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How to Run Your First Facebook Live

Facebook Live is an interactive and fun way to increase engagement while speaking directly to your community — it’s a win-win for brands and audiences alike.

Plus, users are craving real-time content from influencers and businesses more than ever, so it the perfect time to go live!

In this guide, we’re covering everything from how to use Facebook Live on mobile and desktop, to how to create killer content for your audience.

Table of Contents:

  1. Why Use Facebook Live for Business
  2. How to Use Facebook Live for Business: A Step-by-step Guide
  3. How to Create Great Facebook Live Content for Your Business
  4. How to Repurpose Facebook Live Videos

Why Use Facebook Live for Business

Similar to Instagram Live, going Live on Facebook gives your audience an unedited and direct way to interact with you or your business.

You can go live from a personal profile, Page, Group, or even an event.

During a Facebook Live, viewers can like, comment, and ask questions in real-time, which is huge for building brand and customer relationships. You can gain valuable feedback directly from your audience, who in turn feel more connected and heard by you.

Facebook also notifies all your followers when you go live. This is a real bonus for discoverability on Facebook — your followers will get an in-app notification and your Facebook Live also appears in prime position at the top of their News Feed.

When it comes to how long you should be live, Facebook says longer videos typically perform better. The longer you are live, the more likely people will see your broadcast, get involved, and invite others to join.

But while going live on Facebook is gaining popularity in 2020, it still hasn’t proved to be as popular as Instagram Live.

This means there’s a lot less competition on Facebook, which could be a major advantage for your business.

TIP: It’s always a good idea to promote your Live before pressing that “Go Live” button — giving your audience time to brainstorm questions and pen down the time and date!

Ready to level-up your Facebook marketing strategy? Plan and schedule your Facebook posts with Later, it’s free!

 

How to Use Facebook Live for Business: A Step-by-step Guide

If you have a Facebook account and a solid internet connection, you can broadcast from anywhere in the world.

But although those are the bare necessities for a Facebook Live, there are ways to make your live broadcast even better.

With any live video, there can be technical difficulties. So with this in mind, it’s always a good idea to test and troubleshoot before you go live:

How to Test Your Internet, Microphone, Camera, and Lighting

The first thing you should do before going live is to test your internet, lighting, microphone, and camera.

To do a test, change your video settings to “Only Me” and give it a go.

Facebook Live Privacy Settings

How good is the camera quality? Is the lighting bright enough? Can you see your full subject in the frame? How loud and clear is your audio? Are you experiencing any lagging or freeze-frames?

These are all questions to ask yourself during your test run, so you can spot any potential problems and make adjustments with plenty of time to spare.

TIP: If you’re going live on your phone, save your arms by setting your phone up on a tripod in front of a well-lit background. If you don’t have a tripod, stack up some books and rest your phone at a level that looks good.

Remember to turn your phone on “Do Not Disturb” mode to avoid distractions too!

Facebook Live for Business: Step-by-Step for Mobile

If you want to host a live from your phone, all you have to do is follow these quick and easy steps:

Step #1: Head to the Facebook Page you want to go live from.

Run Your First Facebook Live

Step #2: Once you’re on your Page, tap “Live”

Go live

Step #3: Add a descriptive and engaging video description.

Add A Description to Facebook Live

Step #4: When going live on mobile on a Facebook Page, the video will be public, meaning everyone on or off Facebook can see it. You can change this in “Audience Restrictions”.

Public Facebook live

You can access “Audience Restrictions” by tapping the three dots in the top right corner.

Audience Restrictions

Step #5: Experiment with Facebook’s special effects.

Special Effects

Tap the effects icon on the left to choose from a number of different lenses, filters, and a drawing tool.

Facebook Live Effects

Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can tap the “Mystery Mask” and see what filter randomly pops up for you to try.

Step #6: Once you’re ready to go and are happy with how everything looks, tap “Start Live Video”. Once you click, Facebook will give you a 3-second countdown before you’re live.

Start Live Video

Step #7: While Live, you have several options along the bottom of your screen. You can choose to allow guests to join the stream, write a comment, add effects, and switch the camera view.

Finish Facebook Live

When you’re ready to wrap up your Facebook Live, select “Finish.”

