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Have you watched or participated in a Facebook Live event recently? Given that Facebook estimates that about 2 billion people have watched a Facebook Live broadcast since it launched 2 years ago, the answer is probably yes. But have you waded into the waters of live streaming for your org? It’s actually a lot easier than you might think (seriously)! Here are some tips we put together to make you more confident about taking the plunge.
What to do before you go live:
- Prime your audience and let them know you’re going live beforehand. Post a normal Facebook post letting your audience know when and why you’re going live and ask them to join you. Once you’re live, comment on that post letting them know.
- Pro tip: email your list asking them to RSVP 5-6 days in advance. Then, on the day-of, send your email and SMS lists a message with direct links to the live feed.
- Remind your Facebook AND Twitter audiences that you’ll be going live.
- Identify key Twitter influencers you want to share your link once you’re live, so you’ll be ready to tweet @ them when you have the link. Twitter influencers can really up the reach of your video, especially outside your usual audience.
- Prepare copy for your video description. This is the copy you’ll use in your video description when you go live. Let your supporters know you’re going LIVE + let them know what you’ll be up to. Ask them to join you.
- Download Facebook Pages Manager app for your phone. Remember—you want to go live as the page you manage, not yourself!
- You should definitely plan to have someone monitor and interact with comments during the Facebook live stream. That way you can ban trolls and respond to supporters directly as comments flow in.
Ways to use Facebook Live:
Because we like you, we already did some of the dirty brainstorm work. Here are a few ways you can make this tool work for your nonprofit:
Promote your event to a wider audience. Events are great for people who are in your area and can attend in person, but everyone else is kind of out of luck—unless you Facebook Live it. Maybe it’s a life-changing speech, an awesome gala, the launch of a new campaign, or the view from your org’s Pride float:
You can also stream your rally on the steps of the statehouse or a petition delivery. (We have a feeling we’re gonna be delivering a lot of petitions in the next few months; think about filming and narrating your drop.)
Share “behind the scenes” access. Facebook Live is also a perfect forum to give your audience a more informal look at your work. Our friends at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation have been killing it with these types of videos:
We’re live on Maryland’s Severn River planting reef balls with Dr. Allison Colden as part of a new project to improve water quality.
Posted by Chesapeake Bay Foundation on Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Not every org will have a particularly compelling “behind the curtain” component of their work, though. That’s okay! Don’t force this option—there are plenty of others.
Engage your audience. Whether you have dozens of researchers on hand to offer expert opinions, or a policy staff member who’s been on the Hill for decades—all organizations have expertise to offer their audience. Host a Live Town Hall or panel where people at home can comment to ask questions. Or be like our pals at Planned Parenthood and host a Q&A with the luminous Lin-Manuel Miranda!
- Pro tip: don’t expect people to jump right in with questions. Things often pick up, but be prepared! Have people on deck to ask questions early on to spark the conversation.
Respond to breaking news. Facebook Live is also a great way to give your supporters—and the press—a chance to see what is happening right now. For example, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles live-streamed their press conference announcing a class action lawsuit challenging the unlawful detention of Vietnamese refugees by ICE. It got 11K views. (Yes, you read that right, 11K!)
Do a demo. Engage your activists by teaching them. You can demonstrate things like how to phone bank or how to write an op-ed. It will engage your audience and compliment your field work. Another way to bolster your field work? Birddog your target on Facebook Live!
And finally, a few rules to live by:
- Make sure your internet connection is strong or that you’re living the 4G data life. Try to connect to WiFi if possible, or bring a back-up hotspot with you. Nothing kills engagement like a connection cutting in and out (and if your connection is too slow, Facebook puts you out of your own misery and doesn’t let you broadcast!)
- Ask your audience to “follow you” when you’re live. When they click “follow” they can opt-in to getting notifications for the next time you’re live (woo!)
- The longer you go live, the more likely it is more viewers will see your video. Go live for at least 15 minutes and just remember: you can’t go longer than 90 minutes.
- Let your audience know when you’re finished. End with a signoff (like this):
Thanks for joining us! We want to hear about your FB Live adventures. Drop us a line or tweet us @mrcampaigns.