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6 Tips for Using Facebook Live for the First Time

Facebook Live.

It’s a little intimidating to use as a brand. Okay, really intimidating. There are so many positives to livestream videos…but there are also some terrible, awful scenarios that you will have nightmares about. (Seriously, I had nightmares the eve before our first go at it.)

Not to mention Facebook notifies all your page’s fans the minute you broadcast. As if there isn’t enough to stress over.

kjell.facebook.liveThe first time Colorado State University tried out Facebook Live was actually just in March, which could be considered a little late in the game since Facebook released its Live function a few months before.

However, we waited to try Facebook Live until we found a great opportunity that our fans would enjoy. (No, we aren’t talking about Puppies on the Oval.) Kjell Lindgren, an astronaut and Ram alum who had recently returned to earth from a space mission, was visiting CSU in March. Who doesn’t have questions for an astronaut–excuse me–RAMstronaut?

The week prior to our Facebook Live chat with Kjell, we gathered questions from our fans on social media. Then, we went live.

The Live video reached almost 200,000 people and had 40,000 views. Yes, we got a lot of love from the Live video. While we don’t consider ourselves experts by any means, here are a few tips we have for you if you’re using Facebook Live for the first time.

Remember: Only verified Facebook pages have the capability to access the Facebook Live function.

1. Pick a time limit and stick to it

As with any video on social, we decided shorter was better. We were hoping to keep it around 10 minutes, but ended up staying live for 16 minutes, based on audience questions. However, we recommend keeping it short. Leave your audience wanting more so the next time you go live they’ll be more interested in watching again. After 10-15 minutes, people get bored. Even if you’re videoing puppies playing.

2. Use a tripod and get your framing right

Looking back, I’m SO glad we did this. We used a small iPhone tripod and placed it on a desk in front of Kjell and Hayley (our moderator). We then adjusted the table to be the exact distance away from Kjell and Hayley that we wanted. The mini tripod still allowed us to pan back and forth from Hayley and Kjell to just Kjell on camera. It adds a little professionalism when all you’re working with is your iPhone.

The tripod and framing really made a difference, which you can see in the video (and the picture above). When a subject is too close to the camera or too far away, the whole experience feels awkward and uncomfortable.

3. Consider using a moderator

Speaking of awkward and uncomfortable: A face staring into the camera, and a mystery voice asking questions from behind it.

If you have a student, employee, or some on-air talent, ask them to take part in this. Of course, this isn’t always necessary. If we Facebook Live-d Puppies on the Oval, we likely wouldn’t need a moderator. But when it comes to an interview, consider finding someone who is good on camera to help fill the awkward moments and keep the interview moving along.

4. Find an interesting background

This can be so much harder than it looks. Of course your first thought is to do it outdoors, but sometimes noise or wind won’t let that happen. Actually that’s exactly what happened to us. There was a lot of wind the day of our Live video, and we had to move it indoors.

Luckily we had our #CSUSocial banner to hang in the background, and I think it added a touch of professionalism and thoughtfulness.

5. Check your sound before you go live

For obvious reasons.

We tested out the sound on our phones (both with and without a mic) on our own personal profiles (you can delete the video afterward).

6. Work with brand partners to get the word out

If you’ve never worked with NASA, you should find an excuse to. They’re wonderful partners to work with. We let them know about the Facebook Live interview with Kjell, and they promptly shared it.

Consider tapping into your networks, or pitching to social accounts who would be interested in sharing the information with their followers. When it’s time to hit “Go,” you can send them the link to the Live video, which they can then share with their fans.