At the start of 2016 I made a prediction that we will see the rapid growth of live streaming on social media. I have been using Facebook Live now for my church for some time and here are some of what I have learnt and some tips for you.

Before I dive into these tips, if you need to circle back and understand the basics about Facebook Live, check out this recent post I wrote here for church leaders.

1) Ensure that You have a strong WiFi signal

I remember when I created my first video half way through the video a small tab appeared saying weak WiFi signal (or data). Which meant that people who had taken the time to tune in weren’t getting a very good experience. It is so important to ensure that you have a strong connection. Because it is live, it will still be a bad experience watching on the replay. If you really need to use a dedicated WiFi connection you know there isn’t competition over.

2) Have an outline of what you want to do

There is nothing worse than a boring video. Make sure you have a rough idea of what you want to do. It can change, but better to keep a focus rather than bore your audience.

3) Think about the optimum time to post

For some content you can choose the time you post to reach the most people. Facebook even tells you in its Insights when the best time to post is. Who wouldn’t want to reach the most people right?

4) Choose a compelling video description

You want to help people click play on your live video. But not have too much hype. Think about what you want people to feel or experience.

5) Be patient. Your audience will build

When you first hit the live button it can feel a bit disappointing when it says no one is watching. Your audience size will build, but it takes time for people to find you and it will go up and down.

6) Interact with your viewers

Again this depends on the type of content you are shooting. If it is someone talking to camera then invite questions if your speaker is talking on a particular subject. If you are shooting your worship service then it may be better to acknowledge people when they comment just by liking what they say.

7) Remember the replay

The video does stay on your Facebook pages feed and will be seen by many more people over time. Think about how the video will work if someone watches the replay. Will what your speaker says still make sense?

8) Ask for the share

The great thing about social media is that you can ask your audience to share your videos. They can be your influencers with their Facebook friends. If they trust you, they will share it if you ask.

9) Be yourself

Don’t go into TV presenter mode. Be yourself. People want to see the real you. It connects so much more than someone who is just that little bit too over-pumped.

10) Be aware of the lighting and sound

Different environments will impact the quality of the video. If there is loud background noise it could make it hard for people to hear you. Also check in advance of going live how you look on video. There would be nothing worse than your eyes being just shadows because of poor light quality.

11) Consider using a tripod or rails

If you have a steady hand then a hand held phone may work. But using something more stable will help improve the quality and what your audience sees.

12) Think about those around you

Don’t be the odd ball tourist in the church auditorium holding up the phone. As much as possible try to blend in. Be discreet where possible. There will be occasions where you will be more obvious and can’t do anything about it. But think about the impact you are having on people’s experience at church.

13) Get some help with moderation

While one person is on the camera you can have another person moderating any comments if it is a particularly interactive live video. It helps with inappropriate comments or possible trolls.

14) Think about editing your video

This is a feature that not many know about. But you can go back and edit your post and video. Some videos won’t need it. Some may just need a better in or out point.

15) Get ready. A whole new production level is coming

You can already add a better lens and microphone to your phone or iPad to improve the quality of your Facebook Live video. There is also software that will help more advanced cameras and vision switching equipment plug into Facebook live. While it is still very early days I would expect this will rapidly increase the quality even further.

(A little birdie has told me that Twitter is now developing the same live streaming technology. Yes they have periscope but there is more seamless integration coming direct into your timeline)

Some more resources

Facebook Live: What Church Leaders Need To Know

11 Great Examples Of Facebook Live

Your Turn

Have you used Facebook Live? Do you have any more tips to get the most out of it. Or do you have any questions about Facebook Live? (Don’t forget my previous post on Facebook Live For Churches here)