How to Create Facebook Live Videos that People Actually Want to Watch
Facebook Live is a great way to engage your Facebook followers—and the algorithm loves it too. But it's a competitive arena to play in.
It’s very important that you pretend I am Kate McKinnon for one quick moment as I inform you: Live, from Facebook… it’s a streaming video!
Facebook Live video broadcasts launched in 2016, but with so much of life going remote in 2020, the medium has never been more popular.
Daily watch time for Facebook Live broadcasts is four times higher than last year. One in five videos on the platform are now Live. (And yet no one is watching my Kate McKinnon impression videos? Hmm. Weird.)
Conferences, trivia nights, concerts, Q&As, table reads, juicy behind-the-scenes gossip, your mom’s retirement party: it’s all coming to your feed, raw and uncut, as brands and citizen broadcasters alike try to bring authentic, real-time interactions to your computer or phone screen.
And for the most part, it’s working. With the opportunity for viewers to ask questions, join the conversation, react and comment, Facebook Live videos receive six times more engagement than standard videos.
Bonus:Download a free guide that teaches you how to turn Facebook traffic into sales in four simple steps using Hootsuite.
How to go live on Facebook
You can go Live on Facebook from your computer or from your phone. It’s like a tiny television studio is with you everywhere you go — what a world!
When you broadcast a Facebook Live video, it will appear on your Page, group or event, and may also show up in the News Feed or on Facebook Watch.
When the broadcast is over, you can edit and share a recording of the Live video on your page. What a treat for future generations to enjoy over and over again.
Here’s the step-by-step for your next lights-camera-action moment.
How to go live on Facebook from your phone
There are two ways to go Live on Facebook using your mobile device.
Using the Facebook app:
1. Go to the Page, Group, event or personal profile that you would like to stream your video from.
2. Tap Live, located at the bottom of your post composer.
3. Write a description. (This is where you can tag friends, collaborators, or your location.)
4. Tap Start Live Video to begin the live broadcast.
5. When you’re done, tap Finish to end the livestream.
Using the Creator Studio app:
On the Home or Posts tab, click the compose icon on the top right corner.
Select the option for Live post.
Write a description. (This is where you can tag friends, collaborators, or your location.)
Tap Start Live Video to begin the live broadcast.
When you’re done, tap Finish to end the livestream.
How to go live on Facebook from your computer
You can create Live video content using your computer’s built-in webcam and microphone, but you also have the option to connect higher-end production equipment if you’d like. I’m looking at you, Scorsese!
Some streaming software, also known as “an encoder” or “encoding software,” can be used in Live Producer. Other software that is integrated with Facebook’s Live API allow you to go live directly from that program.
Because of those variations, it’s best to look to the software itself for info on setting up a successful Facebook stream.
The best choice for you depends on the kind of content you’d like to stream… but many are free and open-source. Learn more about encoding software options and going live with streaming software.
How to go Live on Facebook from Messenger Rooms
Want to share your scintillating Messenger Room conversation with the world? You can broadcast your multi-person video chat live!
(Note that only the creator of the Room can choose to go live. Also, Messenger Rooms broadcasts only work using the Google Chrome browser.)
Once your Messenger Room is up and running, click Live in the upper righthand corner.
Give your live video a title if you’d like.
Choose where you’d like your Live video to be broadcast: on a Page you manager, in a Group, or on your own personal timeline.
Select your audience.
Participants are then given the option to confirm or leave the room. The room creator can also remove participants who do not respond.
Click Start to go Live!
When the fun is over, click Live in the upper right corner again, and then click End.
15 tips for using Facebook Live
Now that you’re a lean, mean, streaming machine, it’s time to level up. Get the most out of your streaming experience with these tips and best practices.
Just because it’s live, doesn’t mean it has to be sloppy! A little improvisation adds a flair of authenticity, but a rambling, endless video isn’t anyone’s idea of a good time.
Make sure you have a purpose — something you’d like to accomplish, a message you’d like to get out — before you hit that Live button. Think of it like an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. They may not have word-for-word scripts, but they’ve got an outline of the plot to work towards.
Creating a road map of the beats and talking points you want to make sure to hit will ensure your conversation is moving forward in a purposeful direction.
The unpolished, anything-could-happen nature of Live videos is part of their charm. Embrace this built-in intimacy and authenticity. If something goes wrong, laugh it off. If you’re getting emotional, lean into it.
By sharing an unfiltered, uncensored view into your life or business, you’re generating tons of viewer trust and admiration. Don’t be afraid to get real! (As long as it’s within Facebook’s code of conduct, of course.)
