Ready to Go Live? 4 Broadcasting Tips for Success on Facebook Live

More and more businesses are hopping on the Facebook Live train as it becomes increasingly rewarding to broadcast to customers where they’re at: on Facebook.

Whether you own a small business or have a large corporate brand, there’s no doubt that live streaming on Facebook is becoming a great way to engage with your audience and get more buyers (or whatever you’re trying to achieve.) With that said, there are a few things you want to prepare your video for before going live. Use the four tips below before you officially hit the switch:

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1. Pick a Device to Broadcast On
Most people broadcast to Facebook live from their smartphone, whether iPhone or Android. If you’re going this route, decide on whether you want to film horizontally or vertically. You can always move from normal camera mode to “selfie mode” to mix up perspectives.

While broadcasting live from a smartphone will get the job done, broadcasting live from a professional camera, game, or other type of equipment or streaming software can result in high quality audio and video which is sure to make your brand shine. External cameras like the Mevo Camera by Livestream can introduce HD cameras and more. With Facebook’s Live API, you can go live from an external camera, drone, or other high-quality machines.

Along the same lines, you want to look into the audio, stabilization, lighting, and overall feel of the video. Do some tests for technical purposes before the big broadcast so you can be comfortable that your Facebook Live is going to look and sound great.

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2. Plan Some Creative Ideas
Think of Facebook Live as a mini-tv show. This is your time to think outside of the box and grab the attention of your audience.

Brainstorm ways to put a spin on your messaging after you’ve decided the goal for your video. Consider using elements of surprise, humor, and storytelling to drive home an engaging Facebook Live broadcast. You could also run some kind of contest, group panel-like conversation, or do a simple Q&A to get people commenting on your broadcast.

Which leads to another point: respond to comments before, during, and after your show. People are more likely to stay invested and engaged on your video the more that they feel involved. Shout out some names during the broadcast, introduce them during the beginning when people are joining in, ask them questions, and get to really know them.

In fact, if you have the hands, get someone to monitor and respond in real-time on a different device than the one used to broadcast. This hits two birds with one stone. For more ideas, take a look at some well-known brands in your industry, small or large, and see how they interact with their customers online.

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3. Decide on Where You’re Going Live
Location, location, location. Take into consideration where you’re broadcasting from: both online and offline.

Offline, you want to consider the background: the type of environment, the colors, the depth. Pick a cool place that’s visually appealing to broadcast or that matches your brand guideline. For instance, a soccer brand might broadcast from the stadium or the field, or go simply with a drop down background color of their team with its mascot logo and team name on it.

Just as important, where you broadcast online makes a difference. With live stream software technology, you can go live with OBS, Wirecast, XSplit, and more. Figure out your setup so that you can go live on a Facebook profile, page, group, or event.

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4. Make a Little Script
There’s nothing wrong with taking the time to put some strategy into your Facebook Live. Rather than throw spaghetti at the wall (well, this could do if you’re an Italian restaurant, we suppose), plan out some ideas with a timeline for your video.

For example, you might decide that you are going to go live at 12:00pm and end at 1:00pm, during lunchtime. This gives you a frame of reference for the beginning, middle, and end of the story, contest, or conversation you’re going to have. Include talking points with some general minutes so the broadcast moves along. You can always have someone “run minutes” if they’re behind the camera, or even in it, so that someone is responsible for any talking changes.

Include times to re-engage your audience, introduce any special announcements or promotions, and more. Plan for people jumping into your broadcast at random times- every 15 minutes or so you may want to recap what’s going on so that your members have some context about the broadcast.

If you’re looking to do another Facebook Live in the future, or have an upcoming event, be sure to end the video with that information and drop a link in the comments so that people can get involved.

For more recommendations, visit the official Facebook Live Tips page: https://live.fb.com/tips/

Facebook Boosting Posts 101

Boosting to Better Facebook Engagement

Facebook Boost Post Button

If you manage a Facebook page, chances are you have seen the ‘Boost Post’ button. If you have ever used this feature, you have either come to love it or absolutely hate it. I hear both sides: some people talking about the amazing success they have been having boosting posts, while others complain that boosting their post does nothing for the engagement of the post. The truth is content plays a large role in the engagement of your post. Boosting the post only increases the number of people that are going to see it. If the audience is not interested in the message, the engagement may not be the best.

