Top Tips for Facebook Live

Facebook have implemented a new regime which means that content from brands, businesses and organisations will be suppressed and not appear in the main News Feed.  In the announcement of these changes, Facebook said that content that invites community discussion and interaction will be favoured, and that includes Facebook Live video.  Facebook Live can be challenging though, and it’s very important that any Facebook Live sessions you do are engaging and relevant.

There was an interesting discussion about how to make Facebook Live work for non-profits on the very wonderful ECF list, and I’ve captured some of the insights here.

Advice from digital campaigner Tom Mauchline:

  1. Remember to trail the event on the page before it starts
  2. Before the event you should have the chair spend a bit of time giving an overview of the event, where the campaign is and where people can get involved. This not only gives you a bit of time to build an audience but also makes the event easier to follow. Corbyn and Trudeau did this ahead of speeches in their leadership elections and it worked well.
  3. Get the chair to sum up everything at the end and tell people how to get involved
  4. To make the video more dynamic use something like the Mevo camera and app
  5. Do a few run-throughs first and make sure the chair is media trained
  6. If questions are asked in the comments make sure that you answer a few – that’s the wonderful thing about live
  7. If you aren’t getting questions feel free to ask for them
  8. Reach out to Facebook Pages with big followings ahead of the stream going live and ask them to share it when you are live. Just send them a link via email or text.
  9. Make sure you have a separate wifi connection for the stream – a lot of people on their phones during an event can cause the quality to reduce
  10. Think about the way the panel is seated – a normal panel format looks strange – maybe try a horseshoe
  11. Finally don’t be afraid to use Live outside of panel events – it can work well for behind the scenes media work, on the picket lines and just to profile different projects

Andrew Davies of campaignfilm says:

  1. If you’ve a live audience present they could also only ask questions via a hashtag so you normalise the engagement for people present on the stream, so everyone feels local/present
  2. Nice also for the chair to welcome users online as well as those present in the audience. Anything that sets it apart from being simply a filmed panel discussion for detached outside eyes to gawk at. The detachment can invite unwarranted judgement.
  3. Good sound is so much more important than crystal clear pictures. Find a way to capture fantastic sound. Another good reason to only have local audience engagement online and a really on the ball chair.

Alex Pell of Dashboard Media added:

Don’t overlook the power of simplicity. You can do Facebook Live on a shoestring by using stuff that you (mostly) already own.

The easiest way is to run it all off a mobile phone. And if you don’t even have a tripod-mount, why not lash a handset to a water bottle with a bungee cord? This is a fab tip for on-the-go shoots (live or not) and so we made a 45-sec video showing how to do it here.

If you want to buy steadicam gizmos, great, but you’re better off investing in basic mics. As the others said, audio is a deal-breaker and, to be fair, this can quickly get complex when you are in a studio set-up.

The advantage of using cameras hooked up to a laptop is you can manage multiple shots and have a separate audio-feed. Again, you can do this super-cheap with the free Open Broadcaster Software which enables you to record a stream at high-quality for replay.

Big thanks to Andrew, Tom and Alex for their extremely useful insights.

What do you think? Have you tested Facebook Live for your organisation, and do you have any further advice to share? Comment below!

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