Team up with guests
Some of the most engaging Live content involves co-broadcasting: two or more people, chatting live.
Interview an expert, perform with another musician, host a Q&A or panel or take a tour — all in a split-screen broadcast. You’re a talk show host, and no one can stop you! No one!
Select a guest to go Live with during a mobile live broadcast from your page or profile.
For bigger groups (up to 50 participants!), you can broadcast to Facebook live from Messenger Rooms.
You could also use select streaming software on the computer (see above) to co-broadcast. Video conferencing software partners like Zoom and Bluejeans are one more way to broadcast live with multiple people. Get the whole gang involved.
Click “What’s on your mind?” at the top of the newsfeed.
Click Live Video.
Click Schedule a Live Video on the top left.
Choose your date and time.
Select where you’d like to broadcast the video.
Select an Image to add a photo if you’d like.
Click Schedule Live video on the bottom left.
When you schedule a live broadcast, an announcement post is created and published to your page: people who see this can click “Get Reminder” for a one-time notification shortly before the stream starts up.
Later, a post containing your live stream is automatically published at the scheduled time. Action time!
Live stream descriptions offer the ability to tag people, Pages or places. Use the opportunity to shout-out your collaborators or identify your location or business.
Not only will that help the viewers understand what the heck they’re watching, but tags will help the content appear in other feeds, reaching an audience outside your own.
Continue offering context
Your superfans may be watching eagerly right from the beginning of your stream, but others will be popping in and out. So make sure you’re helping give viewers context, no matter when they might be joining you.
Insert short and snappy recaps throughout your broadcast to quickly explain the who, what, where, or why. For example, at regular intervals throughout an interview with Austin’s most prolific dog hairdresser, I might say, “If you’re just joining us, I’m speaking with Austin’s most prolific dog hairdresser.”
Branded backdrops or on-screen text can help clarify what’s happening, too. You can also pin a comment that offers some context, or prompts engagement.
Take your sweet time
The longer you broadcast, the more people you’ll reach… so keep that stream a-runnin’.
Facebook actually prioritizes longer videos with its algorithm (videos that are three minutes or longer), so don’t be afraid to take your time. You can even stay live for up to eight hours if you’re using streaming software.
Actively engage your viewers
What makes Live videos so special is that they’re not a one-way street. Broadcasters can actively interact with their viewers in real-time.
Say hello to commenters as they tune in to your broadcast, and reply to comments and questions as they come. You can also pin top-notch comments to the top of the chat.
(If you’ve got a troll in the mix, never fear: You can block viewers during a live broadcast. Simply tap their profile pic, and then click Block.)
It can be tough to balance community engagement as you’re broadcasting, so don’t be shy about asking for help. With a second person moderating the chat or filtering for great questions and comments to share, you can focus on being the host with the most.
Create your own highlight real
When the stream is over, the fun doesn’t have to end. Trim any unnecessary footage, or create shorter clips, and share the final product on Facebook.
To trim a previously live video, go to Creator Studio and then the Content Library.
Click the Posts tab.
Check the box next to the formerly live video you want to edit.
Select Edit Post.
Select Trimming or Video Clipping and tweak as necessary.
Select Save when done. You’ll find the finished product under the Clips tab.
Use Live videos to help you get in on topical conversations.
Whether a major current event, viral challenge or a national holiday, hop on board whatever time-sensitive bandwagon that inspires you.
Facebook user Minks, for example, got into the holiday spirit with a live-streamed gingerbread competition. The mix of fierce competition with her partner and festive vibes got the comment section going.
When the people gotta know, they gotta know! You don’t need to wait for a dedicated broadcast time to loop in your viewers about breaking news. Just hit the “Live” button and point that camera in the direction of the drama.
During the heat of Covid, with so much changing hour-by-hour, news organizations made great use of this feature to share important new information with the community.
Here, Sky News Australia shared a live stream of Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews providing a pandemic update to citizens.
In order to share your screen with viewers during a Live broadcast, you need to go Live using your camera.
Go to Live Producer.
Choose Use Camera.
Go to the Setup menu and choose Start Screen Share.
Select the content you’d like to share.
Click Go Live.
To stop sharing your screen, click Stop Sharing Screen.
How to save Facebook Live videos
After your live broadcast, you’ll be shown a screen that enables you to post it to your page. Here, you can tap the download button to save the video to your camera roll.
Congratulations! If Facebook were like SNL (Remember my reference from earlier? Right off the top? We all loved it?) you would absolutely be promoted to the main cast, now that you’re an expert of all things Live.