Facebook Live: Affordable gear to get you started live streaming

Why should you bother with Facebook Live?

Facebook Live is a fantastic way to showcase your business in a personal way. Why? It's live, unedited and real. People can ask questions which in turn helps start building audience relationships. With Facebook Live or any type of live streaming, your audience gets to see and know the person behind the business and their expertise.

Facebook is definitely King when it comes to social media. For the majority of businesses, your audience and potential customers will be on Facebook. Yes they might well be on other social media platforms too, but in most cases, people will be on Facebook.

Another reason we should be making use of going live, it now is the only notification set to 'Suggested' by Facebook when someone just likes your page! Everything else is switched off by default and relies purely on interactions. So make the best of it. Facebook wants Facebook Live to succeed.

So what do you need to get started?

Before you run off looking for special equipment, you don't need much to get started. Here was my list plus what I have added and built on as I go.

1. Smart Phone or Tablet

If you don't have a good smart phone and not due an upgrade for ages, don't worry, people forget that you can also use tablet/iPad to use for live streaming. Personally, my Samsung Galaxy S5 mini has very poor quality on Facebook Live (ok for Periscope) and I think this possibly is an issue with that type of phone, as I have seen others using Samsung phones (inc S7) on Facebook Live and Snapchat, experiencing the same type of delay issues on sound.

Solution: Levono tablets are really affordable and give me great quality for video, and Facebook Live. The sound is fantastic too, I did a live video, classroom style with no mic, and the tablet set up 8'-9' feet away and the sound was perfect. The model I use is an 8" Levono Tab S8-50 which is still a great tablet but is now out of date so I am looking at new tablets and will review soon.

2. Tripod for Mobile/Tablet

Once you have a Smart phone (Android or iPhone) or tablet (Android or iPad), you are ready to go live. The first obstacle is keeping the phone or tablet steady as this is essential for viewers, otherwise they can feel dizzy or ill trying watch a moving target.  Books can be used to prop up your phone but ideally you need a small tripod. The Arkon tripod is really sturdy and versatile. I also use it for my  DSLR, Canon 550D. This tripod comes the phone holder but as I wasn't using my phone, needed a tablet holder too.

When positioning your device, you need to keep the top of the device below your eye level as the camera is at the top, almost look over the top. Don't look at yourself, this will look as if you are gazing out at window somewhere. Try and test to see the difference. Another option, you can place a photo at the top of your device to help you focus and get over any nerves. The comments in your peripheral vision so don't worry, you will see them.

3. Lighting

At the start, desk lamps can do the trick but they can be blinding, heat up and cast shadows. At the same time, you just need to get started so here is my start out set. For basic lighting, the CN 160 LED light from Neewer was recommended to me. It comes with 2 filters, white and orange for a softer effect and is compact and lightweight. True, it is not the softest light but it works. It definitely is a great entry level light and can be used with any regular tripod. Runs on AA batteries although I would recommend getting rechargeable camera battery if you are using for long periods. Remember, it is cheap! So don't expect the best lighting ever but it certainly does the job and always handy for portable lighting.


Lighting Extras

A standard tripod is necessary for this lighting. I just use a cheap one that I have had for ages for my camera. To give you an idea, I've listed the best seller on Amazon below. This one goes to 60" so you might want taller capacity for standing videos and if you are taller than me (which wouldn't be hard!). Other considerations, a V-shaped hot shoe mount will allow you use both the camera and light on same tripod. Definitely isn't an essential at the start (I've used cable ties to secure the light) but I would have picked one up at the start if I had known about it. Having the lights directly in front of you can be very blinding, so I place the light slightly to the side and device setup directly in front of me. Play with it and try to minimise shadows. For this reason, I invested in the Neewer mini soft box. Again, not essential but also not an expensive product which does the job to remove the glare.

4. Sound

Using mics depends a lot on the device you are using. My levono tablet has really good sound so I often don't use my mic for daily Facebook Live videos but the bonus of using a mic, you can reuse your Facebook Lives and create MP3s so good quality sound is something we should aim for. Certainly if you are creating edited videos, you need them to look and sound professional. There is nothing worse than a muffled sound on a video, puts people off immediately plus gives the 'home job' feel to your business. Always remember, try to be as professional as possible. You don't need a mic to start but you definitely should consider if you are continuing with video in your business.

