Beginner's Guide to Facebook Live

Facebook Live for Beginners

For a few years, the content marketing industry has been enthusiastically singing the praises of video content, and for good reason. One study found that videos get 1,200% more shares on social media than images and text do and 70% of marketers say video converts at a higher rate than any other type of content.

Video is clearly powerful, but now there’s a new option gaining steam that could amplify how far your video efforts can go: social live video.

The stats for video content were already compelling, but the stats for live video are even more impressive:

  • People spend three times longer watching live video than video that isn’t live.
  • 80% of customers say they’d rather watch a live video than read a blog.
  • 82% say they’d rather watch a live video than see social posts.
  • 78% are already watching videos on Facebook Live.

Facebook isn’t the first company to dip their toes into the waters of live video. Services like Periscope and Meerkat helped popularize the idea, but with the introduction of Facebook Live last year they quickly became the most important player in the social live video space.

If your customers are on Facebook (and most people are these days), then Facebook Live could be a powerful way to connect with them and personalize your brand.


How to Use Facebook Live

Using Facebook Live is intuitive. When logged into your Facebook profile, click on the box at the top as though you’re going to create a post.

You’ll see an option that says “Live Video.”

Facebook Live Video

Click that, then click “next.” The next screen will ask you to provide Facebook with permission to use your computer or mobile device’s camera.

Give Facebook Live access to your camera

Once you’ve provided permission, click continue and you’ll get a prompt to choose which audience you want your video to go out to. If you only want your video to be accessible to a select group of people, you can create a group in Facebook that just includes the people you want to reach. If you’re thinking the more the merrier, you can make your live video public for all to see.

Start Facebook Live

Next, you’ll get the chance to write a brief description of your video to help compel potential viewers to pay attention.

After this step, you’ll have one last chance to make sure the camera is facing the right way before you click “Go Live.”

Then all that’s left is to record your video!


7 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Facebook Live

While the section above covered the basic steps required to use Facebook Live, there’s more to doing it well than simply going through the steps. A good Facebook Live video won’t be something you throw together on a whim; it should fit in with your overall marketing plan and be designed to meet specific goals.

These seven tips can help you make sure you make the most of a Facebook Live video.  


1. Plan your Facebook Live events strategically.

As with any other piece of your overall marketing plan, your Facebook Live events should be planned out with some thought. Brainstorm the topics your audience is most likely to be interested in that would work well in a Facebook Live format. Could your Facebook Live event help promote another piece of content or a new product launch at your company?

Each Facebook Live event you take the time to plan and record should have a role to play in helping you achieve your overall marketing goals, and you should have a plan in place for the general structure of the Facebook Live recording itself. You definitely don’t want to get on camera and realize you have no idea what to say.


2. Do a test run-through with a friend to make sure it works.

The first time you ever do a Facebook Live event for your brand shouldn’t be the first time you use Facebook Live.

Create a group of one friend (or a few close friends) on Facebook and invite them to join you for a test run-through. You can make sure your camera and audio look right, test out different lighting and background options to see which provide the best effect, and get feedback from your friends on how your presentation went and what you can do better once you’re really live.


3. Promote your Facebook Live videos heavily in advance.

People are busy. While many consumers say they’re more likely to watch a video than consume other types of content, you’re still competing against a lot of other options for their time.

To help ensure your audience actually shows up for your live video, spend some time promoting it in advance.

Make a case for why your live video is worth the time and spread it far and wide via your various social media channels, on your website, and maybe even through paid search and social media ads if you want to get some extra reach. Using Facebook Live will be much more worth your time and effort if you can get a good sized audience to show up each time you go live.


4. Interact with viewers as you go.

One of the great benefits of Facebook Live is that it’s interactive. Your followers can provide comments and questions as you go that you can respond to.

In order to help things go smoothly, consider putting someone else in charge of reviewing questions and comments who can reply to some in real time, and pass others over to you at the appropriate moment to respond to them on the video. That way you can interact with your viewers without awkwardly trying to read everything they write while sitting in the hot seat.


5. Use CTAs.

Facebook Live events are an opportunity to educate your audience, engage with them, and personalize your brand – but they’re also a valuable opportunity to try to drive them toward the next action you want them to take. In the planning stage (see tip #1 above), figure out what you want your video to accomplish and how you can leverage it to move your audience further down the path of having a relationship with your brand.

Your Facebook Live video could be a chance to promote your new ebook. It could present a natural opportunity to talk about the benefits of a product. Or it could simply be a way to broaden your audience base by asking your current viewers to share and like your video in order to help raise awareness of your brand amongst their friends. Figure out the most appropriate CTA for your live video and find a natural way to work it in.


6. Re-purpose and promote the video.

When the video’s done recording, your job isn’t necessarily done. You can continue to share and promote it. Facebook will give you the option to save your video to your mobile device or desktop so that you can share it on other social media websites, on your website, or out to your email list. You can even pay Facebook to amplify the post with your video recording as you would with other promoted posts.

Efficient content marketers are masters of re-purposing.

Consider what other pieces of content your Facebook Live video can inspire. You could put together a blog post summarizing the points you made, or maybe a post or short video where you answer the questions people asked during your live video that you didn’t have time to answer in the moment. Anytime you can turn existing content into more content, you save yourself some work.


7. Use your analytics and feedback to strengthen your next Facebook Live event.

Facebook provides you with some basic analytics once a live video is done that can give you some insights into how your live video performed and what you may be able to do better next time.

You can see how many people you reached, how long they stuck with you, and how much engagement the video got. You can also see at what points in the video people dropped off, so you know when you lost them. If you make good use of the analytics, you can ensure that each video is a little stronger and more relevant to your audience than the last one.


Facebook Live is a good and relatively easy way to interact directly with your target audience on a platform they probably spend a lot of their time on. If you can catch their interest as they’re scrolling through Facebook, you can make a connection with them that could lead to a further relationship with your brand. If Facebook Live isn’t part of your content marketing strategy yet, now’s a good time to get started.

Kristen Hicks is an Austin-based freelance content writer and lifelong learner with an ongoing curiosity to learn new things. She uses that curiosity, combined with her experience as a freelance business owner, to write about subjects valuable to small business owners on the HostGator blog. You can find her on Twitter at @atxcopywriter.