27 Crucial Do’s and Don’ts for Facebook Live Newbies

“Broadcasting live on Facebook allows you to reach your target audience with nothing more than the smartphone in your pocket.” - Stephanie Abrams Cartin and Courtney Spritzer, Co-Founders of Socialfly

Everybody and their grandpas are broadcasting live on Facebook. From giant brands like Redbull to small business owners, everybody is getting on the Facebook Live bandwagon and engaging with their audience in real time. And why shouldn’t they.

  • Facebook Live videos are watched 3 times longer than regular videos.
  • Native Facebook videos have a 13% organic reach and 6.3% engagement rate (much higher than the 1-3% you get on other platforms).
  • People watch 100 million hours of Facebook videos each day.
  • People comment over 10 times more on Facebook Live videos than on regular videos.

But when you’re just starting out, live videos can be nerve-wrecking. What if you forget your train of thought? What if there’s nothing to talk about and people aren’t amused? What if nobody shows up? What if it all goes horribly wrong? WHAT THEN?!

Nothing. You hop onto another live session the next day and keep doing them till you’re a pro. This is the beauty of real time marketing.

To get you started, I’ve compiled a handy do’s and don'ts guide of Facebook live streaming. So, dive right in!

Before going live

1. Do a practice video.

Before you go live, especially if you’re trying Facebook live for the very first time, I highly recommend you to practice a bit first. Not only will it help you with stage fright, but also stop you from making big blunders.

Choose ‘Only Me’ in the Privacy Settings. And practice for as long as you like.

However, don’t forget to click Public when you’re going live for your audience.

This is where you decide whether you’ll speak through your microphone or set it up on a mount. Can your audience hear you perfectly? Is there sufficient light? Will you use the front camera or the rear-facing camera? Is your stage fright under control?

Then proceed with the real Live session.

2. Do promote extensively.

The bigger the audience, the more interactive your session will be. To ensure that a good number of people attend your live session, you need to promote it via different channels.

You can,

  • Create a Facebook Events page for your live video and ask people to join in
  • Promote it on Facebook groups you’re on.
  • Send reminders to your followers through your Facebook page and profile.
  • Cross promote through other social media channels
  • Email your subscribers half an hour before the session starts and remind them with a link to your Facebook Page or Profile (where you’re conducting the session at).
  • Ask team members and other employees to follow a specific hashtag and promote it on their personal channels. This will also help you measure their efforts and find out which employee got the best results.

Also, write a short note educating your audience on how to use Facebook Live. Simple things like how to leave comments and feedback, how to turn on the sound, etc.

3. Do have proper equipment to film the session.

An iPhone or a good quality phone with a Facebook app will work great. A tripod’s even better.

According to Christian Karasiewicz, Founder, Social Chefs:

4. Do minimize background noise.

Lock your door. Send your family out. Turn off your mobile phone. Or this might happen.

Also, don’t Livestream when you’re expecting a super-important phone call.

5. Do ensure your spot has a strong broadband connection.

According to Facebook, “WiFi tends to work best, but if you can’t find a nearby network, you’ll want a 4G connection.” Because you don’t want this:

6. Do pick a spot with sufficient light.

However, you can add Facebook Live filters if no such spot is available.

Source: Facebook

Source: Facebook

Or get a lamp. Yaro Starak proves that you can make amazing videos through a $20 ikea lamp, too.

7. Don’t start a Live video right after you sent out a Facebook Post.

"Wait at least two hours before or after you post a Facebook live video. Otherwise, your Facebook Live video may cannibalize additional traffic."

- HubSpot's Social Video Manager Chelsea Hunersen.

When (after multiple self-doubt sessions) you’re finally live

8. Do create a I-absolutely-need-to-watch-this headline and a compelling description.

Headline and descriptions are not just good from the SEO standpoint, but also to lure your audience in. Use personable language. Don’t use industry terms, go for layman terms.

9. Don’t just restrict yourself to a sit-in live video.

You can do so much more.

You can give office tours, conduct Q and As, show behind the scenes exclusive footage, introduce your employees and team members, get personal with your audience by bringing in your family. Just think out of the box and try to make the sessions as engaging as possible.  