I've tried 2, the BOYA is a fantastic entry level lapel mic and I love the long wire so I can plug into my DSLR when I am recording videos for courses. You will need to install 3rd party software on Android to get it to work. I use RecForge. The 2nd mic I've tried, is one recommended by many, the RODE smartLav plus this will also need the 3rd party software. Sound quality is a bit better for sure but the wire is very short compared to the BOYA, too short to work from my DSLR camera for other videos so for me, the BOYA is the one I recommend first for all round, the RODE if you want better sound quality and OK to only video close to your device.


Tips for Video editing

Here is a great video to hide your mic from Justin Brown. Check out the rest of his videos for great tips on video editing. I've followed Justin for some time and can highly recommend him, he knows his stuff. 

Facebook Live Stream For Business: 15 Tips for Easy Live Broadcasts

Why Use Facebook Live Stream for Business?

Facebook live stream for business is fast becoming the best way to show the person behind the business & behind the scenes. Don't get left behind, it's easy, I promise. One of the main blocks with businesses online, is how faceless and impersonal they have become which really can be an issue in building up customer relationships. When you walk into a shop, you will ultimately make your decision on a number of factors which includes the impression of the premises and the person who you are working with. Online, we have to rely on a website instead of a premises and use our content and knowledge to build the trust of the customer, and it's not easy! This is why, using live streaming shows the real, unedited view of you and your business which is bar far the fastest way to building online customer relations.

So Where to Begin:

Here are my top tips to help you get started with successful Facebook Live Streams. Facebook wants Facebook Live to be successful, therefore it is the only option set to ‘Suggested' in notifications when someone ‘likes' your page, so make the most of it. Apart from that, going live on social media shows the face behind the business and really helps you to stand out from your competitors.

So, let's get started, here are 15 tips to help you be well prepared for going live streaming.

1. Setup & Space:

Create a setup with adequate lighting, good WiFi connection and minimum outside distractions. Poor lighting can look creepy, you know the kind I mean? I’ve seen a lot do this on live streaming. It doesn’t have to be professional lighting either but you want to look professional on your videos, right? This is your business after all. People need to be able to see your face clearly and present yourself in a manner you would be another business person on a casual level.

2. Phone/Tablet:
  • Have your phone well charged – Live streaming is hard on power.
  • Good WiFi connection – data hungry so be careful using your mobile data plan.
  • Set phone to Do Not Disturb – If this isn’t under Sound/Notifications, try a search on your phone for it or go to Google and search ‘Do not Disturb mode plus whatever phone model you have’.
  • Turn off all App notifications. Personally, I leave my app notifications off all the time and check at specific times during the day. It really distracts our concentration to have your phone constantly notifying you.
3. App to Use:

Use Page Manager to go live on your business page to avoid mistakes going on your personal. As a business, you need to use a business (ie ‘like’ page not friend) because it is against Facebook T&Cs to use a personal profile for business and they can and do close profiles down for this. Don’t risk your business!

Note: For groups, you do need to use your personal profile but your regular Facebook Live streams should always be on your business page. You can share your regular Facebook Live Streams to your profile if you so wish.

4. Topics:

This will depend a lot on your business. Just remember, going live is about showing the face behind the business and adding value to it. You want to create relevant topics for your audience. Answer a question to a problem or interest that they may have. Invite your audience to send in topics/ideas too. This always helps with engagement and let your audience feel like part of the process. You can also get ideas for topics from likes of magazines in your business area but always only cover topics that you know the subject well, don’t waffle hoping it is right. It is better to say if you get asked a question that interesting but don’t know the answer, to be honest and say you it, tell the person it is a great question but one you need to prepare and cover it in the future. This can always happen if the question is a big one that will take you off topic. If you know the initial topic very well, this should be a rare occurrence that you are asked something you don’t know so don’t worry.

5. Preparation of a Topic:

I am a huge fan of index cards and have an ideas box which I will share in another blog. Basically, use 1 index card for a topic and when you are ready to use the topic, expand it out.

  • Even if you know a topic well, do a quick Google search on the latest info.
  • Create 3-5 key points on the index card that you want to cover.
  • Save completed cards as you can always reuse them further done the line. The beauty of live, even with the same key points (which you can always just reorder), you will give different insights into it.
6. Time to GoLive:

Everyone will tell you different things, and what are key times of the day etc but I’m a firm believer, you need do what will consistently work for you. Being consistent is key to success. You might not have many or even anyone join the first few times you go live but don’t worry. People will see the replays so just keep going.

