Facebook Live 101: Lessons From a Novice
Please let the record show that this is a beginner’s guide, written by a social media novice, who has used Facebook Live and learned some tips to share to make it easier and less intimidating to those who are nervous to try it.
If you’ve been doing these already, you probably want to skip the rest of this post. This is purely for novices although some of the mistakes I made will probably make you laugh. 😂
Facebook Live videos can be a lot of fun and it’s a great way to engage authentically with your following. It’s a way to create fun, somewhat spontaneous videos that can be instructional, conversational, promotional or purely informational about your business.
I wanted to share some of my technical tips that I’ve learned along the way and encourage you all to get out there. This world isn’t so scary and I guarantee you can have a lot of fun doing these. It could be a great way to collaborate with another business, too!
My first Facebook Live sessions were done in my office with just me talking about organizing tips. While they were ok and generated some decent view numbers, I struggled with what to say and they felt inauthentic. I didn’t have a great strategy in place and I was completely winging it. I think that can be ok when you’re starting, but it’s not sustainable.
Enter my friend Nancy Waldeck of Taste and Savor. She is a healthy chef, wine expert, and cookbook author and we’ve known each other since before either of us had a cell phone. She was wanting to try Facebook Live to connect with her audience as well and we shared some of the same trepidations. Over many glasses of wine we came up with an idea to blend our interests and name our series of videos Drink Wine Get Organized (tune in to our next airing on Thursday, August 3 at 3:00 eastern time). What could be better than to talk about topics that we both loved and share our enthusiasm!
By the way, all of the technical notes apply to iPhone use. I am sure there are similar concerns with other devices but I’m unfamiliar with them.
Before You Start
- Know what you want to say. I’d suggest writing down the points you want to make even if it’s going to be brief. Anything longer than 10 minutes is probably going to need to have some kind of script outline. The point of Facebook Live is to get your audience to know you so it doesn’t have to be perfect. We are not actors and you’re not performing Shakespeare. Keep it real but watch your “ums” and “ohs” and “like…”
- Check your appearance before you start just to make sure there is no spinach in your teeth. Little things can distract people from your message, like the open door I had in my background, so keep your appearance clean and simple.
- Check your background. The first one I did had an open closet behind me that someone pointed out in the Comments section. Clearly, that was distracting and they probably didn’t even hear what I said.
- Make sure your volume is up and your phone is not silent. 99% of the time, I keep my phone on vibrate so having the volume up isn’t enough. The volume switch on the side has to be on.
- Use a charged phone. Longer sessions can drain your battery so plan accordingly. You don’t want to be foiled by a “Low Battery” message pop up.
- Plan ahead! Let people know that you’re going to be Live at a particular time. This helps them plan ahead. I’d suggest giving attendees an idea as to your topic so they can ask questions in the Comments area. *People don’t know that you’re Live unless they happen to be logged into Facebook at the time you’re on so you need to tell your audience when you’ll be on. Don’t forget to account for different time zones.
- Keep in simple. Share 3 points or even 1 but don’t share all of your wealth of knowledge. People can absorb only so much information – simpler and shorter is better.
Now that you’re ready to record, here is how you start your first one.
- Log into Facebook on your mobile device. You can’t do this on a laptop or desktop. You can only do a Live on a personal page, not a business page. You can share it to your Business page once it has finished.
- At the top of the screen, where you would normally enter a status update, there is a button on the left for Live. Click that. Don’t worry, you’re not live yet!
- Set your screen’s orientation (vertical or horizontal) BEFORE you click Go Live! You can’t switch the orientation after you start. Just click here and look at the 3rd video in my videos to see what I’m talking about. 😂
- Pay attention to this next screen. This is where you put in a description of your Facebook Live that you’ll see later when it is posted on your page. You can edit this later but it’s nice to have it ahead of time if people stumble on to your Live event. Also, you can choose to send out Notifications, which will let your Friends know that you are Live. You also want to choose your audience, such as Friends, specific people, or if you want it to be Public.
- I HIGHLY recommend, especially if you’ve never done one of these, doing a practice Live where you are the only one who can view it (choose Only Me under Privacy). This allows you to test your audio, lighting, whether it’s horizontal or vertical. You don’t have to post it to your page; you can watch it later to test to make sure you can hear it and see it. I usually do a quick Live video just for myself to check audio and then I delete it.
- When you click Go Live you have about 3 seconds before it starts and you’re live! If you are doing this by your self via selfie mode you can see comments that people enter during the session. You can always respond to these later if you want. It can be a little distracting to respond while you’re speaking but it just depends on the type of video you’re recording. This is where an assistant can be of help, too.
- Use a tripod or some type of stand. I tend to talk with my hands and my audience would be nauseated if I didn’t have the phone on my stand. It’s one less thing you have to think about, too, while you’re filming.
- Don’t film too far away if you’re using a tripod, though. My first video with Nancy was too far back and nobody could see what favorite organizing tool I was holding up!🙄 I ended up deleting that video. It can be nice to have someone run the phone/camera for you but it’s not necessary.
- During a Live Recording you can see who is watching and attendees can make comments and like/love, etc. Those comments stay with the video. Once you’ve finished the video and post it, you can no longer see who attended. You can only see the number of views which will increase with time. This is different from Instagram Stories which allows you to see who has watched the video as long as it is viewable.
- Once your finish the Live, you can post it to your personal page and share it with your business page. You can also tag other people. You could delete it but I can tell you it’s not as bad you think!
Collaborating on a Video
If you are going to do a video with a friend, which I recommend to get over the jitters, know that you both have to be recording at the same time IF you want your viewers to watch. While Nancy can tag me in her video, MY followers have to go to her page to watch it live. They may not be friends with her so it’s even harder for them to find me. Run your own Facebook Live show even if it seems weird to have 2 cameras rolling. Yet another lesson I learned the hard way. 🙄
We now do these twice a month and have a lot of fun talking about what we love. We go back and forth sharing 3 wines, recipes, and organizing tips and strategies. We have a little structure in place but it’s always spontaneous what we’re actually going to say.
You will probably want to check with some of our fabulous marketing experts here on the blog if you have further questions – (Mandy Edwards of ME Marketing, social media (Erin Phillips of Pinckney Palm), and public speaking (Laura Camacho of Mixonian). I wanted to let you know what I’ve learned thus far through trial and error–these are all tips I wish someone had told me! Facebook Lives are a lot easier than you think and your audience wants to learn more from you. Trust me, you’ve got this.