Going Facebook Live, Part 2, Takeaways from Early Successes

Part 1 of this series was about early viral hits of Facebook Live, which leads to this series of takeaways on what might work for journalists experimenting with the platform.

1. Be a Personality

Facebook Live works well as an added part of an overall brand, with the same recognizable name than elsewhere to cross-list yourself, as on the street or from your couch, or wherever, whatever spice, angle, expertise, style you can bring. But be authentic and be yourself, unless you are a comedian.

2. The Element of Surprise

Facebook Live seems to work well if it's uncertain how a live moment will end. Will the protest get nasty? Is there any suspense to what you are covering? Does it truly have that live feel? This isn't necessary but it doesn't hurt.

3. Really In the Moment

Those shots of newscasters in the middle of a snowstorm work really well on live TV. Why not extend the pleasure on Facebook Live? Which also leads us to point #4.

4. Grow Your Audience (10 minutes or more)

Rather than being short, it's being said you really need at least 10 minutes for people to find you. If it's shorter they just won't have time. So you want to build up in your first few minutes, try as hard as you can to keep your viewers, and then take it to the next level.

5. The Journey

Taking viewers on a journey also works well, from point A to point B, so they want to stick with you. Any process, behind the scenes, added explanation or background to how they may arrive to a new level of knowledge is also a part of this.

6. Always Reset

Just like for live TV, you always want to remind your viewers of what's going on exactly. Where are we? Where have we been? Where might we be going?

7. Interact

You want to make sure you are always interacting with your viewers, responding to their comments, and engaging with them. Say their names. You can't talk to a TV, but Facebook Live allows this intimacy.

8. Don't Be Afraid of What's Quirky

You have to bring some quirkiness, something unique, or else the hum dee dee dum doesn't muster very well, unless you are onto something big, or relevant. As part of this your description is important.

9. The Repeated Hook

As you perfect your art of Facebook Live, you have to have some sort of a hook, to why a viewer's thumb should tap and stop on your content. And keep reminding them of your own special hook. That will keep them with you. They want reminders. They want to feel privileged, in the moment. They want to feel special. Speak to them. Why is what you are showing them so interesting?

10. Well-Timed / Teased Content Is Still Usually Best Bet for Journalists

Notwithstanding all the artifice and performance, good content goes a long way in Facebook success and rising above other, more tedious content. It also doesn't hurt to promote beforehand.

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