That brings me to one of the most frequent questions I am asked when discussing how to boost a post.

How to Boost a Post on Facebook

When Should I Boost a Post vs. When I Shouldn’t?

This is going to be up to your judgment. If you want more people to see a post, boosting it is a good idea. The content of the post is going to make the difference when it comes to engagement. I have had posts that had a total budget of $300 and were performing much worse than posts that were boosted for $25. In that case the $300 boost was paused and the budget was allocated to a better performing post.

How often should I boost Facebook posts?

This is going to depend on how often you post, whether you have multiple audiences, and again your judgment about your content. If you post once a day you could reasonably boost every single post. If you are posting more than once per day, I would suggest selecting one post that you feel is the most valuable to your audience and boost that one. If you post more than once per day and intend on the posts reaching different audiences, then you may consider boosting more than one post per day since you are not going to be targeting the same people with each ad.

If you notice posts that once got amazing engagement becoming a ghost town, you may be boosting too much. Try dialing it back a little bit and see if that increases the interest again. In my experience people do not mind seeing a boosted post as long as it relates to their interests. When they see too many boosted posts from the same advertiser, some people can get a little annoyed.

How much should I spend when boosting posts on Facebook?

This is 100% up to you. When you consider boosting your posts I suggest setting a monthly budget. On a low end, consider $100 per month, which will give you roughly $25 per week to increase the engagement of your posts. If you are posting five times per week you can allocate $5 per post if you wanted to distribute the budget evenly.

If you are not boosting every post you make, you can use larger amounts per post. As I state in the video, I would suggest starting off small, using $1-$5 boosts to test the waters, and if you like the results then put a larger budget towards the post.

Boosting posts on Facebook can be frustrating if you are not seeing the results you are looking for. If you find yourself not getting the engagement you think you should be, feel free to reach out to me with your questions.

How Should I Promote My New Website?

Author’s Note: You can find yesterday’s #Blog365 contribution over on Central Florida Top 5. I got to cover the arrival of the Mummies of the World exhibit at the Orlando Science Center!

One of our clients recently launched a new website (through another company). Since we’ve been consulting on their social media efforts, the first question they had after launch was a logical one: How do I promote my new website so I can get the most value from it?

As I’ve mentioned before, most websites launch with no fanfare. The only sound is the crickets chirping and the keyboard clacking.

But websites are a lot of work, and you should make sure you have a promotions plan taking shape so that your efforts do not go unnoticed.

The best route for doing so is always going to be specific to the business itself, but the options range widely.

You could celebrate with an event of some kind: a launch party, if you have the budget, or a Google Hangout on Air or similar live streaming event if you want to keep it all online.

You could put the word out in your email newsletter, inviting your subscribers to visit and explore and provide feedback.

And of course you can tweet it out, post on Facebook, and generally notify all your social platforms.

This kind of stuff is a given. And it should all be done soon after the website is launched. But the really meaningful parts usually start after the first announcement.

Hopefully, your website was built to be more than just a billboard. Your website design company should have asked you about the long-term marketing features to be built in to the site — things like a blog or a newsletter sign-up.

Ultimately, the best way to promote your new website has little or nothing to do with what you do right after launch. Although a short-term spike in traffic is nice, it’s your long term growth and commitments which matter far more.

Use your new website as a reason to motivate yourself toward implementing an ongoing content marketing routine, or approach an experienced SEO professional about how to start building your website’s presence in search. Start sending out that newsletter on a monthly basis, or launch that YouTube series. Whatever is the most valuable proposition for you.

Websites can be billboards, or they can be marketing tools. But either way, promoting them effectively for the long haul demands more than just a “New site is live!” tweet.

Should I Be On Every Social Network?

Today I was on a call with a prospective client, the executive director of an organization that is just looking beyond its first baby steps into the digital marketing world.

As we talked through our process for building a comprehensive brand strategy and online community, he remarked several times that it felt like entering a whole new world.