Finish FB Live

You can either delete the video or post the replay to your News Feed. It’s generally also a good idea to save the video to your camera roll, so you have the choice to repurpose your video elsewhere.

Finish Facebook Live

Facebook Live for Business: Step-by-step for Desktop

If you’re planning a Facebook Live panel discussion, event, or an interview, it might be a good idea to go live from a desktop.

This is mainly because Facebook’s Live Producer on desktop has a number of in-depth options and settings you can’t access on mobile.

Step #1: Open up your Business Page on Desktop

Step #2: Tap the “Live” button.

Live on Desktop

Step #3: Once you tap “Live”, you will be directed to the Facebook Live Producer.

Facebook Live Producer

Step #4: On this page, you can add your video title, write a video description, and change your share and audience settings.

Step #5: Tap “Audience Settings”.

You can choose your audience based on age and location.

Step #6: To encourage engagement, you can add polls, questions, or links to your Facebook Live. You’ll find all these options on the top bar of the Live Producer dashboard.

Live Producer Dashboard

Step #7: From here, you can decide to go live with a stream key, your desktop camera, or a paired encoder.

And if you’re unsure which streaming option is best for you, here’s everything you need to know:

Desktop Live Stream Option #1: A Stream Key

To use a stream key, tap “Use Stream Key”.

Facebook Live Stream Key

If you choose to go live with a stream key, you can use external apps like OBS, Wirecast, XSplit or Be.Live. Once you have your stream set up, you can follow the three steps outlined by Facebook below.

Copy and paste the stream key from Facebook into the streaming software of your choice and follow the steps according to the platform you’re using.

Facebook Live Stream Codes

TIP: Be.Live is an awesome tool to help you customize your broadcasts from desktop. You can add your logo and brand colors, show live comments on the screen, and show up to 4 guests on the screen at once.

Desktop Live Stream Option #2: Your Camera

Choosing to stream using your desktop camera means you’re staying in the Facebook app and not relying on any other software to go live.

Facebook Live with Camera

However, it’s still a good idea to tailor your Facebook Live settings to make sure they’re exactly how you want them.

Facebook live settings

Once you’re happy with your stream, viewing and comments settings,  head to the “Setup” options.

Facebook Live

Press the drop-down menu and choose your media source for both the microphone and camera.

Once you’re all set, tap “Go Live Now” in the bottom left corner.

Go Live on Desktop

Note: There is an additional live streaming option: a paired encoder. Paired encoders are a more advanced option so only consider this route if you’re confident with the setup. You can find more information about using a paired encoder here.

Paired Encoder Facebook live

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How to Create Great Facebook Live Content for Your Business

Now that you know how to go live on Facebook, it’s time to talk about how to create great live content for your business.

Here are our top 6 tips for hosting an engaging and successful Facebook Live:

Facebook Live Tip #1: Promote Your Facebook Live Ahead of Time

Think of your Facebook Live as a ticketed event.

You’d never host an event without telling people in advance that it was happening, so you should regularly and strategically promote your Facebook Live before it takes place.

Generate interest by engaging with your followers ahead of time. It’s good to promote it where you’re hosting, on Facebook. But it’s not a bad idea to build hype and drive interest on other channels too, like Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Tell your followers what they can expect from your upcoming live, or share a quick teaser to grab their attention.

You can also ask your community to submit questions in advance or to tag a friend they think would be interested in joining to help spread the word.

Another way to notify your audience in advance is by scheduling your Facebook Live.

Once you schedule the Facebook Live, users will be able to select “Get Reminder” to be notified shortly before the Facebook Live starts.

ICYMI: Facebook will soon let you charge for a live event. Just like selling tickets to your conference, Facebook Events will soon have the option of charging attendees to join your Facebook Live events. Learn more here.

Facebook Live Tip #2: Go Live When Your Audience Is Active

Getting people to tune into your Facebook Live can be one of the hardest challenges.

But with a healthy balance between promotion ahead of time and a deep dive into your Facebook analytics, you’ll soon find the formula that works for you.

Facebook Insights, Facebook’s in-app analytics tool, offers a ton of valuable information — including when your audience is most active. Tap the Insights bar at the top of your Page and select “Posts” on the right-hand tab.

Hover over “When your fans are online” to get a detailed view of what times and days your audience is online.

