The Author's Guide For a Successful Facebook Live
The first time I tried to sit in front of a camera to do a quick two minute video it took well over an hour. It was a mess. I kept stumbling over my words, my mouth got dry, I was nervous and...uff...it just wasn't good.
So when Facebook announced Facebook Live I thought, "Oh isn't that nice....I won't be doing THAT anytime soon!" If I couldn't do a simple two minute video how could I do something LIVE??
I have a feeling many of you might relate to that statement. What if I screw up? What if no one shows up? What on earth do I talk about? What if I have a coughing fit?
There are a million "what if" hesitations that we toss out there. I know because I've been there and used every single one of them!
But here's the deal - Facebook Live is, hands down, one of the best ways that you can boost your engagement and visibility on Facebook. If your reach is struggling and you don't have a budget for Facebook ads, Facebook Live is the answer.
And, I have to say, it's not nearly as scary as you might think. Yes, it's intimidating to put yourself out there, but once you do it and get over that initial fear, it's not nearly as bad as you imagine it is.
So today I'm going to give you some insight and tips for you to incorporate Facebook Live into your plan AND I'm going to share 40 ideas with you that you can use to get the conversations rolling on your feed.
Five Important Details
There are a few details to keep in mind before you get things rolling on Facebook Live. Be sure to check out this helpful FAQ page to answer some of your technical questions.
1) You want to make sure that you have a decent internet connection, at least a 4G connection - use WiFi if you can.
2) Your videos can be up to 90 minutes long, but try to go no less than 10 minutes. Facebook suggests this to make sure that you get more views and gives people time to see you live.
3) Announce that you'll be on Facebook Live at least a day in advance. Post what time you'll be going live along with the topic you'll be discussing to get people interested. Share it with your newsletter subscribers and on your other social media accounts to let people know and how they can tune in.
4) When you finish your broadcast, your video will automatically be saved to your timeline. But if you don't want to save it, you can delete it.
5) After your broadcast you can actually save or download your video so you can upload it to YouTube and/or Vimeo to embed on your blog.
Let's Address Some Of Your Facebook Live Fears
What if no one shows up?
You know what? They might not show up right at first...and that's OK! In fact, the first few times you do a live broadcast that just might be the case. But here's the thing - they WILL eventually show up. And the video is kept on your timeline so people who didn't see it live will be able to see the replay. The more consistent you are with it the more people will want to show up live.
Something that you might try is offering an exclusive gift or discount for those who show up live. Or you could say that the video won't be available after the live broadcast, so they need to show up live for your content. Adding an element of urgency and exclusivity is a great way to boost your live audience.
What if I screw up?
Don't feel like you have to be Lester Holt on the NBC Nightly News when you get on Facebook Live - it doesn't have to be perfect. You just need to be yourself. Get yourself in the mindset of sitting down with a friend to discuss a particular topic. In real life conversations, sometimes you have to go back and explain something or adjust something. That's totally cool. Don't let the fear of screwing up hold you back from trying it.
I'm Awful In Front Of A Camera
If you feel uncomfortable in front of the camera or feel like you're going to clam up, I have a suggestion for you. I actually did this and it was a big help. Take your smartphone or sit in front of your computer's camera and practice. You don't need to post the video or even watch it - simply practice. Sitting in front of a camera isn't something that always comes naturally. But with practice it becomes more comfortable and familiar. Give yourself some time and before you know it, it will be no big deal.
How To Make Your Facebook Live A Success
Being consistent is the best way to see success on Facebook Live. Whether you do a weekly or even a monthly broadcast, keep it on the same day and time if possible, like "First Friday Facebook Live" for example. Consistency is key to not only growing your engagement and audience but it will help you get better with your broadcasts as well.
Ask Your Viewers Questions
Once people start joining you live, be sure to ask them questions during the broadcast to encourage engagement. You can give people a shout-out or thank them by name for joining. And you can answer their questions live OR you can answer them in the comments section after you wrap up.
End With A Call To Action
For example, if you have a blog post that goes along with your Facebook Live broadcast, post a link to that post in the comments section and ask them to click and read the post. Or you could ask viewers to subscribe to live notifications if they enjoyed your content. That way they will be notified the next time you are live.
40 Facebook Live Topic Ideas
If you're hung up on what you should actually talk about during a Facebook Live broadcast, here are more than 40 ideas to help you get started.
- Launch your book through a live broadcast.
- Share where you’re doing research for your new book. Talk them through what you’re looking into.
- Review the latest book you read.
- Hold a monthly book club meeting.
- Reveal the cover of your new book.
- Have readers submit questions that you can answer live.
- Do a live reading of your latest book and take questions.
- Interview a fellow writer or someone you admire.
- Talk about the progress on your latest book.
- Give people the "behind the scene" details of your editing and publishing process.
- Show your hobbies (a collection, cooking, gardening, woodworking, etc.).
- Share what inspired you to become a writer.
- Review your favorite work tools (software, hardware, office accessories, etc.).
- Share your biggest mistake as a writer and what you learned from it.
- Talk about your writing philosophy or approach.
- Share the albums or songs that you love to listen to as you write.
- Share your favorite place to write. If you have special things on your desk, share their significance.
- Talk about how you stay motivated or inspired to write.
- Talk about the biggest obstacle you have faced as a writer and how you have overcome it or are overcoming it.
- Talk about what makes your writing or books different than others.
- Take viewers to your favorite spot in the area that you live in.
- Take fans along to a conference that you’re going to and share the highlights.
- Go through your morning routine.
- Share a funny story or situation that happened to you.
- Share the best investments you’ve ever made for your writing career.
- Show people how to use a product.
- Talk about a news topic and share your thoughts.
- Teach how to do something. Have any good "life hacks?"
- Talk through details of your latest blog post.
- Do a tour of your town, your favorite inspirational stops, etc.
- Show off your talents!
- If you’re speaking at an event, give people a back stage peek or share what you’ll talk about.
- Describe how you came up with the idea for your latest book.
- Introduce your characters - talk about them and what readers can expect.
- Talk about who inspired your characters or how they came to be.
- Give your readers a sneak peek at new characters you're developing for your new book.
- Go into more detail regarding certain blog posts you've shared.
- Talk about a cause or organization that you’re involved with or passionate about.
- Share who inspired you to start writing and talk about why that was so instrumental to you.
- Talk about an alternative ending for your book that didn’t make it in the final cut.
The best thing that you can do for your Facebook Live broadcast is be prepared. Write out some notes or reminders to keep you on track, and run through it a few times so you're comfortable presenting the information.
But remember, it doesn't have to be perfect. Give yourself some grace and time - before you know it, you'll be a pro.