Even having been in this world for years now, I know what he means. Stepping into social media, blogging, newsletters, and so on can seem daunting to someone experiencing it for the first time — much like an international environment where you don’t speak the language.

With that combined sense of uncertainty and discovery, it is no wonder that the new user can fall easily into the zone of following every shiny object that pops up online. After all, that’s what so many of the people who “do it right” seem to do… right?

It’s true that many of the recognized social media industry leaders will jockey for invitations every time a new social network comes out. There are lots of reasons for that — the most altruistic being that they want to go there to report on its role in the overall social ecosystem and its potential value for other users.

The truth, though, is that most of the best social media leaders actually have favorite platforms that they frequent above all others. They may have a profile everywhere, and they may release posts regularly everywhere, but that doesn’t mean they are paying close attention to it. They could be — but it’s not guaranteed.

No matter how many social networks you sign up for, you are likely to always have some that perform more strongly than others, or where you feel your strengths shine. When you are a busy small business owner, this is even more important. You’ve got to be more strategic in making your choices; simply signing up for a social network because every else is, may not be the right answer for your success.

Social media truly is a different language. If you are taking the time to learn to speak it, investing the energy in identifying which social networks could help you succeed can save you hours of time and dollars of expense, and yield far better returns than a purely scattershot approach.

Otherwise, you may find yourself overwhelmed with content and underwhelmed by your results.

Beards, Buzz, and Community Building On the Internet

They say you learn something new every day.

Today, I learned about the existence of the Orlando Facial Hair Club:

The Orlando Facial Hair Club social media community building example

A community of people organized specifically around appreciation for mustaches and beards… featuring products and beard-related content and meet-ups of bearded (and beard-loving) people.

Notice that little number down in the corner. Their Facebook supporters number over a thousand strong. 

When I found out about this club, I couldn’t help but wonder — could this kind of group have existed without the Internet?

An admittedly quick Google search yielded little information. There are similar clubs throughout the United States, even an annual World Beard and Mustache Championship. And, as best I can tell, all of them have popped up since the rise of the Internet (and most since the rise of social media).

Community Building with Niche Interests on Social Media

Last week Greg asked me (somewhat rhetorically) how people made new friends before the Internet.

But I thought about it seriously, and concluded that, in my view, it seemed like the majority of communities prior to the Internet were contingent on a location, an activity, or both. (Think of churches, exercise classes, sports teams, and things like that.)

The Internet, though, is a wild woolly public forum for ideas and passions of all varieties. Social media buzzes with content of all kinds, putting a spotlight on the day to day, even inane, passions of our daily lives — things like food, movies, music, books, beer, even beards.

And because our online forums can be tailored for local use, we can move those conversations from where they start on the Internet, and take them offline — or make offline communities stronger by supplementing them online. We can pursue our passions together, offline, and geek out about them and share them with other people online.

It’s a beautiful thing.

(Personally, I’m grateful because I believe that the same phenomenon is fueling the rise of nerd-friendly gaming pubs in my area. But that’s another article for another time.)

Community building got a lot easier — and the potential audience got a lot larger — when it moved online. However inane the topic may seem, there are other people out there who care about it. And sometimes it’s the small passions that bring us together in the most powerful ways.

What are your favorite niche online communities? What offline or online communities have enriched your life the most?

Lesson #9 – Why Wireframes Matter

A wireframe is to a website design as a stick figure sketch is to a portrait.

In practice, it only reflects the bare bones of the site… the essential big-picture details.

In reality, it is your opportunity to plan.

It’s the first moment when the architect of the website sits down to visualize the flow of the site.

It’s the minute when they step into the shoes of the end user, imagining what they might need or want to find.

In the end, you create the structure that will be filled in to make something beautiful. Something useful. Something enjoyable.

With wireframes, you can get a sense for where the site is going, and give the client the chance to provide feedback early on. Rather than sinking hours of effort into a beautiful design, the wireframe is the architect’s opportunity to throw ideas at the wall and see what sticks — what really works for the project.

It’s an exciting process, full of opportunity and exploration. Whether you use a sketchbook, a grid lined sketchpad, or software, your wireframe is your first chance to open the door to a creative and user-centered website experience.