Facebook is going live…for everyone! Similar to what Meerkat and Periscope have done to enable Twitter users to live stream events, Facebook now allows all “verified users” (so far that’s public figures and big brands) to invite any or all Facebook users to view their live broadcasts. The feature is currently in testing for the general public, though it’s not clear exactly when it will be rolled out more broadly.
Like Periscope and Meerkat, Facebook Live will let you see who’s watching your broadcast, but it will also allow you to select the audience you’re broadcasting to, which is not the case for either of the aforementioned platforms. Another big difference is that your Facebook Live video will remain on your timeline indefinitely, unlike Periscope’s (which lasts only 24 hours) or Meerkat’s (which vanishes immediately after the end of the broadcast).
How does Facebook Live work?
You’ll access the Live broadcasting feature through your Facebook profile page or the Mentions app. When updating your Facebook status, you’ll click the Live icon and write a quick description in the status update box. Then, just before you start, you can select your audience: opt for a Public broadcast or broadcast only to a select group of Friends. When you’re ready you’ll tap “Go Live.” During the broadcast you’ll see exactly who’s watching so you can invite them to Subscribe — this way they’ll be notified the next time you go Live.
One useful function provided by Live (and not generally available through other platforms) is the ability to edit/enhance your broadcast after it’s concluded. You can choose a thumbnail as your cover image, select a video category and even include a “call to action.” Ask people to “Sign Up,” “Learn More” or “Shop Now” and add a URL that links through to your business website.
There are a few best practice guidelines to follow both before and after a broadcast.
How is all this helpful?
Facebook Live allows you to connect in real-time with your audience as never before — but to a varying degree this is true of all social media platforms. However, the ability to host Live Q&A’s or Live Events definitely validates the claim that Live connects you to an audience in real-time in a way that’s unprecedented for Facebook.