Optimizing Your Facebook Live Stream to Reach Your Biggest Audience Yet

expand_socialAs part of social media’s continuous evolution, live streaming has emerged as a recent and growing trend thanks to a multitude of new applications. The medium truly took off with the launch of Facebook Live, which has transformed the way fans tune in to and engage with their favorite content. Facebook studies have shown that people spend three times longer watching live video compared to video on demand (VOD). Now, it’s easier than ever to broadcast a live event and engage your audience in real-time, maximizing fan interaction with minimal effort. Facebook Live broadcasts have officially become must-see events!With the surge of cord-cutting and the slow death of cable subscriptions, live streaming has quickly become a part of our daily lives. Across Facebook Live, viewers are getting real-time, on-site updates in an instant. Facebook Live gives you access to the world’s largest audience, with 1.5 billion subscribers (Facebook Newsroom), expanding your reach and increasing awareness for your content and brand. News feeds are quickly filling up with viral live streams from content creators like Tasty, Buzzfeed, and Chewbacca Mom (who has over 159 million views and counting!) Facebook Live even served as the sole news source during the recent Congressional sit-in, when C-Span’s cameras shut off, leaving viewers in the dark. Representatives used their mobile devices to live stream on Facebook, keeping their viewers and constituents informed and discussing ways that they could make a difference. Facebook Live is transforming the way viewers receive content as well as how they interact with their favorite shows, influencers, brands, athletes, and even politicians.In order to optimize your engagement, expand your viewership, and amplify your reach, Telescope has pulled together some best practices to help you create your best live stream yet:1. Plan it like a party! A good party involves a lot of planning and prep, but a GREAT party has an aura of naturalness – that little something-something that sets it apart from a normal experience. So should your Facebook Live stream. Planning includes a strong internet connection, a targeted audience, and a thoughtfully chosen time to start streaming. Live streaming allows you to come together with your fans in a more informal environment, but you want to be prepared to put your party host hat on and make it an experience that is compelling to join, and impossible to leave.2. Send out “invites” It goes without saying, but no one will show up to a party without an invitation – make sure you market your live stream! Even though video posts have 135% greater organic reach than photo posts, be sure to promote your live stream in advance to spark anticipation and alert your followers to tune in. Provide a catchy description for your live stream to catch viewers’ attention and ensure they are aware of the live stream before it happens. Remember – Facebook prioritizes live streams in user feeds, so live videos will appear higher up to their friends. Make sure these posts are attention-grabbing!3. Every party needs a theme You have the power to control your message, so have a targeted topic or focus for your live stream. Provide exclusive behind-the-scenes content, host panels or Q&A’s, discuss “hot topics”, interview talent, stream concerts, or anything else that will catch and keep your fans’ attention.  44% of content creators and brands are quickly jumping on the live stream bandwagon (Source: Brandlive Survey), but don’t just live stream because everyone else is – your stream has to stand apart from the rest to be a memorable and engaging experience. Orange is the New Black, the hit Netflix show, streamed live from the NYC and Toronto pride parades. The “theme” focused on gender equality and love surrounding the parade. Their live stream’s focus was related to the show’s message of acceptance, allowing the show to promote its central theme and brand without overt promotions of the show itself. Ensure your theme is logical, fits strongly with your brand, and is valuable to your fans. Remember, a viewers’ time is valuable – make your live stream feel worth it!4. Ensure conversation is flowing both ways Sometimes people at parties need something to get the action started – Facebook says users comment over 10 times more frequently on Facebook Live videos than other videos, so get your audience involved in the conversation! Address your viewers by name and react to their opinions and questions in real-time. This personal vibe will make your viewers feel invested and a part of the stream, as well as keeping them engaged throughout the stream, resulting in a longer viewer time. Telescope’s Live Studio platform makes your stream interactive in an instant from real-time polling to comments to air and more. Designed exclusively for Facebook Live, Live Studio takes your live stream to the next level with broadcast quality streams. By making your stream interactive and personal, you develop and nurture relationships with your viewers, which will make them want to come back to watch again.5. Expand Your Audience After the live stream successfully concludes, make sure to follow up to say thanks to your attendees – and to let them know when the next event will be. Create an expectation and increase anticipation with your audience by streaming at the same time, on the same day, each week. This keeps your “regulars” happy and encourages them to bring their friends along for the experience, while encouraging first-timers to join in the live streaming fun. A great example of why consistency is key is the Chris Gethard Show. This season they streamed across Facebook weekly, and throughout the season they saw a steady increase in viewers, with their highest rating by the season finale.