The Complete Guide to Facebook Live Streaming
Live streaming has gotten extremely popular and Facebook Live provides one of the easiest ways to get started as well as a huge potential audience. Facebook reports that daily watch time for live broadcasts increased 4x over the last year. Another key insight is that live videos get 3x higher engagement than other videos.
What is Facebook Live? Facebook Live is a live streaming feature that uses the camera on a computer or mobile device to broadcast real-time video to the Facebook social network. Live broadcasters can decide who on Facebook can see their video and use this content to engage their audience during the moments and events that are important to them.
There are many ways to leverage live-streaming to engage with customers, prospects, and social media followers. In this guide, we'll explore strategies for using Facebook livestreaming to accomplish your goals. It's no secret that more and more people are watching videos online.
In this guide, we'll cover:
- Who can benefit from live streaming and how they can make the best use of it.
- How to go live on Facebook from your phone or computer.
- The benefits of multi-streaming.
- Platforms you can use for live streaming.
- Equipment to improve your broadcasts.
- Tips to help you deliver more engaging livestreams.
Who Can Benefit From Live Streaming?
Livestreaming on Facebook (and other platforms) can help almost anyone with a message to get across. Here are some examples of why you might consider this format:
- Businesses. You can use live streaming to give customers and potential customers a close-up view of your business. You can describe products and services. Engaging with your audience is a great way for smaller businesses to reach out in a personal way.
- Artists and creative types. Reach a wider audience for your books, music, artwork, or any type of creative project. Do a broadcast to talk about your latest project, promote a contest (such as a book or album giveaway), or cover interesting topics that your audience will enjoy.
- Religious organizations. You can use livestreams to broadcast your faith-based messages and discuss upcoming events.
- Nonprofits. Raise money for charities and worthwhile causes by calling attention to the latest issues.
- Gamers. Facebook has its own gaming app, Facebook Gaming, where you can create your own page and download your choice of gaming software. You can also play lightweight games if you prefer not to use robust streaming software such as Streamlabs.
- Talk shows, podcasts, bloggers can all use live streaming to get their messages across, interview guests, and connect with their audience in real-time.
If you fit into any of the above categories or have any message you need to get across, you can use live streaming to explain products, interview guests, broadcast virtual events, and more.
How to Go Live on Facebook With Just Your Phone
If you've never livestreamed before, it's easy. You don't need any special equipment beyond a device with a camera that connects to the internet. To use Facebook Live, you do, of course, need a Facebook account. If you want to use Facebook Live to promote your business, you should broadcast from your business page rather than your personal page (if you have both).
- You can use Facebook Live from any connected device such as a computer, smartphone, or tablet.
- Decide whether you want to go live from a Page, Group, or Event.
- Click on the Live Video icon on Facebook.
- Allow Facebook to access your camera after the prompt.
- Choose your settings. You can decide who can see your broadcasts, such as only friends or public.
- Create a relevant and interesting description for your broadcast.
- Click "Start Live Video" button.
- Click "Finish" when you want to end your broadcast.
You can also add features, such as lenses and filters to make your livestream more visually interesting. You also have the option of live-streaming from the Facebook Story feature.
How to Go Live on Facebook From a Computer
Prefer going live on Facebook with your computer? Here’s how you can live stream from the native platform. When going live from a laptop or desktop computer, you’ll automatically be directed to Live Producer, which is also how you can go live on Facebook using higher-end production equipment and streaming software.
- At the top of your News Feed, click What’s on your mind, [Your Name]?
- Click the three dots icon ••• then click Live Video and you will automatically be redirected to Live Producer.
- Write a description for your live video.
- Click Go Live in the bottom left.
Reach a Larger Audience With MultiStreaming
Facebook has one of the world's largest audiences, making it a great choice for live-streaming. However, there are other large platforms worth targeting. Multistreaming is a strategy that lets you reach viewers on two or more platforms at once.
The multistreaming concept is quite simple. It's similar to the content strategy of posting the same content to, for example, your blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. With multistreaming, you're doing the same thing, only with a live-streaming event. To multistream, you need to use a tool that lets you broadcast on several platforms at once. With Melon, you can broadcast to Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Twitch - five of the largest streaming sites.
Multistreaming lets you reach a larger audience without doing any more work. You have a chance to connect with people who only use certain platforms. For example, some younger viewers might prefer Twitch to Facebook. You also have a chance to widen your audience on multiple platforms as people who see your broadcast might share it.
Services to Enhance Live-Streaming
While you don't need anything beyond the native Facebook app, you may want to use additional tools to make live-streaming easier and add capabilities. Here are some ideas for enhancing your Facebook Live presentations.
Streamlabs is a free all-in-one live streaming software you can download for Windows or Mac. You can log into and use this service to stream to Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, or Twitch. Streamlabs has free desktop software, a free mobile app, and a web suit of products with chatbot, merch, and much more. There is also a premium version that comes with additional benefits like custom overlays and multistreaming.
Melon was created by Streamlabs and is a cloud-based live streaming service where no installation is required and where you only need a browser to stream in just a few clicks. There are multiple customization options to make your broadcast stand out. Melon was introduced in 2020 to meet the needs of many businesses and organizations that were forced to shift their focus to remote work and virtual events during this challenging year. Melon offers a simple and intuitive interface that lets you and your guests stream with ease.
Streamelements is a free live streaming app that has several features like chatbot. While chatting, it's important to be able to control chat and deal with problems such as glitches and spam. Streamelements also has a merch offering for creators.
OBS is the free open source broadcasting software. It has several features that are useful for live streaming such as setting up multiple scenes, audio mixers, hotkeys, studio mode and much more.
