Going Facebook Live – from your desktop

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Facebook recently introduced a new feature to personal accounts and business Pages that allows you to broadcast via Facebook Live from your desktop. That opens up a wealth of opportunity to personal brands and companies looking to harness the power of live broadcast on the world’s most popular social network – but had perhaps been put off by the ‘mobile only’ aspect of it.

How to go live from desktop

When you log into Facebook now on your laptop or desktop computer you will see a “Live Video” button just above the status field on personal accounts, like this:

Facebook Live on Desktop - Personal Account

Hit that, you’ll be ready to start broadcasting on Facebook Live – but don’t worry, it doesn’t happen immediately. First of all you’re invited to say something about the video, so introduce what you will be talking about then hit “Next”. A pop-up window appears with a preview of how your live video will look. Use this opportunity to check your lighting, background and the like. When you’re ready, simply hit the “Go Live” button and you’re up and running.

Comments will appear to the right of your video – keep an eye on those.

For business Pages it’s a little different and can be a little less obvious. When you’re on your business Page you usually see this where you’d update your status:

Facebook Live on Desktop - Pages

As you can see, there’s a pink “Start a Live Video” button on the GNGR Facebook Page. However, depending on your type of Page you may not see this straight away. Look for the “See All” link just below the buttons, click it and you should see Live Video button then. After that, the process is the same as a personal account.

The benefits of Facebook Live on desktop

Before we look at getting the most out of this new feature, what are the benefits of desktop over mobile?

The first and most obvious benefit is the fact you no longer have to worry about holding a smartphone. Your hands are now free to join in your broadcast! Secondly, you no longer have to worry about holding a smartphone steady – this is a personal bugbear of mine, trying to watch a live broadcast with good content but the images are wobbling all over the place. Now that’s eradicated. Thirdly, with your hands free you can actually respond to comments as they come in, though I think it would perhaps be better to have someone on hand to do that for you, as you can address people directly in your broadcast.

Finally, it really puts you in control of your surroundings. While broadcasting on Facebook Live from certain locations (think festivals, exhibitions, tours and the like) remains better done on mobile, with desktop you get to set the scene well in advance of actually going live.

So how to use these benefits to your advantage?

Environment

Before you go hitting that “Go Live” button think about where your laptop or desktop computer is. What can the camera see? Nobody wants to look at a messy office, an untidy bedroom or dark and dingy corner. By the same token consider what people will be able to hear. Do you really want them listening to a busy call centre, phones ringing, people talking loudly over your commentary? Indeed, do you want to broadcast from a place where machinery or equipment is in operation or, God forbid, arguments may take place?

Of course not. So take some time to consider your position when you go live. Find a quiet, well lit area away from the background noise of a busy office or place of clutter.

Now go one step further…what can you position in the background that will help strengthen your brand or your message? Perhaps you could get your company or personal logo in the background. Well presented products in the background will work well too. You could have people working in the background as long as they are fully aware they’re on camera and will need to keep the noise to a minimum. You do NOT want people acting up behind you or, again, people drowning out your commentary by talking loudly!

One thing to remember is that while you may be tempted to play a little music as background noise but that’s likely to get your broadcast cut short by Facebook unless you own the copyright and I’m guessing you don’t! Facebook have become very adept at recognising music and preventing broadcast so beware.

Content

So you’re all set up, got your surroundings looking the part and you’re ready to go live. What are you going to talk about? Really the only limit is your imagination. As long as you’re giving your viewers (customers, remember!) something they actually want to watch then you’ll do fine. Try to come up with topics which:

  • Answer frequently asked questions
  • Demonstrate the benefits of your products
  • Provide valuable advice or instruction
  • Address relevant current affairs

You get the picture. I came up with some good ideas for using Facebook Live in 2017 right here.

Once you’ve set your topic it’s a good idea to write down a brief synopsis of what you’re going to say and in what order. A bullet pointed list will do, it will prevent any awkward pauses as you broadcast and keep your mind focused on what you want to talk about.

You should be ready to ad lib a bit though – remember you will hopefully getting comments as you broadcast so you’ll want to address a few of those live to make your audience feel involved. And, as I pointed out in the article above, it’s also a good idea to introduce who you are and what you’re talking about two, three or four times during the broadcast for those who join late.

Prepare some visual aids to use during your broadcast. You’ve got your hands free so make the most of them! It could be the products your introducing, charts and graphs relating to the subject you’re talking about or books and pamphlets that are great resources you’re recommending to your audience.

Repurposing

Downloading Facebook Live videos once you’ve completed your broadcast isn’t as easy as it should be but I have written this very quick guide on how to do it for you.

Once you have downloaded the video it can be uploaded to other social media networks, such as YouTube and Vimeo. This will work particularly well for evergreen content such as guides, Q&As and the like. By posting the completed live video to video sites like YouTube you can direct people to them, giving you another bite of the cherry as it were.

It also works well if your content is relevant at certain times of the year. Rather than broadcast live all over again, you can repost the video to Facebook and market it all over again.

And, because your video was shot from the desktop, giving you the time to prepare your environment and content, it’ll be a far more professional looking video than if it had been done on mobile. Just another benefit of doing Facebook Live from your desktop!

What other benefits of broadcasting live from your desktop can you think of? Share them with me in the comments. 

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