Posted: 24 Oct 2016 08:00 AM PDT
As a marketer, you know how important it is to create a connection with your audience.
It's essential for slashing through the barriers that divide us, for establishing a unique brand identity, and for building trust.
There have been times I've been successful in doing so. But at other times, I've fallen flat.
It's getting easier than ever to create a unique connection because we now have the technological tools to do so.
One of the best tools enabling you to do this is Facebook Live, which "lets people, public figures and Pages share live video with their followers and friends on Facebook."
The concept is simple. You record a live video your audience can watch in real time and respond to by commenting.
Facebook Live provides the perfect framework for connecting, and its personable nature is ideal for facilitating interaction.
In fact, initial data has found that people comment over 10 times more on Facebook Live videos than on regular videos.
But how can you ensure your videos are engaging?
Here are some tips that should point you in the right direction.
1. Consider investing in some equipment
First things first. You really want to strive for quality with your videos.
You want to look like a professional.
Any sign of amateurism can drive a wedge between you and your audience.
That's why I recommend buying some basic equipment to enhance your quality.
This doesn't need to be anything over the top, but a simple tripod can help stabilize your videos so they don’t look shaky.
You can usually find a decent tripod for as little as $10, so this shouldn't break the bank.
Or if you're recording from a location where a tripod isn't viable, you can always use a selfie stick to serve as a stabilizer.
2. Experiment with lighting
Lighting is important for producing a good video because it can impact its overall quality in a big way.
If you're filming outdoors, this shouldn't be a problem as long as it's reasonably sunny.
But if you're filming indoors, you'll want to try out different lighting options to see what looks the best.
Generally speaking, the more lighting, the better.
If you're in a room with dim lighting, you may want to bring in an extra lamp so that you're more visible.
3. Test the process before going live
Let's be honest. You’ll probably run into a few glitches when first starting out.
It can also be a little nerve-racking when you start broadcasting yourself to a large number of your followers.
That's why I recommend testing everything beforehand and getting comfortable with the idea of being in front of the camera.
You can do this by switching the privacy setting to "Only Me," which can be found by clicking on "More" and scrolling to the bottom.
Record a couple of test videos until you're familiar with the nuts and bolts of the way things work.
This way everything should go relatively smoothly, and you'll be less likely to freeze up once you're live in front of an audience.
4. Make sure you've got a solid connection
You definitely don't want a weak connection when recording a video.
According to Facebook, "WiFi tends to work best, but if you can't find a nearby network, you'll want a 4G connection."
This shouldn't be an issue if you're indoors. But if you're in a fairly remote outdoor location, it most definitely can be.
If you've got anything less than 4G, you're probably better off choosing a different location.
If you see that the "Go Live" button is grayed out, you have a weak signal.
5. Create an outline
From my experience, it's best to have a basic game plan when using Facebook Live.
You don't want to jump in without knowing what you'll be talking about.
Of course, you'll want to ad lib to some extent, but I recommend having at least three or four main points to cover.
You'll also want to address each point in a logical, sequential order so that your audience doesn't get confused.
6. Leave some room for spontaneity
At the same time, you don't want your outline to be so rigid that there's no wiggle room.
Because your video is in real time, you never fully know what's going to come your way.
An interesting idea may pop into your head, or a viewer might ask a question that steers your video in a slightly different direction.
This is why I suggest trying to achieve a nice balance between an outline and spontaneity to ensure things stay on track but don't become boring.
7. Provide context
Before you jump into all the gory details of your broadcast, it's important you briefly explain to your viewers what's going on.
You'll want to introduce yourself, identify where you're at if you're out in the field, and provide a basic rundown of what you'll be talking about.
This will inform your viewers about what's happening and will provide some essential context.
8. Recap what's going on
Another thing you need to keep in mind is that viewers will tune in at different times.
Here's what I mean.
At the beginning of a video, you may have only 10 viewers. But at five minutes in, you may have 100.
At 10 minutes in, you may have 250 and so on.
In order to keep everyone in the loop, you'll want to periodically restate who you are and what's happening.
This is why it's smart to recap the details from time to time. I've found that the following intervals tend to work well.
Just make sure you keep your recaps brief because this can be annoying to viewers who have been watching from the start.
9. Be yourself
This little snippet of advice is quite possibly the most cliché thing ever.
But nonetheless, you'll want your tone and verbal delivery to be hyper-authentic and match your brand identity.
Most people can spot phoniness a mile away, so I discourage you from trying to be something you're not.
If you're polite, courteous, and friendly by nature, keep your video content in line with this.
Or if you're a little cynical and snarky, that's fine too. Just keep it real, and let your personality shine through.
The bottom line is that you should make your videos match your brand.
10. Be relaxed
Okay, this is easier said than done.
It's common to get a case of the jitters and be a little unnerved by the whole prospect of being broadcast live to potentially hundreds, or even thousands, of viewers.
But it's important to get yourself in the right headspace when recording.
Although it's normal to be a little nervous, especially if you're new to Facebook Live, you'll want to remain as calm as possible.
This should help you be more fluid with your delivery and make your content more interesting.
11. React to viewer comments
One of the easiest and most effective ways to crank up the engagement level is to simply respond to what your viewers are saying.
During a video, viewers can leave their comments and ask questions. Be sure to spend part of the time reacting. This is key to making the process as intimate and organic as possible.
I even recommend addressing some of your viewers by name because this really gets them in on the action.
And because people have a natural affinity for hearing their own names, it'll give you some brownie points that can pay off in the long run.
If you know you'll be so preoccupied with recording a video that you won't have the time to respond to comments (this can be really difficult when comments come in fast), I suggest having a partner who is also logged into to the primary account.
They can be responsible for answering comments and can help facilitate the overall process.
12. Stay live for longer to extend your reach
Want to reach as many viewers as possible and maximize the engagement level?
Stay live for longer.
Facebook recommends you stay live for at least 10 minutes per video, but you can go for as long as 90 minutes.
Think about it. The longer you stay live, the better your chances of reaching a larger audience will be.
While 90 minutes may be overkill when you're first getting the hang of Facebook Live, somewhere between 15 to 30 minutes can be the right formula.
Once you're more familiar and comfortable with the process, you can go live for longer and longer.
Facebook Live is no doubt a powerful medium for bridging the gap between you and your audience.
If you use it correctly, you can create incredibly engaging content that "pops" and allows you to connect in a personal, intimate way.
This form of two-way communication can be just the ticket for tightening your relationship with your audience and for taking your brand to the next level.
What has your experience been like with Facebook Live?
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