15 Best Practices for Facebook Live

Written by: Jason Bayless | October 05, 2016
Facebook Live is a new, largely untested method of reaching customers all around the world. To best leverage this live form of engagement, digital marketers and the companies they work for should know a few simple tips about how to make Facebook Live a key part of a comprehensive digital strategy.

1. Don’t Use Facebook Live for Just Anything

A “stream of consciousness” might have worked for writers at the turn of the 20th century, but that style isn’t widely appreciated when it comes to live videos and the Facebook news feed. Indeed, most users aren’t looking for a video that requires them to follow along with the meandering, unplanned thoughts of its host. Instead, an effective Facebook Live video should focus on a single topic or marketing goal and stick to it for the duration of the broadcast.

2. Have a Sense of Purpose

Identify why a brand needs Facebook Live broadcasts and then stick to that purpose. If live broadcasts don’t fit with a given brand, they should be avoided. They’re likely only to become static, or noise, in a user’s feed without a clearly defined sense of purpose and a set of clear marketing objectives that drive content creation.

3. Prepare Like It’s a Real, In-Person Event

No marketing professional would speak at a seminar without doing research, preparing notes, and practicing before the main event. The same should apply to a Facebook Live broadcast. Take time to plan the message, create notes, practice a bit beforehand, and distill the most important information into an effective live feed. Users will be far more entertained and far more likely to engage as a result.

4. Consider it Part of a Broader Digital Marketing Strategy

Facebook Live is not a marketing strategy in and of itself, and it can’t replace other digital marketing efforts. Treat Facebook Live as an enhancement to existing Facebook efforts and build on existing target groups and opportunities as identified by Facebook Insights and other analytics tools.

5. Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment

Facebook Live is new and the rules are few. Take this time to experiment with live broadcasts to see which messages, mantras, hosts, and publishing times resonate most strongly with the target audience. Experimentation now will make it easier to be a leader in live broadcasts as the platform matures.

6. Create a Compelling Scene

A live video shouldn’t be shot just anywhere. A mini “studio” or a clean, organized area of the office is ideal for such an event. The company must make sure that everything in the video, from its host and message to its backdrop and surroundings, coincides with its brand image.

7. Have a Contingency Plan

Things go wrong in digital marketing all the time, but a live video doesn’t allow for them to be fixed as easily and effortlessly as a pay-per-click type or a wrongly scheduled tweet. Have a contingency plan to deal with lagging network connections, camera issues, Facebook glitches, and more.

8. Communicate Positively

Marketing tries to make the target audience feel good about a brand or activity. A Facebook Live stream should do the same. Stay upbeat and positive throughout the video, even if commenters are negative in some cases.

9. Be a “We” Brand, Not a “Me” Brand

Some live broadcasters get wrapped up in the moment and turn their solo hosting gig into an excuse to talk only about “me” or only about “the brand.” Remember that this live feed has an audience. They need to be mentioned, engaged, and brought into the fold throughout the stream.

10. Leverage Placement in the News Feed

Live videos are prominently placed in the Facebook feed. Take advantage of this to get the company noticed by more users than a typical post would allow.

11. Define a Strong Target Audience

Like a company’s broader marketing message, a target audience must be identified. Then, the video’s setting, host, message, and mantras can be more easily chosen for maximum effectiveness.

12. Go Live at the Right Time

Facebook Live videos are subject to the whims of daily scheduling. The best time to post is around either lunchtime or the evening hours between dinner and the end of prime time television.

13. Go Live at the Same Time

Live videos should be posted around roughly the same time each day that a stream is planned. If a company has success posting at noon on Wednesdays, make sure that each stream goes live at that time. Viewers will be waiting.

14. Enjoy Free Promotion in the News Feed While It Lasts

Live videos are promoted strongly in the current news feed algorithm. Take advantage of this while it lasts to get the company a few more viewers.

15. Remember to Repeat Key Points

On social media, people join and exit live videos at different times. Repeat key points throughout the video so that late joiners don’t miss the key reason for the stream occurring in the first place.

An Excellent Way to Reach Customers

Facebook Live might be new and different, but it still adheres to old rules about social media marketing and engagement. Define a clear message, chase the right target demographic, and be consistent with the dates and times when stream go live. By following these procedures, engagement levels will rise and the audience will grow dynamically.