5 Things I Learned Co-hosting a Facebook Live Talk Show
It was a dark and stormy night. My boyfriend and I were dressed up as the dangerously scary co-founders of a unique new start-up called Meowly “It’s like Uber for cats!”. We were attending a very prestigious networking event in the hopes of securing a final investor for our series A funding round. Blazers on and business cards in hand, we were prepared.
As soon as we arrived, we started firing off our business pitch to anyone who would listen; the scary clown; the blow-up T-Rex; the social media filters; the Stranger Things character with the eggos; you get the point. We had interest, but no one was taking the bait (did we come on too strong?!)
I then remember being approached by a man in his early twenties, dressed in black from head-to-toe (I know, it sounds scary). I should add however, he was also wearing blue iridescent wings and had social media icons stuck all over his shirt.
He was a “Social Butterfly” if you will.
Turns out he loved our startup costumes and quickly became our biggest fan of the evening.
This chance encounter would quickly turn into an amazing friendship and the launch of a Facebook Live Talk Show between Jared (the social butterfly) and me (Chief Kitty Cuddler @ Meowly).
As it turned out, we didn’t win best costume. We lost to some amazing homemade costumes of Kermit and Miss Piggy, so we weren’t even upset.
After many Starbucks meetings and planning sessions, Jared and I launched our talk show #ThirstyUnderThirty in January of 2017. While we originally thought it would be only one episode, it turned into an 8 episode series, including a season finale.
The premise of the show revolved around millennials. It was created by millennials for millennials as a way to share experiences, educate and motivate. We would invite guests on to share their insights with us and our viewers. We discussed topics like How to Get a Job in 2017; Financial Freedom for Millennials; Workplace Culture & Multi-Generational Teams and a few others.
We learned A LOT during those several months of filming and I want to share with you my top 5 Lessons:
1) Be engaging
I cannot possibly stress the importance of enthusiasm and high emotions enough. No matter what type of mood/tone you’re trying to set in your video, do it 5x more intensely than you would in real life.
Emotions can be difficult to convey over video, so stepping up your intensity will be helpful for the audience to remain engaged in what you’re sharing.
Note that you can be too intense, there is a fine line. I’m sure you don’t want to be scaring people off...
2) Prepare in advance
Preparation work is two-fold:
1) What will be said during the live
Jared and I always prepared a rough outline for our live broadcasts. The flow of each episode was similar (introduction, recap, guest, close), but we would also draft out talking points and questions so we stayed on topic.
We realized that to keep engagement, we needed to make sure the video flowed well and was continuously evolving. We tried our best to stay on topic and pull the best information out of our guests.
2) The set/background
Being prepared when it came to our set, including lights, tripod, background, extension cords, etc, helped us have a smooth broadcast in a controlled environment. This prevented possible background distractions or equipment mishaps. Our set was usually ready to go at least 20 minutes before we started airing so we would have time to pour a drink (we drank champagne on each episode), chat with our guest and run through camera angels.
3) Know your audience
Jared and I knew that we wanted to connect specifically with millennials. That doesn’t necessarily mean that anyone outside of that generation isn’t welcome to watch or engage with our show (some of our guests were even Gen X and boomers!), it just means that we aren’t catering our content to them.
Knowing who you’re speaking to and trying to connect with is vital for video success. Just like in this buyer persona post, if you’re trying to market to everyone, you’re really marketing to no one. I suggest trying your best to understand who the ideal person is you want to be speaking to and engaging with, and cater your live video to them.
4) Always, ALWAYS test video and audio. Always.
Jared and I always aired live on my phone in landscape. One episode we were interviewing a panel of three, so with the two of us we were 5 people wide. When we went live, my phone was tilted sideways as if taking a landscape video, but the FB Live camera was streaming in PORTRAIT! Whoops!
At this point we didn’t really know what to do because we were a few minutes in, so we just kept filming and our camera guy flipped the phone to portrait. But what does that mean? 5 people were then squeezed into a portrait frame which meant the phone and tripod were so far away from us that the audience could barely hear what we were saying.
Moral of the story: ALWAYS TEST VIDEO AND AUDIO!
In case you don’t know, you can do a test live video to make sure your scene looks good and your audio can be heard by changing the audience to “Only Me” before you go live. This way you can ideally smooth out any wrinkles, end the live video, and then start a new one with your preferred audience settings.
5) Roll with the punches…. I mean, mistakes
And this brings us to handling those inevitable mistakes that happen on live video.
The above example is only one that J and I experienced filming our season of TUT, but we had quite a few more.
Our first episode we PERFECTED our intro chair spin only to mess it up as soon as we went live. Another time we had a guest spill a drink on themself.
The thing with live video, just like in real life, often times your audience or viewers don’t care that you mess up, but they are waiting to see how you handle it. So my advice is to take it in stride and always acknowledge the mistake in the best way you can, wether that’s to make a joke, or even say simply “well that was awkward” and move on. It doesn’t have to be a performance on it’s own (nor should it be), but your audience saw it happen, so don’t pretend they didn't.
Honestly, the mixups and hiccups are what make live videos so honest and approachable. They show your human side and I think that’s something we should all be displaying a little more often.
What’s been your experience filming live videos on Facebook? I’d love to hear of a mixups or hiccup ;)
If you're going live on Facebook regularly, it can be helpful to keep your audience in the loop. One way to do that is to schedule your Facebook live video giving your audience the chance to set a reminder, days in advance, for your upcoming broadcast.