newOutreach • 237 Marketing + Web

The final week of the year, when we are locked in a post-holiday stupor but still trying to gear up for New Year’s Eve, many people tend to hibernate and wait it out. But what if you put that week to good use by learning a new skill that could help you in the coming year?

We’d like to challenge nonprofit organizations and businesses to spend the final week of 2016 exploring a burgeoning outreach tool. In fact, throughout 2017, we will teach you all kinds of new techniques you can use to elevate your brand recognition and customer engagement arsenal.

To kick off this business-improvement effort, our lesson in December 2016 will be …. Cue the trumpets … Facebook Live.

We’ve written in the past about the trend towards online video content (link to previous blogs about videos), and Facebook Live is a simple way to get started with the tool. Perhaps you’ve seen Facebook Live posts by other Facebook users; they often show up in the notifications list when they are happening. You can also watch live streaming posts by users whom you are not “friends” with. If you are not well versed in other video formats, such as YouTube or Periscope, Facebook Live is an easy point of entry into the world of video.

Here’s how to use it

  1. Facebook Live is accessed on a mobile device. So, if you don’t have the Facebook app on your phone, you will need to download that first. If you have a fan for your business that is separate from your personal Facebook page, you will need to download the Pages Manager app.
  2. Open the Facebook or Pages Manager app (depending which you use to administer your business/organization page). Go to the field where you would normally put a written status update. Click on “Go Live.”
  3. The screen will change to your camera. You can either point the camera backwards toward you, or you can shoot facing forward. You can change this preference by touching the rotating arrow button in the upper right.
  4. Facebook will ask you to describe your video. In that field, type in a description of what is happening in the video. Make it compelling so that people will want to watch!
  5. Before you start shooting, choose your privacy settings. If you are posting for your business or organization, you likely would choose “Public.”
  6. Don’t worry which direction (horizontally or vertically) you are holding your phone. All Facebook Live videos are transmitted as a square.
  7. When you hit the blue “Go Live” button, the video will automatically start broadcasting to your Facebook newsfeed. The maximum broadcast length is 90 minutes. Facebook gives higher posting priority to live broadcasts than other videos as it tries to increase usage of the feature. This may not be the case in the future, but it’s good to take advantage of it right now.
  8. Facebook viewers are able to comment during the live video, so you can respond right away by reading their posts. If multitasking is not your strong suite, or if you don’t want the video to be interrupted, you can have someone else read you the comments from off camera and then you respond to them accordingly.
  9. Click “finish” to end the broadcast. The recording will live on your timeline just like any other video. Facebook will ask if you want to save the file to your camera roll. Select “on” to preserve the video for future use.
  10. Facebook offers several tools for determining whether your live broadcast is effective. You can see how many people watched it, reactions, comments, shares and many other metrics. Access these statistics under the “Insights” tab on your business fan page.

It’s likely best to start with a few practice broadcasts. When selecting who will see the live video, you can choose “only me” if you aren’t ready for prime time just yet. And, if you need ideas for video topics, you can find suggestions on what to shoot in this blog post.

So, we challenge you: Use the final week between Christmas and New Years to learn a new skill that can elevate your customer engagement heading into 2017. Facebook Live just might be your entry point into mastering the video world.