Wednesday, October 5th, 2016 | 9 min read
On August 25, DEA agents Steve Murphy and Javier Pena took to Facebook Live to leak an exclusive video of a major drug bust… or so it seemed.
While that would’ve been exciting (albeit probably illegal), it was actually the setup for a livestream promo of Netflix’s original series “Narcos,” which tells the true story of drug kingpin Pablo Escobar. And the “stolen stash” that was exposed on Facebook Live? It was a sneak peek at the first 11 minutes of season 2.
As Adweek pointed out, executing the live video wasn’t an easy feat. Since it streamed across the world, Netflix had to upload videos to 14 different countries and in 10 different languages. But the hard work paid off, as the video now has over 600,000 views, 3,400 comments, and 3,000 shares.
While this should be inspiring for brands, you don’t have to be a DEA agent (or Netflix, rather) to use Facebook Live effectively. There are many ways to make a great live video that reaches a wide audience.
In Part 1 of our Facebook Live guide, we walked through the steps needed to plan a successful livestream. Now, we’ll dive into key tips and tricks that will make your live video content shine.
A great description is essential to attract viewers. Think of your description as your primary opportunity to get people’s attention and encourage them to watch your video. You can keep it short, like “Narcos” did with its season 2 teaser, or write something longer, like National Geographic did for its video, “How Will Finding Dory Affect Wildlife.” Consider the tone of voice and personality you’ve already established for your brand on social media and then extend that to the way you write your Facebook Live descriptions.
Pro tip: Make sure to use the word “live” so your viewers know this content is different from a standard video. Once it’s done broadcasting, feel free to edit the description as needed. For instance, you can drive conversions by adding a call-to-action with a link at the end of your video description. You can then use UTM parameters and a custom link shortener to track clicks.
Hashtags are a great way to get more eyes on your content, but they must be relevant and used sparingly, as you don’t want your clever description to be drowned out by a sea of symbols.
For example, if you’re livestreaming recipes for a Super Bowl party, you could use #superbowl or even #superbowlrecipes. Research from Post Planner reveals that too many hashtags lowers engagement. Marketing experts suggest choosing one or two that are most relevant to your content.
Check out how Oprah draws her followers to her Facebook Live videos with #comejoinme, which is part of her Weight Watchers campaign.
When choosing where to host your livestream, pay close attention to the sound level of your surroundings and do as much as possible to avoid ambient noise (unless you’re livestreaming a big event where noise is part of the fun!). If you’re doing a Q&A or an interview, choose a private location; you don’t want to be interrupted by someone walking into the room and accidentally photobombing your video.
As Mashable suggests, you can also get a small Bluetooth microphone that clips onto your narrator’s shirt collar.
When it comes to framing and composition, your backdrop should be colorful and interesting but not so distracting that it takes the attention away from your host. Still, it’s most important to ensure that your WiFi connection is strong enough to support a clear, crisp livestream.
If you really want to take your Facebook Live game to the next level, it’s now possible to broadcast from other devices besides mobile, like standalone cameras and even drones. Facebook will even let you mix multiple video and audio sources and incorporate special effects.
While conducting a public broadcast, your live video will appear on the Facebook Live Map for desktop users to see. This is another way to drive engagement, allowing viewers to find your video geographically or stumble upon it while using this interactive feature. If you run a local business, you can also check out what kinds of videos people near you are creating.
Pro tip: If you’re running a Live video, the map can show you where your viewers are watching from, so you can get a better idea of who you’re reaching, and potentially even adjust your presentation accordingly.
When you’re ready to begin streaming, Facebook will give you a brief countdown––then you’re live! At this point, you can see the number of viewers following along. Ideally, you want them to engage with you by leaving comments or using Facebook reactions.
After all, audience engagement is a huge part of the appeal of Facebook Live. In fact, Facebook reports that people comment over 10X more on Facebook Live videos than on regular videos. Not just that, but the more engagement you have on your video, the higher it will rank in people’s News Feeds. It’s all a part of Facebook’s ever-changing algorithm, which is designed to show people more of the content they like (meaning, the content they engage with).
If you’re responding to user comments as they roll in, it’s a good idea to repeat the comment for the rest of your audience so they know what you’re responding to. Greet commenters by name as they sign on if you can, and give them a shout out when you respond to their comments.
If you can’t respond while the broadcast is live (perhaps you’re doing a product demonstration and your hands are tied), try to do so after it finishes. Once the live video ends, it can be accessed on your brand’s Facebook page. Comments are replayed as they happened during the live broadcast, allowing you to address anything that you missed the first time around.
At some point during the video conference, remind your audience to tap the “Follow” button on your Facebook Live video. This will ensure they receive a notification the next time you are doing a video and (more importantly) boost your following.
A longer livestream will likely reach a larger audience, as it offers more opportunity for people to see your video in their feeds and join in. Facebook recommends that you go live for at least 10 minutes, although you can stay live for up to 90 minutes at a time.
If #nofilter isn’t for you, Facebook Live offers several Instagram-style filters to give your broadcast some pop. Adding to its arsenal of filters, the social network also recently bought MSQRD, a face-tracking app that can plant different virtual masks on your face, sort of like Snapchat does with its popular puppy filter.
While brands haven’t made notable moves with these filters yet, marketers should keep an eye on them as Facebook will likely continue to pursue this technology. Also, this means the field is wide open for experimentation. Consider how you might be able to make your mark with these creative masks and filters.
When you’re ready to wrap up your video, don’t forget that it will live on even after you’re done streaming. (That is, unless you choose to delete it from your Page.) So remember to remind viewers when and how they can see your videos, and even direct them to your website or Facebook page for more information.
Also, be sure to check back on your comments, as new viewers might contribute to the conversation later on. Your commitment to hearing them and considering their feedback could go a long way – in their eyes and with Facebook’s engagement-based algorithm as well.
Stay tuned: In Part 3 of our series we’ll tell you how to make the most of your Facebook Live metrics.