Facebook Analytics Dashboard

TIP: Use Facebook Insights before and after you go live to see what worked and what didn’t. You will be able to see data like peak concurrent viewers and viewer numbers during the broadcast, which is the best way to learn what resonated with your viewers.

Facebook Live Tip #3: Collaborate, Collaborate, Collaborate

One way to step-up your Facebook Live game is to collaborate with others. Whether that’s conducting an interview, hosting a panel discussion, or involving fans. You can use external resources like Be.Live or you can do it within Facebook by using the Live With. feature.   

Live With is Facebook’s in-app tool to bring other people into your live video.

Here’s how to invite someone into your live:

  1. Tap “Live” at the top of your Page
  2. Tap the “Live With” icon at the bottom of the screen
  3. Select the person you want to invite from the list of viewers and tap “Add”.

NOTE: The person has to be viewing the stream and also has to be a Profile, not a Page.

If you want to bring in multiple guests, rather than just one and include your own branding to your stream, try using Be.Live.

TIP: Encourage your collaborators to promote your stream on their channels. This is an awesome way to bring more eyes to the broadcast (and potentially new followers on your Page too!)

Facebook Live Tip #4: Have A Content Plan

As with events or any video content, it’s a good idea to know what you’re going to cover. Planning ahead helps with dreaded awkward pauses and also helps to nail down key messages.

Before planning your Facebook Live, understand the purpose of it. Take a moment to think about what the broadcast is about, what you will say and do, and what you want to achieve by going live.

Break the broadcast down into a beginning, middle, and end. You can write talking points for yourself, but keep in mind that the best broadcasts are natural, engaging, and conversation-like. Your viewers may lose interest if you’re reading off cue cards or notes on the screen.

TIP: Always have a backup plan in place. If your Facebook Live heavily relies on audience interaction, have backup questions or topics in place just in case you’re running low on submissions.

Facebook Live Tip #5: Engage With Your Audience

One of the best parts of going live on Facebook is that you can talk directly to your followers.

When you begin, take a few moments to introduce yourself and ask your viewers to do the same in the comments.

You can encourage even more comments by asking a question in the chat and then pinning it to the screen.

Pinning a question is an awesome way for newcomers to know what’s going on in the chat, so it’s a good idea to keep swapping your pinned comment as the conversation moves along. Alternatively, you could pin a viewers’ comment or question to help guide the chat.

Be an active listener in the stream — or better yet, an active reader. If you can, have a moderator monitoring the chat, responding to comments for you, and flagging or blocking any suspicious behavior.

You can use the “Comments” section in “Settings” to help enforce a positive and safe community in your Facebook Live. For example, you can turn on “Followers”, where only your followers will be able to leave comments on your live.

Comments on Facebook Live

TIP: If you notice a spike in new viewers during the live stream, take a few minutes to welcome new joiners and re-introduce yourself and what you’re talking about during your live.

Facebook Live Tip #6: Keep Your Business Goals Top of Mind

Setting clear goals for your Facebook Live will keep your content plan focused and aligned with your overall business objectives.

For example, are you building hype around a product launch? Updating your followers about a company update? Driving sales for a product line?

Having a purpose for your live will bring a sense of structure to the broadcast — and will also help you to evaluate how successful your efforts are in relation to your goals.

How to Repurpose Facebook Live Videos

Once your broadcast is finished, the video doesn’t just disappear.

You can save it to your Facebook Page for your followers to catch up, and also save it to the device you went live on.

Finish Facebook Live

Give your video a new lease on life by editing it into shorter, snackable videos that highlight key messages or provide a quick burst of entertainment.

Not only can you share these snippets on Facebook, but you can also share the clips to YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, or another social media channel of your choice.

Even if you have a podcast, you could even extract audio from the video to use as content for a future episode!

So if you haven’t started using Facebook Live for business yet, now is a great time to get started and engage with your community.

Only a small number of businesses are taking advantage of this, so there’s never been a better time to grab your audience’s attention, build brand awareness, and convert your followers into customers!.

Ready to kick-start your Facebook strategy? Plan and schedule your Facebook posts in advance with Later!

 

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Written By

Jessica Worb

Jessica is a creative problem solver and a content writer. Jessica is from Winnipeg, a city smack dab in the middle of Canada — but is currently living and working remotely in Paris, France. Follow along at @jessicaworb.

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