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My publisher, HarperCollins, introduces its Facebook followers to one author every day through a Facebook Live event. For authors who are inclined to communicate solely through the written word, it’s a great opportunity to engage with readers in a new way.
I’ve done several Facebook Live events in conjunction with HarperCollins over the past few months. Each one taught me more about how to use Facebook as an effective marketing tool.
Although the thought of creating a live video makes many people a little weak in the knees, Facebook Live can be a great way to attract new customers, gain more followers and get to know your audience better. A little pre-planning and creativity can help you make your event a success.
Here are 10 ways to make Facebook Live an effective marketing tool:
- Create an engaging topic
Don’t just turn on your camera and wait for people to ask questions. Create valuable and exclusive content to share with your audience so they’ll know tuning in is worth their time.
Create a catchy title, like, “3 Money Lessons From Millionaires,” or “5 Ways to Be More Productive,” and craft your message. You don’t need to memorize your message. You’ll want it to come across as natural, so don’t be afraid to use notes.
- Promote your live session ahead of time
Pick your event time carefully. Is your audience most likely to tune in during work hours or on an evening or weekend?
Announce the date and time on social media and in your newsletter a few days before your event. Then, remind everyone right before your event starts.
- Invite your audience to submit questions
Some people may not feel comfortable asking questions during the live event and not everyone will be able to attend. So it’s important to give everyone an opportunity to submit questions to you prior to the event.
Then, kick off the Q&A portion of your event with those questions. As you’re answering them, your live audience will likely start asking more questions. If there’s a lull in the action between questions from your live audience, you can always return to answering a few more questions that were previously submitted.
- Host a practice session
Facebook gives you an option to customize who can access your posts. Choose “only me” and do a practice Facebook Live session.
You’ll want to see how you’re going to look from your audience’s perspective. It’s important to have good lighting and a background that is interesting, but not too distracting. Test the audio and play back your video to see how it looks.
- Learn how to ban trolls
Facebook Live can be a magnet for trolls. They can be very distracting to both you and your audience. If you don’t handle it swiftly, everyone will pay more attention to the troll than your discussion.
Tap on the troll’s profile picture and hit block. That will prevent the person from being able to continue watching and commenting on your video.
- Provide a giveaway
Encourage your audience to hit the share button by hosting a giveaway. Let everyone know that by sharing your video, they’ll be automatically entered into the contest.
Then, your video will appear in front of all of their friends, too. Whether you give away a product or you let people attend a seminar for free, getting a few dozen people to share your video could easily lead to hundreds of thousands of views.
- Create a good description
Create a short description of your video that will capture people’s attention. Keep in mind, your video is likely to appear on people’s pages who have never heard of you or your business. So it’s important to create a description that will entice people to tune in.
- Greet your live audience
When your event starts, it will take people a little time to start tuning it. So you might feel like you’re talking to yourself for a few minutes. That’s OK because many more people will watch the recorded version later.
As people start to tune it, invite them to leave a comment that says where they’re watching you from. Then, greet a few people by name and thank them for showing up. It’ll make your session a little more personable and it can be a great way to break the ice.
- Explain the agenda
Briefly explain the agenda so your audience knows what to expect. Say, “I’m going to spend the first 10 minutes talking about how to be more persuasive. Then, I’m going to answer your questions.”
Next, jump in and start sharing your message. You don’t want to wait too long to get to the good part because people might get bored and move onto something else.
- Share your content
Your content may consist of a quick 10 minute talk or a live demonstration that shows how your product works. Whether your content is educational or simply entertaining, engage your audience.
Reserve a little time for questions and interact with your audience. Then, end your Facebook Live session by thanking people for attending. Encourage them to like your page if they haven’t already.
When you’re done, your video will be posted to your Facebook page. Continue to interact with your audience if you receive more questions and comments after you end your event.
Learn and repeat
Live events don’t always go as planned, but each time you host a Facebook Live session, you have an opportunity to learn more about your audience and how to engage with them.
Facebook will provide you with helpful analytics about your audience and their viewing habits. Review that information and think about what went well and what didn’t. Then, it’s time to start planning your next Facebook Live event with the information you learned.
Have you tried Facebook Live as a marketing tool for your startup? Share your experience in the comments section below.