Facebook Live Tips for Community Partners

Covid and recent social distancing measures have drastically changed the workings of many community organizations, at least temporarily. Since CHER launched our Volunteer Page, we’ve seen many community partners request different kinds of web and social media help. To answer some of those questions and to make life easier for others, we’ve decided to launch a series of blog posts under the umbrella of “Social Media & Digital Resources for Community Partners” — aka skills and tricks that are quick to learn but make a big impact on your digital strategy! This is the first of many “how to” posts to come on a variety of digital skills including how to make GIFs for data viz or photos, how to create an online volunteer form, tips for Zoom, how to record a presentation with voice over, how to create short links, and how to use a content calendar for your communications. We encourage partners to submit other requests to us at http://cher.trincoll.edu/volunteer.

Community Action Gateway students use a digital storytelling kit.

One of the first requests we received was for tips on using Facebook Live to host events or community discussions that were previously scheduled to take place in person. Many of our partners have turned to streaming on Facebook Live to stay connected to their members. Facebook Live allows users to stream events directly from their mobile phones, tablets, or desktop computers to their Facebook newsfeed, and allows for two-way communication between viewers and hosts. Plus, live videos generally see 3x the engagement that traditional videos do on the platform, so it’s a great tool to use if you’re looking for lots of back-and-forth conversation and wide reach during your event.

If you would like to borrow a digital storytelling kit (table top tripod, smart phone holder, and Rode Shotgun microphone attachment) to help with your streaming, contact Erica.Crowley@trincoll.edu.

Facebook has recently introduced Live Producer, which allows for streaming from desktop, laptop, or mobile device and includes newer features that allow you to simultaneously view your stream and comments, monitor your stream health, and create interactive components like polls and questions. Live Producer allows you to use higher-end production equipment and streaming software if desired, but for the purposes of this post we will focus on streaming directly from your internal webcam or mobile phone camera.

Before you go live

Before you go live, you’ll want to make sure you have an audience for your event. We recommend using one or all of the following strategies:

  1. Email: 3-4 days and 15 minutes out of the start of your event, email out to your list of contacts that you’ll be going live, and include a photo, short description, and link to your page. If your presenter has a long event with slides or a series of questions, we recommend sending out a public link to those too! (see how to create a public link in Google Drive here)
  2. Social media: Schedule Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram posts to go out a few days ahead and 30 minutes before your event start time. See instructions for scheduling Facebook posts using Facebook publisher here, and instructions for how to schedule Tweets and Instagram posts on Hootsuite’s free platform here. In your posts, include a photo of your speaker or flyer and a link to your Facebook page or RSVP form, if applicable (see example tweet, right).
How to go live from desktop computer

To go live from your desktop computer, you need to use the Google Chrome browser or you will get an error. First, go to your business/organization page and go to Create –> Live to enter Facebook’s Live Producer. 

Then, under Live Video Setup choose “Use Camera” and allow Live Producer to access to your laptop or desktop’s camera and microphone, like shown above.

Next, set up your live stream with a video title and 1-2 sentence description. Be sure to tag relevant partners in the description by using @[enter their name]. Live Producer also allows you to “Share Your Screen” during the broadcast and it creates a URL to direct people to the live videos on your page, as shown above.

There are several options under “Settings” you may want to use, but we think  “allow users to rewind the live stream during playback” is probably the most useful one.

How to go live from your mobile phone

To go live from your cell phone, simply open the Facebook app, go to your organization’s Page, and click “Live” under “Create a post.” Then, write a sentence or two to describe your video and tag your relevant partners by using @[enter their name]. If you’re having trouble finding the organization you’d like to tag, make sure you’re using their correct username. You can find this by going to their Facebook page and checking underneath their profile photo. The username should be underneath, and it should begin with an @ symbol. 

Share the stream and drive engagement

Remember to direct people to your stream using the strategies mentioned in section one. This will help keep others informed and remind them to join and share your stream at the time it starts.

When you go live, ask your colleagues, partners, etc to share the stream. Live streams from Pages (as opposed to Group or Event live streams) allow others to share your stream to their business or personal pages. You can also encourage other Pages or individual people to host a Watch Party for your live stream in order to gather more participants.

If you have the capacity, we also recommend assigning someone to live tweet or to have a co-host post in your event during the workshop to highlight key quotes by participants. See example post, right.

If you have participants who cannot join by watching Facebook Live, desktop Live Producer allows you to create a dial-in number with an access code that people can call. Listeners cannot be heard when they call in. See instructions here.

Moderate your discussion and interact with participants

Once you are live, a small version of your stream will appear in Live Producer’s right hand side, and the comments will appear on the left hand side so you can monitor comments and view your stream simultaneously.

Tips for audience engagement:

  • Read, react to, and respond to comments live by using the left-hand pane.
  • Create polls with up to 4 options or ask questions of your audience throughout your stream by selecting “Polls” or “Questions” in your right hand pane, like shown below.

Once your event is over, you should end your broadcast and Facebook will as you to confirm that you want to end the stream. Your video should automatically post to your feed so that others can view it later.

That’s all for now! Are you using Facebook live for your events? CHER encourages community partners to send additional tips for this post to erica.crowley@trincoll.edu.