We live yet? What you need to know about Facebook Live

After two Comms School webinars with Stephen, I’ve learnt a few things about streaming on Facebook via its Facebook Live solution. Here is how you, too, can stream using this platform.

Ways to broadcast

There are several ways to go live via Facebook Live.

First of all, you can do it on your timeline. This way, all your friends will see it. You can also do it on your page. All those who ‘liked’ it will see it — and also those who didn’t like it, but happen to be visiting your fan page. You can also do the livestream within the group — which can be either closed or opened.

With Comms School, we opted for the latter. This is a good way to reach a small community that’s gathered within a Facebook group.

How do you start streaming then?

Going live natively

Facebook made it easy for you to use the native livestreaming tool. All you need to do is click ‘Live Video’ in the window you’d normally use to write a post. If you’re in your group, Facebook will figure out you’re intending to stream within the group.

You can then choose more options. You can either share your screen — or stream from your webcam.  From this window, you can also choose the title of your broadcast and also choose which mic you’d like to use. From here, you can click ‘Go Live’ button and, after a short countdown, you’re on air. Smile!

Using third-party software

From the above screenshot you’ll also notice the ‘Connect’ button.

This is essential to using third-party software. It’ll give you the most essential information how to connect your stream with the soft.

Our software of choice for the Comms School webinars is OBS — Open Broadcaster Software. A brilliant, simple, and full of advanced features streaming app. It’s also free and available on Mac, Windows, and Linux.

On the left hand-side, you can see your preview screen, the right hand-side is what your viewers would see. In the ‘Scenes’ section you create different screens that can be used while you’re on air. You can create your waiting screen and the actual webinar screen.

Use ‘Sources’ to add different components to your screen. You can stream you whole screen or selected windows. In the above example you can see me using the window screen of my graphics editor software and my webcam. If you want your audience to hear your voice, make sure to add ‘Audio input capture’ source and select your microphone of choice.

Make sure to put all the information you find in Facebook’s ‘Connect’ window in the settings windows in OBS. You’ll need your unique stream key. Once this is done, you can hit ‘Start streaming’ in OBS. You’ll then have to accept the feed on Facebook Live and then go live from there.

Why livestream?

That’s essentially a how-to. As you can see, it’s not as complicated as it might look like. But is it actually worth doing? Why should you consider livestreaming?

Reaching audience in a targeted way. Because you’re able to stream to your pages, groups, or even your own timeline, you’ll be able to reach a very niche audience. We all know that the more targeted you are, the better.

Better engagement with your audience. Livestreams create sense of urgency and help you interact with audience even better. Integrated chat will help you acknowledge your viewers in real time and address their thoughts or questions.

Less production. Livestreaming itself is not as time consuming as some other forms of content creation, such as writing a blog. This is not to say it won’t require any work from you. Especially if you want to produce collaterals, such as presentations or write-ups of your sessions. For the Comms School session, Stephen and I spend a fair bit of time researching and preparing the deck we then present during the webinars.

Livestreaming is still a learning curve for us. If you’ve any other suggestion on how to improve our webinars, do let us know.

You can join our next session of Comms School on Tuesday, 2 April, which will be all about personal branding online and leaving digital footprint. The webinar will take place at 6:30pm BST on our Facebook group: facebook.com/groups/CommsSchool.

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If you have any suggestions, would like to guest post or give me a feedback, feel free to email me at kl.marcel [at] gmail.com, tweet me @marcelkl or connect with me on LinkedIn. Thanks for stopping by, have a splendid day!