Facebook LiveLive video has taken the internet by storm, and with good reason!  The engagement with video can’t be beaten, and with platforms giving such priority and up front featuring to live video, there’s no better way to reach your audience.  You see the people and pages that you follow going live, and you see the amazing number of views that they are getting, you want to try it too.

Before you click that record button, there are some important things to know about how to make your live video a success. First, know that Facebook counts 3 seconds as a view.  3 seconds.  Traditional statistics on web video tell us that you only have 30 seconds to capture the attention of your audience; for live video, the number is much much lower.  Traditional web video means that a viewer is at least choosing to check out your video; they want to see what you’ve told them you have to offer. For live video, you are just showing up in their feed.  You need to convince them to stick around and see what you have to say, so you need a powerful hook to pull them in.

Content Matters!

The number one, most important thing to consider with ANY video, even live video, is the content you hope to share.  Don’t go live with no message or plan of action.  Know what you want to share with your viewers before you ever click record.  Just like you would for making a speech or giving a talk before an audience in person, it’s a good idea to have an outline, notes, or a little practice under your belt before you go live for the first time.

You also don’t want to waste time getting to the point, or at least teasing the point, or letting them know that you DO have a point.  I’m sure that you’ve wasted a handful of seconds on someone’s live video before deciding that there’s not point to watching anymore and scrolling on to find something more worthwhile.

The hard part about live video is that you don’t want to end it TOO quickly, because some of your audience may take a few minutes to tune in.

Set the Stage

This is not a new idea for anyone who has done a video conference call, Skype, or Facetime in any sort of professional aspect.  Take a look at everything the camera will capture.  Clear the frame of all distractions, get rid of any clutter.

Next, look at the lighting situation.  The easiest and best scenario is a room with some nice windows.  If that’s not available, work with the lighting you have.  Get the available light so that it will illuminate your face (not shine into the camera from behind your head).  If the available light isn’t enough and video is something you hope to do a lot of, there are all kinds of small video lights that are very easy to use (we love this Yongnou Light Wand….not an affiliate link, not being paid to say it….just an affordable workhorse of a product we happen to love). You can also buy daylight bulbs for under $10 to put in any lamp you already own.

Make sure you’re sitting or standing up straight, and that the camera is a proper height as to avoid the ‘up the nose, double chin angle’, which is flattering on exactly no one).

Also, always choose the native orientation for your live video.  On Facebook, this is horizontal/landscape.  It will record and publish your video in portrait/vertical…but you’ll get those funky blurry bars on the sides in your feed.  However….now that facebook automatically pulls your video to the full screen in mobile feeds once the viewer has hovered for a few seconds…this strategy may change.

For things like Instagram Stories and Snapchat, film in portrait/vertical, otherwise your video will be sideways, and almost no one will turn their phone to watch.

Control the Noise

The outdoors can often provide some great scenery and beautiful light, but if all that pretty picture is accompanied by a noisy highway or the neighbor’s dog, it will seriously take away from the quality of your video.

If you’re inside, take care to be sure the tv and radio are off before you hit the go live button.  You might think that a little background music will add to your video, but Facebook will delete the whole thing for violating the copyright of whatever music is playing in the background.

Eliminate the Shake

Nothing sets amateur video apart from a professional, polished looking piece like shaky, blurry, off-kilter video.  The solution to this is easy: just set the camera down.  A lot of people create a Facebook Live video via the camera on their computer, which creates a naturally stable shot.  Others may use a mobile device (especially if what you want to go live about is out in the real world), in which case, set it down, prop it up, or hold it still. The less the camera moves around, the better.

The cameras in phones are absolutely amazing; the OIS (optical image stabilization…the iPhone version of IBIS) is pretty darn good. I can get smooth, handheld video from it MUCH easier than I can with my DSLR.  Still, you’re better off to not run and twirl while trying to show off your space to the internet world.  If you need to move about, move slowly with smooth, fluid steps (just one more advantage kids who were in the marching band now have over the rest of the world: a perfect glide step).

If you’re going to be walking about or moving around while broadcasting live on a regular basis, consider investing in a handheld stabilizer.

Go Live!

That’s it!  Now all that is left to do is sit down and make it happen.  Part of what makes live video so effective is that it feels very real to the viewer.  It’s a little raw and unpolished.  Your clients feel like they are seeing the real you, not a fake version created for marketing purposes.  They aren’t expecting perfect, so don’t set that bar for yourself.  Just be real.

Are you a pro at Live video and have some tips you’d like to share? A total newbie to live video and decide to give it a shot after reading our tips?  We’d love to hear about it.  Let us know in the comments.

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