It’s official. Facebook Live is now the most popular live-streaming app platform, beating You Tube for the first time, as well as all the other usual suspects like Periscope, Instragram and Snapchat’s Live Stories. And the reason for this success? The Event Manager Blog summarises it pretty well – anything that has been battle-tested by Facebook’s competitors has been adopted into the Live platform. And more than that, the tool benefits from the one thing no one can touch: Facebook’s staggering 1.86 billion user base.
Figures released just this month reveal that the amount of time people spend watching live videos on Facebook has grown more than four times over the last year, with one out of every five videos shared being live. Research also shows that people spend three times longer watching live videos compared to ones that aren’t live. Is it any wonder why so many marketers are jumping on the live video bandwagon?
Related reading: What event planners need to know about Coronavirus
Using Facebook Live at Events
Facebook Live has already made quite an impact in the events industry over the last year – the biggest being the Rio 2016 Olympic games where an estimated 277 million unique people had 1.5 billion interactions on the platform throughout the two-week sporting event. The ability to record live videos using nothing more than a Smartphone is opening up all sorts of opportunities for smaller events too – it’s helping them better engage with attendees. It’s also helping them reach out to new audiences too.
But as with anything live, things can always go wrong. The camera might stop working. The feed might cut off. Your speaker might mess up or some crisis might unfold…and the whole thing gets broadcasted on the Internet. So, needless to say, it helps being prepared.
Have a look below for some of the most common mistakes you need to avoid when using Facebook Live at your events:
Mistake #1: Not Running a Check on Your Equipment
Run a complete test on the equipment you’ll be using for your live-stream – everything from your Smartphone’s microphone and camera to Internet connectivity and battery life. Stay on top of any cables and wiring you may need and think of backup in case something goes wrong. Decide who will be responsible for recording the video and whether or not they’ll hold the phone themselves or use some sort of mount.
Mistake #2: Not Testing Your Bandwidth
You should always check the reliability of your venue’s Wi-Fi service because your live feed may drop as a result of poor connectivity. If this happens, you usually have around 2-3 minutes to reconnect to the original stream. Otherwise you’ll have to generate a new URL for your live stream, which isn’t ideal as you risk losing many of your viewers. Ask your venue provider if their connection has the bandwidth to support fast and uninterrupted streaming and see what kind of contingency plans they have in case of any issues. Facebook recommends having access to a 4G connection – otherwise, consider using a portable mobile wireless router instead.
Mistake #3: Not Thinking About Sound Quality
If you’ve done live-streaming for a webinar, then you’ll know how important it is to have good audio. Try and minimise background noise and make sure your Smartphone or tablet is positioned close to your speaker. Consider using another microphone and brief your speakers so they know they need to speak loudly and clearly throughout the stream. Facebook does give you the option to run a test without actually sharing the video with anyone else – just use your own personal Facebook profile and change the privacy settings to ‘Only Me’. You can then watch it at your own pace to see if you need to modify anything before your event.
Mistake #4: Not Promoting It Enough
Facebook does do a good job of notifying followers the minute you go live and in the immediate period following the broadcast – but don’t depend on these last-minute notifications if you want to maximise your reach. Start by creating a compelling title – because once people get a notification that you’re live, the title is the only thing they see when deciding whether they want to join in. Talk about your upcoming live video through news feed posts – a great description will capture people’s attention and help them understand what your broadcast is all about (details of session, speaker names, timings and so on).
For ideas on how to use videos at events, read: Why Video is a Big Deal for Marketing Events
Good practice suggests promoting the feed once at least one day in advance, followed by a short reminder just before you go live. You can also build interest by sharing updates on other social media networks, posting teaser videos, sending emails to your subscriber lists, offering sign-up forms for alerts of the live stream, creating a hashtag for it and publishing blog posts relating to the broadcast’s topic. Get your speakers, partners and employees involved by doing their own bit of promotion through their social networks too. And if you’re streaming something of particular importance ex. keynote session, considering boosting your announcement posts though paid Facebook ads.
Mistake #5: Not Engaging Your Live Audience
The earlier you get people engaged in your live conversation, the more likely you’ll be able to take advantage of Facebook’s algorithm, which has shown to favour live broadcasts over news feeds. The earlier it gets included in news feeds, the more people you’ll get to join in – so get them engaged from the very start. Have your speakers welcome them directly, as well as your attendees in the room. Encourage your viewers to comment and ask questions and engage them by having a dedicated member of your team responding to comments from an on-site computer – remember the more people who ‘like’ and ‘share’ your live broadcast, the more it will show up in people’s news feeds.
Think about timings too. The longer you broadcast, the more likely people are to discover and invite others on Facebook to watch the video too. Again, best practice suggests going live for at least 10 minutes – although you can stay live on Facebook for up to four hours for any given video. Another thing to think about is making your videos visually engaging. The more visually appealing you can be, the more you can convince your viewers to stick around. That means keeping the camera moving and making sure your subject/speaker doesn’t sit in one place. This will again get your broadcast to be ranked higher in other people’s feeds. Why? Because Facebook also measures engagement by monitoring things that viewers do, like turning on audio, enabling high-definition or switching to full-screen mode.
Mistake #6: Not Editing Your Video After the Live Feed
Even though your live broadcast is over, there’s no reason to let it fade into the past. Once your Facebook Live video is on your wall, you can go back and edit the description, change the privacy settings or delete the video, just like you would with any other post. Facebook allows you to provide a much longer description at this point – so it’s a good opportunity to put something in there that matches the ‘call to action’ you had at the end of your video. One example is a trackable link which can direct viewers to your live videos page, your event website or anywhere you wish.
Another worthwhile consideration is adding subtitles to your video. Videos on Facebook auto-play without sound and marketers across the board have seen that very few opt to turn the volume on – in fact the overwhelming majority of social views of most videos are without sound. Facebook reports that captioning a video increases average video view time by 12% – so, it’s something worth doing it if you have the time.
Mistake #7: Not Measuring the Results
The performance analytics for Facebook Live videos are very similar to that of regular videos on the platform, along with some useful additions. You can analyse how much time people spent watching your video, identify peak times throughout the broadcast, how many people you reached, as well as reactions, comments and shares. You can also click on to each metric to see how it changed over time when the video was live. These stats don’t necessarily provide direct proof on how live video impacts your event ROI, but you’ll be able to see how your Facebook audience engaged with your event and begin to draw conclusions from there.
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