Social media marketing is not for the faint of heart – it’s fast paced, in a state of constant evolution, and requires equal parts agility and structure. As each social platform positions itself as a valuable marketing tool, new tools come to the forefront that allow brands to reach their audience in innovative ways.
In this post, we’ll explore the basics Facebook Live, why and when to use it, as well as a few tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your livestreams.
What is Facebook Live?
Facebook Live is the social media giant’s pass at allowing users to broadcast information in real time to their fans and followers using nothing more than the smartphone in your pocket – or bag, or bedside table, or wherever you keep that thing.
So why should you add Facebook Live to your marketing campaign?
- You can connect with your fans and followers instantly. Your followers receive a handy notification letting them know you’ve gone live, prompting them to tune in.
- You can create timely content that feels more authentic than highly produced versions of the same story. Your followers know you’re live, and they expect a more off-the-cuff experience.
Facebook is a great fit for higher education. Here’s how:
- Prospective students can see the campus and interact with a KU student, staff member, or instructor. While these interactions are no match for an in-person visit, livestreaming lets students actively engage with the university.
- Whether a student gets their question answered by the host or simply receives a “Rock Chalk!” from the university account, these real-time interactions are a powerful way to welcome students into the greater community.
- You can reach students where they already are. Using social media removes a big hurdle: getting students to another location. Using Facebook Live allows you to tap into an already captive audience.
Tips and tricks
So you know a Facebook Live event is a good fit for your communications plan, but how do you actually execute this thing?
Before the livestream
- Choose your topic. Once you’ve identified how a Facebook Live event fits in your plan, hone in on a specific topic. Topics about a person’s experience are a natural fit (for example, what it’s like to be a biology major or a student athlete). Tours also make great Facebook Live events. It’s a great opportunity to show off new spaces or show rooms students might not see on a campus tour. Whatever your topic, make sure it supports (and is supported by) your overall communications plan.
- Choose your host. Be sure your host is a good public speaker. While live streaming is obviously different than giving a traditional speech, they still need to think on their feet, keep a captive audience, and communicate effectively. Being comfortable holding the attention of a large group will make that job easier.
- Prep your host. Even if your host is a seasoned pro, it’s helpful to spend just 15 minutes preparing them a few days before your livestream. Walk through the mechanics of how to start and end a livestream and review the comments feature to help your host feel more comfortable. You may also go over talking points and how to deal with potential problems like glitching technology or negative comments.
- Schedule behind-the-scenes staff. Consider having two or three team members behind the scenes to watch the livestream for any technical issues, moderate the comments, or sit behind the camera to help the host if they get stuck. Make sure you schedule staff to fill these roles before the event!
- Create a Facebook event. Take advantage of the event platform’s cool features, like inviting people you know would be interested. Your audience can add your broadcast to their calendars, *and* Facebook will send a push notification reminding people that the event is coming up. People who are interested in attending can see people in their network who are also interested.
- Write an appealing description for your livestream. Let your followers know what the broadcast about, and write the description when you’re setting up your livestream. Writing this ahead of time reduces chances for typos and allows you to refine that message sans the anxiety of writing in a rush.
- Test your internet connection. Once you’ve decided on the location of your Facebook Live, do a quick test run from your personal page to test the strength of the connection. Wi-Fi typically works the best, but 4G will work if you don’t have that option.
- Publicize your broadcast. Let people know you’re going live, before you’re live. Create a series of written posts to promote on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to inform your audience and build anticipation. Thinking of doing a Q&A with your livestream? Get creative and garner questions by using the “questions” sticker in your Instagram stories. This will help you build a robust library of questions to answer when things get quiet on Facebook.
During the livestream
- Make introductions and call for questions. If you’re doing a Q&A, make sure your host asks for questions on a regular basis. And since you’ll likely have viewers popping in and out of the livestream, ask your host give a synopsis every 10 minutes or so for viewers who are just joining.
- Have a “cheat sheet” handy. Give your host a bulleted list of talking points to keep them on-message and help them out if they need a prompt.
- Have a moderator for the comments. It’s impossible to both host a livestream and moderate the comments. Make sure a staff member is logged into your page to answer any questions the host may not know, provide links to relevant pages, and interact with viewers.
After the livestream
The fun doesn’t stop once the livestream is over – your content still provides plenty of value after the fact. Here are a few ways to get more reach, impressions, and engagements for your completed Facebook Live broadcast:
- Download the livestream. Once you end your livestream, Facebook will prompt you to save the video. Saving this content allows you to solidify the livestream as a post on your timeline as well as in an event page if you created one.
- Share the content across platforms. Think outside of Facebook and consider other social platforms. Is your target audience using Instagram heavily? Upload your Facebook Live video directly into IGTV and be sure to allow the preview in your feed. Is your audience on Twitter? Share pull quotes and link to your Facebook Live video to drive additional traffic.
- Promote the event in a follow-up email to your audience. Make sure to thank those who attended the Facebook Live and share the date of any upcoming streams!
Don’t forget to measure your results.
Tracking analytics will allow you to determine what to change and what to do again in your next livestream. Facebook Insights make it easy to find all the data you need to define success. Here’s a short list of things you should track:
- Peak Live Viewers
- Average Video Watch Time
- Estimated Reach
- Unique Views
- Post Engagement
- Top Audience
- Top Location
If your promotion strategy included other social media profiles, be sure to include them in your final report. Once you have a few livestreams under your belt, use your data to make strategic choices for future livestreams.