Here’s Ricky Gervais in a bath to inspire you.

 
 

10. Do create an outline beforehand.

You don’t want to stammer and forget your train of thought in your very first live session. This is where an outline prepared beforehand comes in handy. Outline all the important points you want to talk about in the Live session. Some of them could be,

  • Your brand message. While stating your brand message, focus more on benefits for your customers and clients, than features of your brand. More ‘you’ and less ‘I\we’.
  • Your CTA. What do you want your audience to do once the session finishes?
  • A list of points you want to talk about.

However, don’t go in with a fully fleshed-out script. A scripted live session is a huge turnoff for most people. Even if you make a few errors along the way or forget your train of thought, it’s all cool.

And consider media training for anyone who’s not immediately familiar with the do’s and don’ts of the company messaging.

11. Do broadcast when your audience is online. Even if it’s 3 AM where you’re at.

Use your Facebook age insights to find the best time to broadcast live. Look for peak times when your audience is online.

Source: Digital.Klood

Source: Digital.Klood

If your Facebook page is still new (or you don’t have one yet!), here’s a handy study by Coschedule to get you started.

Source: Coschedule

Source: Coschedule

Peak times differ from business to business, since everyone has different target audience. Experiment with different times to figure out the best time for your audience.

12. Do introduce your brand.

Unless you’re a household name like Amazon, you should introduce your brand in the beginning.

A simple introduction that outlines what you do and how your customers can benefit from it works great. Also, let them know how they can reach you by giving out your social media handles, website, phone number, Skype ID, etc.

13. Do encourage questions in the comments section.

Take your commentators names when you answer them. This makes everyone feel part of an exclusive tribe.

 
 

And have someone helping to the side who can read out questions, type in answers, respond to commentators, and give you live feedback.

14. Do prepare for latecomers with a small, snappy introduction.

15. Do subtitle some of your broadcast in the comments section.

16. Do ask your audience to subscribe to your Notifications.

Tell them to tap the ‘Follow’ button so that they can receive notifications when you’re next ‘live’.

Source: Facebook

Source: Facebook

17. Do add a CTA at the end.

You can tell you audience a bit about your next video, direct them towards a new offer/course/product/service you’re introducing, or simply ask them to continue this discussion elsewhere - i.e your facebook page, facebook group or profile.

Don’t end the video on a meh ‘See you next time’. Think of a strong CTA that aligns with your brand’s marketing goal.

18. Don’t conduct a live video with only graphics and no...live element.

People are tuning in to see you in person. Animated content, whiteboard explanatory videos and the likes are available on Youtube, too.

19. Don’t stray too far from the topic at hand.

Do you have a big event or product launch that you want to do something different for? Do you have a PR crisis you are trying to respond to? Do you want to connect to your customers on a deeper and more personal level? Whatever it is, pick your topic and stick to it. Try not to let the topics of conversation stray too far away from you.
— Alex Membrillo, CEO of digital strategy agency Cardinal Web Solutions

20. Don't create a live video using pre-recorded content. Facebook will punish you severely for that.

21. Don’t broadcast for less than 10 minutes.

Facebook recommends you stay live for at least 10 minutes per video, but you can go up to 90 minutes if you fancy. The longer you broadcast, the more discoverable your session will become.

Source: Facebook

Source: Facebook

22. Don’t try to hard-sell in your first Facebook Live video.

Give a solution to a common problem, explain a complex topic, or just talk. But don’t sell. It gives a bad vibe. You’re there to engage people, not hard-sell.

After you’ve successfully completed your live session

23. Do add a post-show comment on your timeline, facebook group, or facebook page thanking everyone.

24. Do add a trackable link to your description once your session is over.

It helps your followers find your videos if they missed your live sessions.

25. Do analyze your results and go through the metrics.

Source: Buffer

Source: Buffer

26. Don’t forget to delete the video if it was a complete fail.

Go to {Edit Video}, and delete it from there.

And, finally,

27. Don’t have high expectations from your first live video.

It could be a huge hit or a massive fail. In either case, learn from it and keep experimenting.