Tuesday, August 16, 2016

3 Reasons to use Facebook Live

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
Listen to the podcast

Before Facebook offered its live option to all users, I was fortunate enough to have my professional page verified and was given access to the live feature. In my job as a broadcast journalist I most often used it as a way to give viewers a behind the scenes at the TV station. Engagement levels were low despite high viewership. Most of the comments were "Cool!" or "Thanks for showing us this." 

But I always felt like there was more that could come from the live feature. When the station's Facebook page started using the live feature, many of my colleagues continued using it as a behind the scenes function. Viewers love that, but engagement levels are low. 

About two months ago I started doing a feature on my page What's on your mind? Wednesday. Each week at 7:30 a.m. CST I fire up Facebook Live and sit at my work desk and talk to viewers. I answer their questions and engage in actual conversations with people I've never met. It's not just people watching and making declarative statements. They ask me things about what's happening in the news, what we're working on for future stories and what's my favorite restaurant. It's a great way to spend 45 to 60 minutes a week.

As a blogger, podcaster and YouTuber; I'm trying to employ this feature more. Last week I did a live taste test of BootyO's cereal. Here's an explanation. Having a solid subject to talk about also helps to build that engagement. While the segment didn't have the reach as my professional page, it was successful none-the-less. So why should you try Facebook Live?

1. I've already talked about it, but I can't say enough about the engagement factor. Actually acknowledging the comments (the ones that aren't cries for attention) keeps viewers coming back for more. The end game is to increase your audience. The more people who you interact with during the course of the live stream the better. I also go back and read the comments and type out answers to questions or concerns that pop up. Show some personality too.

2. You get to know your readers, viewers, or customers better. When I talk to viewers and they talk back to me I'm learning more about their lives, their families and what they're wanting to see on the news. I use that input each week to come up with content and story ideas for the newscast I co-anchor. I forward information on to my colleagues. Because Facebook puts more emphasis right now on live content more people are likely to see the video. It's still relatively new and people want to see how it works. On the My 1-2-3 Cents Facebook page last week I picked up a handful of new likes for it.

3. Not everyone can watch the video live and maybe it'll never pop up in your friends' or followers' newsfeed. So that same content can be edited and posted on YouTube and have a more permanent place. While streaming live on my phone, I recorded my review on my iPad. I took that 20 minutes of content and edited it down to about five minutes and posted it to YouTube. 

So, join me on Wednesdays at 7:30 a.m. CST for What's on your Mind? Wednesday and Thursdays at noon CST for talk about what's happening in the world of pro wrestling. (Catchy title pending).

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