the video across pages will ultimately reach more fans.
4. Consider live video descriptions mandatory
In the excitement of capturing and posting live video, it can be easy to forget about the niggly little details — like writing a video description.
“A lot of people don’t bother with things like titles and descriptions,” says Labunka. “But if you don’t do these basic things, your overall distribution potentially suffers.”
Make sure your live video description includes:
- Your event name and location
- Your special guests — and tag them
- A call to action (like, “Buy tickets!”)
The more meta information you provide to describe your video, the easier it is for Facebook to surface your video to likely fans. The details you include in your description help Facebook understand your video goals and show it to the right people.
5. Encourage participation and engagement
Part of the charm of live videos is that they’re interactive, involving fans in the moment. Labunka says, “Your video will usually perform better when your audience is pulled into your storytelling.”
Facebook offers a range of interactive features like polls that you can integrate into your video to breed participation in creative ways. You should also do your very best to respond to comments live, greeting commenters by name when you do. Participants get a little thrill when they hear themselves personally acknowledged.
6. Leverage the peak-end rule to finish strong
The peak-end rule states that people tend to rate their experience on two factors: the peak (the best or worst moment) and the ending. Your attendees, for example, will judge their overall experience on these key details and conveniently forget the rest.
The last moments of your video also leave a lingering impression on viewers, so don’t let your video peter out. Find a way to end on a high note, either with a compelling closing line or a riveting teaser about an upcoming event moment. Leave your viewers in a curious, excited state of mind.
Now go wow them with Facebook Live
Laying the groundwork for good live video is part logistical preparation, part smart marketing, and part getting yourself in the right mindset. Check off each of these Facebook Live tips, and even your most spontaneous broadcast will seem professionally produced and designed to engage attendees.
For more on how to use Facebook Live to showcase your events, read the free ebook The Ultimate Guide to Using Facebook Live at Your Events.