In April of 2016, Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook Live would no longer be just for celebrities and large news organizations, everyone would be able to go live. Since then, more and more companies are taking advantage of this powerful feature that allows brands to connect with their audience like never before — in the moment.
In this post, we’ll go over the rational behind using Facebook live, plus give you some basic tips and tricks. So, let’s get started.
When and Why Businesses Should Use Facebook Live
Some aspects of social media just don’t work for all brands. That can definitely be the case with live video. Remember, just because it seems exciting to you doesn’t mean your audience feels the same way. When we go live for our clients, we do our best to make sure we’re sharing something compelling, as we don’t want to erode audience trust.
But with that being said, using Facebook Live can be a great way to interact with your audience and potential customers. So, when should you go live?
- Ribbon cutting: Opening a new location? Invite your fans in on the excitement!
- Behind-the-scenes at a hallmark event: Give those at home and even those at the event access that they wouldn’t normally be able to receive. For example, have a well-known speaker at the event? Conduct a short, backstage interview before the event to give those not in attendance a taste of what they are missing. Who knows, maybe that viewer will show up to the next event to see the speaker in person.
- Executive speech: If someone from your company is sharing their knowledge with an audience, take the opportunity to expand that audience. You never know, a potential client may be watching.
- Contest announcement: Running a contest or giveaway on Facebook? In addition to a regular post announcing the winner, go live during the actual announcement. One feature that brand managers love about Facebook Live is that a notification will be sent out to everyone who likes your page once your push that button to start the stream. In the caption, post something like “Announcing our contest winner” so folks who entered the contest (and folks who may want to enter the next time around) are empowered to join the stream.
These are just a few suggestions, but always exercise your best judgement. After all, you know your brand and what’s appropriate for your audience.
What Phone/Equipment does Fluent user for Facebook Live?
Here are Fluent, we mostly use Apple devices. From our experience an iPhone 7 & iPhone 7 Plus take great video with decent lighting conditions.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the basics of going live on Facebook. A little later in the article, we’ll take a dive into our quick tips for lighting and composition.
- Use a tripod: This is a necessity with any Facebook live stream. All you’ll need is an inexpensive tripod and a smartphone mount. You, and your audience, will be glad that you did.
- Tell people you are going live before you do: As we mentioned earlier, once you begin a live broadcast, Facebook will send a notification to everyone who likes your page. But as great as that is, what if someone who really, really wants to watch your live broadcast can’t because they did not have enough warning? Or more commonly, couldn’t open Facebook at work? If you want people to see your broadcast, give them a head’s up. Scheduling a post or two leading up to the big live show will inform your audience and will lead to more eyes on you.
- Publish a replay of your live video: One of the great features of Facebook Live is the ability to save a copy of your live broadcast to your page. This allows individuals who may have missed the livestream to watch it later on, and it saves you as the content creator from going through the effort of uploading and posting the video.
- Boost after your stream ends: Facebook’s algorithm isn’t as generous as it used to be, even with live video. Facebook will still send your followers a notification, but what happens if they don’t click into the app? Creating a sponsored post after will ensure that a wider audience than just those who like your page will see your creation.
- Have strong wifi or cellular connection: This is crucial. The stronger the connection, the better the quality of the video will be. That may sound elementary, but trying to produce a live video with a weak connection can lead to blurry, choppy video and degraded audio quality. Even if you have an average connection, Facebook will save a copy of the broadcast in standard definition, meaning that once you go to repurpose the video, it may not reach as many people than you would like due to its low quality.
Lighting, Audio and Composition Tricks
Lighting: For most circumstances involving Facebook live, you’re not going to be using any kind of a lighting kit. With that in mind here are a few tips to improve your lighting:
- Shooting outside? Shooting early in the morning or later in the evening when the sun is low in the sky can cast flattering light on the subject. Overcast days can also be good as clouds act as a natural softbox for the sun’s light. Shooting in the shade can also be good as long as there is not direct sunlight directly after the shade.
- Shooting inside? When shooting inside, find a room that has ample lighting. The image sensor in smartphones is very small, meaning that it needs a good deal of light for a high quality image. Positioning the subject(s) directly under a light can be a good idea. When shooting inside, it is important not to have the subjects’ back to a window. This is because when outside light contrasts with the indoor light, it will make the subject dark. An idea that works well is to put the camera in front of the window with the subject facing towards it. This will provide some needed natural light that the image sensor will eat right up.
Audio: Generally for audio you are going to be using the smartphone’s microphone. With this in mind, here are a couple of things to try to help give your audience an enjoyable listening experience.
- It is important to ensure that subject(s) are relatively close to the smartphone. While internal microphones have taken a jump in quality over the years, they still don’t rival professional rigs. The closer subjects are, the better the audio will sound. But remember to find a good balance when it comes to the subject’s distance from the camera and audio quality. Extreme closeups aren’t always a good look.
- Avoid small rooms as they will cause echo and, if outside, be mindful of wind. Cell phone mics are notorious for picking up ambient noise. A quiet room or setting will ensure your audience hears your message.
- Set up a dry run. This will help you determine the quality of the audio and let you know if your message is coming across clearly.
Want to step up your audio game? Purchase a small lavalier mic that’s compatible with your smartphone. These mics are attached to the subject’s clothing close to their mouth. It’s a small investment that can pay off big in the long run.
Composition and Setting: When we are shooting Facebook Live, we try to find a setting that adds to the broadcast or that gives us the best available light and audio. This generally means trying a few spots on location and picking the best. It may be a mural on a wall, an impressive lobby, or a location that simply gives great lighting.
When it comes to composition, we generally recommend following the rule of thirds. This means that the subject is lined up to a third of the left of the frame or a third of the right. This will change if there is a group of subjects. In that case, using a center frame technique will be best. Another tip is to reduce the amount of headroom above the subject. Generally we give at most 10% of the frame as headroom for the subject.
Ready to go live? These tips should provide you with the basics to do so. But, if you have any questions, reach out to us! We’re here to help with all things content creation and social media.