Facebook Live launched in 2016 and quickly changed the social media landscape. Livestreaming on the platform has seen massive growth each year. According to Facebook, nearly 2 billion people have watched a live broadcast, and engagement levels are 6 times higher on live video than with traditional video content. For brands, Facebook Live offers an opportunity too big to ignore. Here are six common mistakes that brands make with Facebook Live and how you can avoid them.
1. Not being prepared.
As Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” The appeal of Facebook Live is that it has a somewhat casual feel to viewers and this can be a great way for brands to show authenticity. However, that doesn’t mean you can just show up and start speaking off the cuff. Brands that successfully utilize Facebook Live enter every broadcast with a clear plan. You don’t necessarily need a word-for-word script, and, in fact, you don’t want the stiff feeling of reading prepared remarks. At the very least, however, you do need a clear outline and plan.Another aspect of preparation that is vital to consider is lighting and sound. This doesn’t have to be a big-budget production with top-of-the-line equipment, but you don’t want to look like a joke with shadows and poor sound quality. You should also think about your location. A cluttered or unappealing background is something you’ll want to avoid, but you also don’t want a totally blank and boring background. Try to include some appealing visuals that are relevant to your brand and/or the topic.
Think about the connection as well. Relying on WiFi or LTE isn’t smart as you risk buffering or losing the connection altogether. Starts and stops are frustrating and annoying to viewers and will likely cause many of them to drop off. A wired, high-speed internet connection is always the way to go for Facebook Live.
2. Not nailing the beginning.
A big challenge with live video is executing the beginning well. If you aren’t prepared and don’t have a clear plan, it can be unclear exactly when the stream has begun. This is a hallmark of an amateur broadcast, where the video starts with you asking if you’re on or just looking confused for a while. For a brand, this looks very unprofessional. Investing in Facebook Live broadcasting software can ensure that your broadcast looks professional from beginning to end.
Waiting for viewers or a certain number of viewers before really getting started is another no-no. The first few seconds any viewer sees are important for grabbing attention. For the viewers who see you doing not much of anything, they won’t be enticed to stick around to see if you’ll ever actually start saying something worth listening to. It’s best to just dive in and start right away, even if there are very few viewers at the start.
Promoting your livestream ahead of time is one way to ensure that more viewers show up right away. You might even consider creating a Facebook Event that people can register for.
3. Not interacting with your viewers.
Facebook Live offers an interactive element that can be appealing. At its best, Facebook Live can be almost like a conversation. But for this to work, you need to actively engage with viewers as they provide real-time feedback. You probably shouldn’t be glued to the comments and respond to literally everything that comes in as that wouldn’t make for a very engaging video. But it is a good idea to plan a few spots in your outline where you will stop to glance at comments and respond to at least a few of them. The more comfortable you get with Facebook Live, the easier it will become to engage with viewers.
4. Not remembering FDA regulations.
When discussing a branded treatment, even in the seemingly informal environment of Facebook Live, you must follow FDA regulations. You must remember to disclose safety information and risks during the broadcast. Many pharma brands will focus on unbranded for live broadcast for this very reason. Novacure chose to embrace the extra regulatory hurdles with a branded Facebook Live event for its wearable glioblastoma cancer treatment, Optune. Using real patients and caregivers for the broadcast may have made this particularly challenging. but Novacure focused on preparation. “We had a draft script approved by regulatory and legal,” explains Cindy Machles, CEO of Glue Advertising who worked with Novacure for the event. Extensive rehearsal was required, but the event was ultimately a success.
Novacure used a moderator to make sure FDA requirements were met during the broadcast.
5. Not editing the video after the broadcast is over.
Facebook Live isn’t just for your live viewers. The archived video lives on and you can continue getting new views over time. In fact, the majority of total viewers may well be those who find the video after the fact. Novartis’s Facebook Live event for their Rise Above Heart Failure initiative ultimately had 36,000 views, only 1,000 of whom saw the broadcast live. Just like you shouldn’t neglect your live viewers during the broadcast, you should treat your future viewers with the same care. One way to do this is to edit the video by adding a title and description. Adding captions is also smart and may be particularly important for many in the online patient communities you’re trying to reach. Facebook will automatically create captions for you, but it’s important to check these for accuracy as there are sure to be some mistakes. As comments continue to come in on archived live video content, remember to engage with these commenters as well.
6. Not paying attention to your analytics.
You can learn a lot from analyzing your data post-broadcast. Pay attention to when engagement is at its highest during a stream, when the audience size peaks, when people leave. This data can help you improve future broadcasts. You may find the sweet spot in terms of stream length. While paying close attention to analytics can be very helpful, you can also consider soliciting feedback from your followers. Ask them what they liked, what they didn’t like, what they’d like to see from you in the future.
When it’s done right, Facebook Live can be an incredibly valuable tool for brands. It gives you a chance to show authenticity, and it offers potentially high engagement levels with followers.
How will you use Facebook Live in 2019?