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How to plan your first Facebook Live stream

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More and more, universities are using Facebook and Instagram Live as away to not only live-stream events but also to engage their communities through content that's seen as fresh and fun. With the addition of world-wide giving and engagement events such as giving days growing in popularity, live social content provides the opportunity to communicate with a much wider audience. Encouraging alumni and supporters from all over the world to be involved in an experience that leaves them feeling as if they've just watched something that was exclusively meant for only them.

In this post we'll cover how live streaming started, examples of those who are already using it and how you can get started.

Where it all began

Facebook introduced live streaming to give users the ability to broadcast their day-to-day social lives. With this new feature being so easily accessible, Facebook's users were able to engage with their friends in real time in a way that was authentically raw. Soon after launching, businesses and other social influencers quickly saw live streaming as a way to connect with their followers on a whole nother level. Live streaming completely broke down the barriers of communication. Followers w ere no longer limited by physical proximity or cost, which may have otherwise deterred them from attending an event. All their followers needed was their mobile phone and a decent internet connection, and insto-presto, engagement city.

For the pop culture set and social influencers, live broadcasts created exclusive moments for them to share their everyday lives with their followers. Letting their followers in on behind the scenes exclusives or intimate content that, if used well, increased their following even more. And who doesn't want more followers?

For those who like to consider the numbers, here are some stats:

  • 77% of millennials are consuming live content on mobile
  • Facebook live streams generate 10x more engagement than standard Facebook videos
  • 43% of Facebook live viewers watch a video because they found the content interesting
  • Facebook live videos are watched 3x longer than regular videos

How are universities using live streamed content to boost engagement?

The University of Essex has used Facebook Live to provide a sneak peek of its graduation, bringing the ceremony closer to the rest of its audience in real time.

Texas Christian University has used Facebook Live to stream its team’s preparation for the big football game against Texas Tech. A rivalry for the ages. By adding a live streaming element, TCU were able to include more alumni and fans - making them feel just as much a part of the crowd as if they were actually there.

The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health used Facebook Live to stream a Q&A on the future of the affordable care act. There was a problem with the orientation during the first minute, so they edited the description to acknowledge it.

During their 2019 giving day, QUT used Facebook Live to keep its followers up-to-date as they reached each giving milestone, as well as inspiring its ambassadors into taking action.

Other ways to use live streamed content

  • Streaming alumni events or sports days
  • Announcements from leadership around important news or updates
  • Behind the scenes content
  • Q&As with academics or prominent alumni
  • Giving days milestones or stewardship
  • Crowdfunding project creator Q&A

Planning to go live

Before going live you'll want to make sure that you've somewhat planned your content so that what's broadcast to your followers is still worthy of their time.

Here are a few tips:

  • Having a script to hand, even if it's only used to give the content structure, will make it easier for your hosts to remember what they need to say, while also giving them a bit of creative freedom to make the broadcast fun and authentic.
  • If you are leading a Q&A - provide the interviewer and the person(s) being interviewed with the questions beforehand so that they have some idea of what the interview will cover.
  • Do a run through. Even if the final version of the content will be live, always plan to do a few run throughs to check that the content is right for what you're trying to achieve. Run throughs are also great for helping your presenters to feel more confident in front of the camera once the time comes to go live.
  • Make sure that you have the right equipment. If your broadcast is informal, than video captured on a mobile phone will be fine. However, if you are going live with an event, you may want to consider investing in camera equipment that boosts the quality of your video.
  • Speaking of events, consider creating a 'run-list' so that you have a good idea of what content needs to be captured and when. This could include timings for speeches and presentations, as well as interviews between hosts and attendees to capture the feel of the event for those watching online.
  • A few days before going live, as well as a few hours before, promote the event so that followers are aware and can remember to tune in when the time comes.

Taking the time to plan before a live broadcast will create content that followers will really enjoy. And if they enjoy the first live streaming event you run, they'll most likely tune in to future live streams.

If you've come to this blog post looking for suggestions related to hosting an online quiz, this video from The Charity Event Specialists provides some useful hints and tips.

Above all, have fun with it. Live streamed events are meant to be casual. Try new things each time you stream to see how your followers react.

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