What is Facebook Live?
Simply put, it is live streaming video that is sent to the newsfeed of your followers. It can also be sent to the newsfeed of an event page or group. As your are streaming coverage of your race or event to Facebook, other users are watching and are able to make comments as the event unfolds as well as "like" and "share" your feed.
Now you do not have to hope that the local news channel will send their community interest reporter out to do a piece on your event and hope it makes the cut for 45 seconds of coverage on the 10:00 news. You have the capability with the smartphone you may be reading this on to broadcast to a social media network with over 1 billion members.
Why utilize Facebook Live?
Did we just mention that there are over 1,000,000,000 people on Facebook? Now we realize that Facebook has made it more difficult to get organic activity on your site without paying them for ads or "boosted" posts. Facebook reports that if every post of every friend the average Facebook user has was allowed to flow through their newsfeed, they would receive over 15,000 posts. The bottom line: There is a lot of competition for real estate in the newsfeed these days.
So how does Facebook sort that out? They utilize ever-evolving algorithms that place greater weight on certain types of posts based on the medium and the relevancy of the topics content. In the earliest days of Facebook, if you included an image with your post that would get priority over just a plain text post. Then it progressed to video as technology evolved and bandwidth increased. At the present moment, live streaming content gets the highest priority over all other types of content. Some experts estimate that a live streaming video will be displayed on 20 times as many newsfeed as a non "live" post.
How to Successfully Leverage Facebook Live?
As simple as it may seem to just point your smartphone at the action and start streaming video to Facebook, to effectively engage your audience, you need to have an intentional strategy and plan ahead. Here are some quick hit tips to help you take your Facebook game to the next level.
- Assign a volunteer/team member to take on the task of shooting video for the event.
- Create a shot list of locations to stream live. This should include the start/finish and a few scenic or notable locations along your course.
- Hold the phone vertically when streaming live. If you hold your device horizontally, the video will display on Facebook sideways.
- Test your Wi-Fi or cellular connectivity at each location prior to the day of your event.
- Announce that you are going "Live" at the event on social media at least 24 hours in advance. Make the invitation enticing and so that it adds to interest in your event.
- Have someone introduce the beginning of your stream. It can be you or some other notable person connected to the race or your community. Have them talk directly to the camera for 1-2 minutes. Script the main points you want to highlight and have them practice it a few times.
- Plan to be "Live" for at least 10 minutes or longer. It can take a while for people to find their way to follow your stream. Give it some time to let your audience build up.
- After your event, circle back to the comments section of your live stream and respond to people who took the time to tune in and participate. This will create additional engagement.
Professional video production for an event is costly and out of the budget for most races. Thanks to the robust technology in the palm of your hand and a global outlet like Facebook, every race has the ability to go "live" to the world and increase its exposure. Follow these tips and you can put the Facebook algorithms to work in your favor without spending a dime.