Social Media Saturday: Tips, Tricks, and Best Practices for Going LIVE

I remember when I first became involved with network marketing (the first first time) that there would be NO way I could promote my business like the highest earners in my company. I didn't know how to stage and take beautifully manicured photos of my products, resting gently on a bed of burlap in a reclaimed barn wood box. I didn't have a fancy camera, expensive video editing software, or the time/resources to build and maintain a website or YouTube channel. My first venture into entrepreneurship was an epic flop, and at the time, I believed that it was because I just didn't have what it took to provide the kind of polished advertising efforts that people responded to at the time.

Fortunately for us, times are a-changin'.

Now, it's the raw, unfiltered and unedited appeal of live video that reigns supreme, and like it or not, there are no signs of it slowing down. When we utilize the live streaming features of platforms like Facebook and Instagram, we take down the barriers that separate us from our followers and potential customers, a fact that may send shivers down your spine, but will reap massive rewards if you know what you're doing. This week, we'll delve into some of the similarities and differences between Facebook Live and Instagram Live, as well as some pointers to help make your next (or first) live broadcast a successful one.

As Facebook owns Instagram, the two platforms are predictably very similar. Both allow users to receive a push notification when an individual or page they are following goes live. Both allow users to interact with the broadcaster, by sharing real-time feedback through both comments and by "liking" the video at certain points during the broadcast. Both also give the broadcaster a real-time viewer count. In short, the basics are the same, and you can build a larger following or convert your current following into customers with either platform.

On Facebook, not all of your followers/fans may be notified, dependent upon whether or not they have turned their notification settings on or off. It is visible on your page and is shareable by other users as well. Once you've finished your broadcast, Facebook allows you the option of posting the video to your timeline permanently or saving it for future use. It serves the dual purpose of real-time interaction with your audience and a long-term marketing presence on your page, where those who weren't able to join your live broadcast can still enjoy the information shared at the time. This is VERY important, as replay views often exceed the number of live views, and you may see an even better response after the broadcast than you did during it. Facebook Live also allows you to broadcast from a computer or your mobile device, and allows users to watch from either as well.

On Instagram, the live feature is housed within the Stories feature, and consequently, your live broadcasts will disappear after 24 hours without exception. When you go live, your followers will be notified, and your video will be given preferential placement in the Explore/Discover section of the app. This means you may find it easier to connect with more new contacts and leads than you would with Facebook, as it can be easier for them to find your broadcast. While a Facebook Live post lives on unendingly after the show is over, Instagram Live's 24-hour lifespan means that your boost in engagement or new followers from the video is much more short-lived. On the plus side, if marketed correctly, this can also add a sense of exclusivity and urgency to the content shared in your broadcast, as it truly is a limited-time offer.

All of the above considered, it's important to understand that both platforms can be incredibly valuable for your business, if used with the right strategy. If you or your business want to integrate live broadcasts into your marketing strategy, but aren't sure how or which platform to use, contact me to schedule a free consultation and to discuss the ways I can help!

How to Not Flop at Going Live by Rob

Promote Before You Broadcast: Before you go live, make sure you audience knows that it's happening. Even if it's only an hour or two in advance, letting your fans and followers know that you'll be jumping on can plant the seeds to ensure attendance. The more you can build it up as an event not to be missed, the more value your followers will place on showing up for you.

Location Location Location: Where you set up for a broadcast is almost as important as what you say. Unless the location is the reason for going live, select a space that is relatively quiet and free of distraction. Figure out where you'll place your phone or device, whether you'll hold it in your hand or place it on a tripod or stand, and consider your wireless internet signal when planning your space. Remember, even though it's a live feed and a certain amount of rawness is to be expected, you don't want glitches or poor planning to detract from the message you're trying to share. A little preparation and forethought can go a LONG way!

Do a trial run. Test out your camera/device and your space before going live. On Facebook, you can set your post to 'Only Me' so nobody else will be able to see you playing around. Try out the various settings and buttons, figure out where to place your camera, and use the time to plan out a general outline for your broadcast (What will you cover and how long will each item take?) If you practice first, there will be fewer surprises when it's time for the real deal, and you won't get caught rambling or straying from the topic at hand.

Be watchable. Above all else, your message and delivery will determine the success or failure. I've seen the most well-prepared, beautifully designed broadcasts go down in flames because the speaker was boring, lackluster, or disengaged. Remember, the element of live streaming that is so effective is that it's your opportunity to interact with your audience in a more casual, "real" way. Don't lose that by getting caught up in trying to be too professional or put together. You are your most valuable asset, and a live broadcast is the perfect platform to showcase that. Relax, and don't forget to smile! Introduce yourself (remember that not everyone watching will be familiar with you or your brand/business) and give some background setting the stage for your broadcast. Why are you the person to share the information you're presenting? What makes you an expert in your field? What do you bring to the table that your audience can't get anywhere else? THAT'S what will keep people coming back to you.

Close the show with a purpose. When you're wrapping up your broadcast, make sure to give your audience a takeaway or call to action, some sort of next steps for them to take. Especially on Instagram, where your video will not be available forever, it's important to direct your viewers (and new fans) to the next place they can get more of what you offer. Refer them to your website, Facebook group, or to e-mail you to set up a meeting or call. Harness the excitement and energy you create during your broadcast by turning it into action. If you plan to go live again soon, use this opportunity to let your audience know what they can expect and when to tune in. On Facebook, post the recorded video to your timeline as soon as possible, so those who joined late or may have missed parts of the broadcast can review it immediately. Remember that you can caption the post, so use that as an opportunity to draw people in and get those important replay views.