7. Be Consistent & Prepared:

As I mentioned, being consistent is key to success, no matter what it is, not just live streaming. At the start, it is ok to jump around to find a good time or if you have a large following already, but if you trying to build an audience from scratch you need to be consistent and show up! If you don’t do it consistently, why should your audience show up. Keep to the same time, same day as often as you can. If you can't make it on live, leave a post to let people know. Also be prepared and have at least 3 points you want to cover in the broadcast. This will help you stay on topic, I'm a huge fan of index cards for this, I use 6″ x 4″.

8. Pre-Advertise:

When you are starting out, let people know in advance when you are going live. To do this, post your topic on your Business page timeline, share into appropriate groups and if it makes sense, on your personal profile too. I find within the hour of you going live, post on my business page and about 30min before into groups works best for me but I go live at a consistent time daily, 3pm Monday to Friday. Also you need be interactive in the groups as a member before you advertise you slot so people recognise you.

9. Use a Catchy Title:

When crafting your title to go live, try different ways to word it. Ask a question will make people want to join more. How-tos work very well in general on social media so start your title with ‘Do you know How to succeed at ……’, other examples of catchy titles, ‘Are you making one of the top mistakes ….’ in comparison to ‘Here are the top mistakes…..’. Work on the emotional connection with your audience so they feel is it worth joining or watch the replay. Emojis can help your title stand out a little. It is normal to use quite a few of these on the likes of periscope but not as much so on Facebook Live. Personally, I use just 1 at the start of the title.

10. Your Voice:

Be enthusiastic! You are not reading the death notices. Speaking with a melody in your voice, be exciting BUT SLOW DOWN! You don’t want to come across as someone high on something either. Take breaths and pauses so the information can be absorbed. Get yourself in the mood by playing your favourite song. Be genuine! Don’t try to be like anyone else. I know most of us start out thinking, but I hate my voice! Trust me, this is simply because it is unfamiliar to hear yourself from a different angle. The direction of sound waves changes what we hear to what we sound like to ourselves. Only one way to get over it, PRACTICE! You have to just start somewhere.

11. Start Immediately:

After you hit go on Facebook Live you get a 3, 2, 1 countdown and then you go live. You need to start immediately with what your topic is about. Remember, even if no one is watching immediately, your replay viewers will see from the start.

12. Intros & Expertise:

After you have given a quick overview of your topic, it is a good idea to very briefly just introduce yourself and your expertise/experience relating to what you are about to talk about in your topic.

13. Stay on Topic:

Sometimes you can get asked questions that are off topic, if they can be answered in a one liner, do it or if they do relate to what you are talking about but don’t drift completely away from your original topic. You can always follow up on a subsequent day where you can expand. I always thank the person for a great question, if possible give a very brief answer but promise to follow up with the topic in another Facebook Live as that is what the question warrants. After the live session, I will PM the person and give them a bit more info if they need the advice immediately and let them know when I am going to do the live on their topic.

14. While You Are Live:

I’ll be honest, I’m not a fan of asking people to just share but it does depend on the relevance of your business to the friends of the people watching. As people watch on personal profiles, their friends list shouldn’t be for business (because we don’t use personal profiles for business right!) but my audience is other business owners. I do share Live broadcasts of music etc to my page as a lot of my friends will be interested.

So you want to remind people to:

  • Instead of share, ask to Invite anyone you think could benefit from the broadcast but this is totally up to you and does depend on the audience of your business.
  • Remind people to comment, even replay viewers.
  • Give some insight to what you will talk about in your next live video and a reminder when it will be.
15. When Finished:

You can always go back in and edit the title. Also, from as laptop/browser, under Videos on your Facebook page, you can create Playlists and put all your videos in suitable playlists including Facebook Live where you can keep a neat selection of your live videos. You can also edit individual videos under Video Library and set to Expire on a date or Expired (unpublish).

There lots of options in here to explore from tags to crossposting so you can have you video show on other pages that you are admin of. You need to set this up from the left menu, Videos you can cross Post then on individual videos, simply switch on which to cross post to under the tab.

Finally, you can reorder the tabs on your Page to have videos easily seen by people on the app.

Bonus:   Always keep a drink and tissues handy, you never know when you will need them. When we are talking a lot, our throat and mouth can get very dry …… trust me! Main thing, is to relax and enjoy and let everyone see how great your really are.