Medium: How To Crush It on Facebook Live

Posted November 22, 2016
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Live streaming is here to stay.

It is a tool that you can use to cultivate your viewership, interact with them and promote your work.  That is, if you know how to use it properly.  Ariel, Facebook Live pro, wants to share with you what he's learned about what works and what doesn't on Facebook Live to help you do it right, or as he says: "Crush It."

Ariel writes:

First, let’s be clear. Live streaming isn’t a fad, it’s the future. It’s like going to back to the 1950’s and saying that the television is a fad and the radio will reign supreme forever. People are spending more time than ever before on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and other online platforms. The television will continue to exist — just like radio continued to be relevant until podcasting came along — but it just won’t be the top media source anymore. This is where Facebook Live comes along.

We don’t know what live streaming service will reign on top — currently it’s a battle between Facebook, YouNow, Twitch, Instagram, and Periscope — but one will come out in top and will rake in billions more in ad revenue than the television. However, from what I’ve seen the past few months in the media landscape and growing my own Facebook Live dedicated page Urbanist, I think Facebook Live is going to come out on top and here’s why.

Why Facebook Live?

  1. People can see the video after its broadcasted. This is so important especially with content that is more elaborate. If you’re going to shoot a show that involves many moving pieces, you don’t want that effort to be gone forever. Now, ephemerality works for Snapchat, Instagram Live, YouNow in the sense that you can provide the rawest and most honest experience, but production becomes an after-thought. This brings me to the next point…
  2. You can scale. What does scale mean in live-streaming? Two things: getting more eyes on your content and making more content. Facebook Live is a tool in Facebook which is the biggest distribution platform in the world right now. You have access to 1.7B people! Currently Facebook has their Live discover page hidden, but there’s other ways to bring your content to more people: mainly collaborating and coordinating reshares with other pages and utilizing Facebook ads.
  3. You can reply to comments after the broadcast. This is so important! First, you can cultivate your community by interacting with your audience who watches the videos after it was broadcasted. Second, you can incentivize people to engage in a variety of ways such as submitting photos, opinions on a topic, video replies, and most importantly encourage your audience to engage with each other.
  4. It’s going to be the first platform to allow you to monetize live streams at scale. YouTube exploded when it starting offering monetization, giving content creators the freedom and financial backing to make videos full time. Sure, monetization is a rocky road and it will eventually drive some people mad. Hopefully we won’t be inundated with commercials, that’ll be a stupid move on Facebook’s part. But if done right, then it’ll incentivize people to stream much more. That’s how TV got big, it’s the same way how live-streaming will eventually crush TV.
  5. Media companies are flocking to Facebook Live. While Facebook is indeed paying a few companies to do live videos on their platform, media companies already see Facebook as their greatest distribution tool. What a wonderful world we live in where independent creators can utilize the same platform as powerful multi-million dollar conglomerates and have a fighting chance. We’ve seen it with individual Youtubers like Casey Neistat out-performing YouTube-foward companies like VICE, we might see that with Facebook Live too. But, regardless whether you’re an small operation or a heavily-invested high-production operation, Facebook is is the place to be for live-streaming.

Note: as live-streaming becomes more sophisticated, other platforms will develop their own niches. YouNow and Periscope might become more individual focused. might provide a great place for musicians to perform. Twitch is already going all-in with video game streaming. Instagram Live will be ephemeral.

What works on Facebook Live?

Okay, so now that I’ve convinced some of you that Facebook Live is legit, you’re probably wondering what type of live streams work best on it. We’re still in uncharted territory and the potential for Facebook Live is only growing, but after being in the thick of it for the past 6 months, I’ve observed four types of streams that perform well:

  1. Celebrities. If you’re at least somewhat famous, you can basically point the camera to yourself and just talk for half an hour and people will tune. Just look at Vin Diesel and his millions of views. Or thought-leaders who have clout both in numbers and influence like Jason Silva and Gary Vaynerchuk crushing on live as well. So if you’re famous and reading this, what are you waiting for?! You’ll have the easiest time on Facebook Live. Just point the camera to yourself and say whatever!
  2. Musicians. DJs and bands are flooding Facebook Live and doing great! The ability to tune into your favorite band and join in on a live performance from anywhere in the world is wooing audiences everywhere.
  3. Event coverage. People love to see what’s going on in the world, especially if there’s some sort of drama like the recent protests fueled by America’s recent election.
  4. Walking tours. I’ve personally stumbled upon this one and people love watching a walk through the city! It’s the pleasure of traveling without the actual traveling. This phenomenon sounds like it won’t work, but then again try going back to 2006 and telling people that vlogging is going to a big part of online video. People would think you’re crazy because who the hell would care about what you’re doing everyday?! It turns out millions of people do care. Walking tours takes the vicarious pleasure of vlogging combining with an element of discovering such as learning history, finding the best food, interviewing people on the streets, discovering hidden gems, or covering events.

Of course, there’s countless types of Facebook Lives you can do. From interviews to talk shows to cat cams to static shots of a landscape to hotlines to broadcasting a theater performance. I encourage you experiment and let me know the results in the comments! There’s so much to explore in this suddenly accessible medium.

Read the full post and see his best practices here.


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