By @TheMarkDalton

We have had Periscope and Meerkat for some time now, so the ability to live stream is not brand new territory. However live streaming from a device in your pocket at any time you like is still in its infancy for the mass audience and now that Facebook have jumped into the mix it means that anyone can start a live stream.

Businesses have now been exposed to the sheer power of live streams on Facebook following the “Chewbacca mom” live stream. If you haven’t seen it yet then you need to hit up Google and have a look. A live stream on Facebook from Candace Payne of her trying on a talking Chewbacca mask in her car and laughing hysterically has shattered Facebook Live records.

At the time of writing this article, the video on Facebook has clocked up a whopping 154 million views. In the first 24 hours of it going live, it was watched 71 million times. Since then she has been appearing on TV shows, full scholarships were awarded to her family from Southeaster University and she has been on the general whirlwind tour of going viral.

With an eye opener into what can be done with something so simple. Businesses are naturally going to be now asking themselves how they too can get a slice of the pie. Well, I can’t promise you viral success, but I can give you some tips on how to plan and maximise your live streaming efforts on Facebook.

Promote before you go live

It is important to let your audience know about upcoming streams you may be planning to run. While you can go spontaneous and just go with the flow at times, it is also a good idea to plan some content out too.

When you do plan for a live stream, make sure you promote it. Not just on Facebook but promote it using other platforms too. Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Instagram. Let people know what you will be doing and when you will be doing it.

You can also make an announcement post on your Facebook page and then boost it as a paid Facebook ad before you go live. That will guarantee you get more eyes on your upcoming event.

Prepare

Before you start broadcasting, do some preparation. If you are doing a live stream about a new product or you are showing off some behind the scenes of what you are working on then you need to make sure you try prepare the setting so that it is optimised for video.

Try to keep background noise as low as possible. Live streams are expected to be somewhat raw so nobody is expecting YouTube quality. However if you are trying to talk to the stream over intense background noise and they can’t hear what you are saying then they won’t hang around for long.

Decide who controls the camera, whether that is you holding it, you mount it onto something or your can get a colleague to operate it. Avoid distractions during the broadcast (so ignore your phone ringing silently in your pocket) and set an idea for how long you would like to broadcast for.

Relax

It is easier said than done, especially when you are in front of any kind of camera. However, try to relax and don’t forget to smile to the camera. Keep it light and entertaining.

If you are there all serious and business like, speaking in a dry formal tone of voice and not smiling at the audience then it won’t make for pleasant viewing. Give the audience a reason to like you and want to see more from you. Encourage feedback and ideas for future broadcasts, finish with a call to action.

Engage with the audience

Remember, you are live. People are watching you right then and there. If it’s good they will interact, they will leave reactions and comments. Don’t ignore them!

Engage with people who are talking to you in the comments. Acknowledge the audience, you don’t need to reply to every single comment but you do need to make an effort of connecting with them.

That will show people how much you appreciate their involvement by commenting and if they know you actually look at what they are saying and that you respond to their feedback, it will encourage them to be more active.

If you do your own thing and you ignore them all and what they are saying…well you are forgetting the whole ‘social’ aspect of ‘social media’ if you do that.

Practice

Before you run a live broadcast for the first time, practice! Try it out, get a feel for it and see how you do without having to exposure yourself to the entire world and potentially make a fool of yourself if something goes disastrously wrong.

To practice live streaming, just set Facebook’s ‘Who Should see this?’ privacy setting to “only me.” The live video will appear in the exact same way is it would do without this setting enabled, however the difference is that you can practice and nobody will know what you are doing.

When you do launch a live stream publicly, remember to add a short description of the stream. Something short, catchy and interesting that people will want to tune in and watch what you have to share.

Look at the feedback

Don’t ignore feedback, listen to what people have said during the live feed in the comments section and analyse the metrics when you are done. Facebook provides metrics for live videos which will tell you who watched a portion of the stream, who watched the total stream, how many people you reached and how many reactions you had.

Analytics like this are important so you can gauge what kind of content works, what doesn’t work so well and what structure you should consider using when you go into the future of live streaming.

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