Wirecast is part of Telestream's services and provides one of the most high-end broadcasting platforms with features to build your community and grow your audience. If you want your productions to have a professional, TV-like appearance, Wirecast is worth considering. Features include an advanced audio mixer, 5 master mixing layers, social media integration, and access to a large stock media library.
Xsplit broadcaster is simple to use live streaming software that offers high-quality audio and video. It has advanced streaming features such as scene and source transitions, custom scripts, and a scene preview editor. Another nice thing about XSplit is that there are many plugins and customizations to let you create highly branded and distinct broadcasts. Unlike OBS or Streamlabs, Xsplit desktop software is not free.
Mobcam powered by Mobcrush, is a free app and multistreaming tool that lets you stream on sites such as Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitch, and Twitter. It's a good way to quickly start streaming, though it doesn't have the same array of robust features you'll find on paid services. For example, you can't add external audio input and the system only supports a single video guest.
Hardware for Live-Streaming
You can start going live with only your device and an internet connection. You may want to add some better quality equipment at some point such as:
- Camera — If you want something beyond your device's webcam, you can invest in a webcam. Some of the most popular webcams are made by Logitech.You can of course use a built-in camera on your computer or phone as well.
- Mic — A good microphone can help as well. Rode, Blue, Shure, and Razer all make solid microphones.
- Lighting equipment — Quality lighting along with a tripod will give your livestreams a more professional look. For example, the MOUNTDOG Softbox Lighting Kit is an economical choice that gives your lighting the kind of even and clear look created by high-end studios.
Livestreaming Tips for Better Results
Facebook Live, along with YouTube Live, Twitch, and other live streaming platforms, are powerful tools for real-time engagement. However, if you want to get the best possible results from your broadcasts, you should create a strategy. Here are some tips and tricks for getting the most of the platform.
Facebook Live Tips
- Promote your events ahead of time and invest in Facebook ads to jumpstart your broadcast traffic.
- Be consistent and develop a regular broadcast.
- Engage with your audience and mention commenters by name.
- Customize your live stream to make it unique to you.
- Include a call to action such as encouraging them to like and share the video.
- Track your results to see what’s working and not working.
- Be authentic and build relationships.
- Connect your livestreams with your other marketing channels.
- Collaborate with influencers and other broadcasters.
- Create videos from your livestreams.
- Ask for and listen to audience feedback.
Promote Your Events
You can use Facebook Live, along with Stories, to deliver spontaneous, off-the-cuff messages. If you want a larger audience, though, it makes sense to promote larger events. Inform your followers, customers, members, co-workers, and anyone else via email, social media posts, and any other channels you use. If you really want to jumpstart traffic to a broadcast, you could invest in Facebook ads.
When you broadcast consistently, you have a chance to build up a fan base. Just as people traditionally tuned into radio and TV programs, they can tune into your weekly (or whatever schedule suits you) live-stream. Take advantage of platform features like broadcast scheduling to give your audience a heads up when and where you will be streaming. You should choose your timing based on the preferences and demographics of your audience. You can always experiment with different days and times to find the best time slot.
Interact With Your Audience
The interactive quality of live streaming is one of its biggest advantages but not everyone makes the most of this. Don't turn your broadcast into a typical video where you do all the talking. Monitor chat comments. Ask questions and poll your viewers. Make them feel like they're part of the event.
There are millions of live streams happening around the world. You need to do everything possible to make yours stand out. Aside from your unique personality and organization, you can customize your live stream in a number of ways. Add your logo along with custom graphics and overlays to brand yourself.
Include a Call-to-Action
As long as you have a captive audience, you may as well take advantage of it. Don't just say "goodbye" and sign off at the end. Always include some call-to-action, even if it's just to visit your blog, like or share your video. You may be promoting a specific event, product, or service in which case you can point people to the landing page. Even if there's no specific offer, at least mention your main channels and invite viewers to connect further.
Track Your Results
I already mentioned that you should pay attention to the dates and times that get you the most engagement. It's equally important to track all relevant metrics so you know what is and isn't working. Facebook itself (as well as YouTube and Twitch) provides you with useful analytics about your audience. For example, Facebook provides metrics such as peak concurrent viewers, which tells you when your broadcast has the most viewers. Beyond this, you can track data specific to your goals. For example, if you're trying to get sign-ups to your mailing list or sell products, you can track conversions. For objectives such as brand-building, you're interested in engagement.
Be authentic. It's good to present a professional image with quality audio and visuals but it's even more important to connect with people. Most of your audience cares more about your personality and good intentions than if you get the technology perfect.
Connect Your Live-streams With Your Other Marketing Channels
If you have an email list, remind your subscribers about your broadcasts. Post about them on social media. Create a web page to describe and link to your online events.
Collaborate With Influencers and Other Broadcasters
Interviewing experts in your niche or industry who aren't direct competitors is helpful for your audience. It's also mutually beneficial as the people you interview get publicity and promote their own projects.
Create Videos From Your Live-streams
You probably won't bother to do this with short broadcasts but you can make longer presentations into videos. These are good for interviews, educational presentations, and events such as virtual conferences. You can then post the videos to your website and social media pages as well as YouTube. Some platforms have a live stream recording feature that allows you to broadcast and record at the same time with one click, making it super easy to repurpose your livestreams.
Ask for and Listen to Audience Feedback
In addition to tracking metrics for your online events, you should also pay attention to informal comments and suggestions from viewers. This may include complaints about audio or sound quality, about the length or style of your live stream, or topics people would like you to cover in the future.
Live-Streaming is a Powerful, Evergreen Strategy
While many businesses and organizations started doing more live streaming and virtual events in 2020 due to the pandemic, there are plenty of good reasons to believe that this technology will remain popular in the years to come. The ability to connect with people instantly, independent of location, is extremely powerful. Live streaming on Facebook is a strategy that works for just about any type of organization or goal.