How to make the most of Facebook Live to build your social audience

How to make the most of Facebook Live to build your social audience

Social media networks have always placed an emphasis on immediacy and facilitating shared experiences for their users. This is essentially the raison d'être for Twitter – the ability to watch events unfolding in real time while being able to participate in, or just stay connected to, the conversation happening around that event. It’s been the driving factor in accelerating the media into the relentless instant reaction and analysis cycle we now exist in. Traditional ‘wait and see’ approaches to breaking news and events feel out of touch and hopelessly behind.

With the emergence of live streaming services like Meerkat and Periscope in 2015, the final leap to truly instant and interactive broadcasting has been made. In an increasingly saturated marketplace vying for user attention, the gritty authenticity and immediate responsiveness of live streaming cuts through and resonates with audiences much more substantially than more polished, artificial productions.

Facebook has observed the rise of these services and understands the power of this new form of video, which is why they’ve moved quickly and aggressively into the space with the launch of Facebook Live. “Live is like having a TV camera in your pocket. Anyone with a phone now has the power to broadcast to anyone in the world,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on his Facebook page. “This is a big shift in how we communicate, and it’s going to create new opportunities for people to come together.”

Facebook cares so much about the success and adoption of Live that it’s placing considerable resources into making sure it becomes the dominant player in the space. Previous to this, we’ve observed the prioritisation of video content by the News Feed algorithm and now with the introduction of Live content into the mix, this trend has only increased.  This ties into their continuing quest to keep their users on Facebook as much as possible, as we’ve seen with the launch of Instant Articles last year. Anything that keeps users online and focused on Facebook is golden for Zuckerberg & Co., which is why Facebook is doing everything in its power to encourage content creators to use Live.

So how can you take advantage of Facebook Live for your page? First, it’s good to think through all of the potential broadcast opportunities your organisation has already; major announcements, press conferences, seminars, and other public facing events. There’s also the opportunity to create webinar-like content rich sessions, such as a product demonstration, a new white paper discussion or an interview with key staff or sector figures. It’s important to always be in a social mindset with your organisation activities, on the lookout for opportunities to turn something you’re already doing into potential content for your channels. 

Next, it’s important to do the groundwork before you hit the button and go live. Adopting some basic best practices around your broadcasts is key. It goes without saying but there’s nothing more disastrous than a poor internet connection interrupting your stream. Be sure that you have a strong, uninterrupted connection before you broadcast. If possible, use Wi-Fi for a more consistent connection.

It’s also very importantly to put some time and thought into writing your video description. Most people will see this description in their notifications and decide whether to tune in based on what you’ve written, so be sure that your copy is accurate, on-point and compelling enough for people to click and give you a shot.

Remember that your followers receive a notification immediately when you go live with a broadcast, so ensure that you have a strong introduction to hook viewers in and stop them from switching off. It’s also important to prime your audience in advance for maximum viewership – making an announcement in advance on your social channels letting your audience know what to expect and following up with reminders, i.e. ‘We’re going live in an hour’, will help you capture the greatest number of interested viewers. 

Finally, make sure you utilise the interactive aspect of Live and engage with your viewers. Be sure to ask for feedback and for your audience to use the like/react buttons as you broadcast. If possible, include space in your broadcast to take and answering user questions to make your video as participatory as possible. Building that sort of connection to your audience will increase your following and your audience’s attention to your content and messages.

Video will remain the dominant content vehicle on Facebook for the foreseeable future. While many organisations don’t have the time and money to produce slick, flashy visual productions, Facebook Live is a wonderful low cost alternative for pages looking to take advantage of Facebook’s video prioritisation. With a little practice and sensible planning, you can utilise this feature to build your followers and extend your social reach to a new audience.

For further social media & digital services advice, please contact Campaign Capital.

CGM Communications influences and inspires action through connection and the sharing of stories. We support strategic communication with the community, government and media.