Six Tips for a Successful Facebook Live Event
Facebook users collectively watch more than 100 million hours of video every day on the social network, including broadcasts from Facebook Live. While most every university understands that it must incorporate a multimedia element into its Facebook posts, Facebook Live has emerged as an innovative way to do so, allowing schools to live stream events, interviews and highlights to alumni and supporters around the world.
As a follow up to our blog post about engaging alumni on Facebook Live, we now offer five tips to ensure a successful broadcast:
1) Promote the event beforehand
Regardless of if an event is virtual or in person, promotion is a key best practice to ensure success. Universities, colleges and alumni associations should give their followers a heads-up that they are hosting a Facebook Live event (e.g., a day before) to build anticipation and garner viewers. For events with a Q&A session, schools can also use the event promotions to encourage viewers to brainstorm questions to ask the interviewee or panel. The event announcement should include the date and time along with a catchy title to draw users’ attention. Schools must also keep in mind time zones for the broadcast as peak times for Facebook users on the West Coast differ from those for users on the East Coast.
2) Test the internet connection
In Facebook Live broadcasts, a strong signal will reduce any disruptions, pauses or streaming issues associated with the video on the university’s end. Before the event, schools should not only check the internet connection (WiFi tends to work best) but should also test live video using the Only Me privacy setting before broadcasting to the public.
3) Host or stream topical events
Facebook Live broadcasts that feature topical events tend to draw more viewers. These events can be important to the university or alumni association (e.g., commencement) or relevant on a national level (e.g., the presidential election). George Washington University’s Facebook Live coverage stands out by incorporating newsworthy elements, such as GW commencement preparation, a professor’s commentary on game theory and Pokémon Go, and an election coverage broadcast related to the September 26, 2016 presidential debate.
George Washington University Election Broadcast
4) Engage users
One of the benefits of Facebook Live is the ability to interact with followers and view real-time reactions. Not only can followers post real-time comments and reactions on the video, but they can respond to one another as well by liking others’ comments and posting their own. Schools can also jump in on the action by responding to comments and answering questions that arise, whether in the video itself or in a reply comment, such as the University of Virginia does in its State of the University broadcast.
University of Virginia State of the University Address Broadcast
5) Ask viewers to subscribe to Facebook Live notifications
At the end of the event, schools should thank viewers for watching as well as ask them to subscribe to the page’s live notifications to be alerted of future broadcasts. Subscribing to notifications is easy as viewers just need to click the small, downward-facing arrow within the live video post (in the top-right) and select the Turn on Notifications option from the list.
6) Archive livestreams for future viewing
Schools should follow Columbia and Harvard Universities’ leads and archive livestreams within a designated Facebook Live playlist—accessible within the videos section—to make the broadcasts easier to find in the future, rather than force users to scroll through all university or alumni association videos to find the archived livestream they are looking for.
Harvard University Facebook Live Playlist