The first thing many brands do when referring to Facebook Live is say, “yeah, we have an intern that does all that social stuff, we’re good.”
Let’s clarify up front: live video cannot be done haphazardly!
I’m a huge Game of Thrones fan, as many of you readers probably are as well. How many times would you watch Game of Thrones if there was no schedule?
Maybe a couple of times because of the novelty. However, you likely wouldn’t be waiting around 24/7 for a new episode to drop after months of that type of behavior.
Your content isn’t Game of Thrones. Heck, it’s probably not even Full House. If you want people watching your content every time, give them a scheduled time to look forward to.
How long should my live stream be?
This is the biggest question I get from brands and businesses that are looking to get started on Facebook Live. It’s also my favorite question because I really can’t answer it. This is something you’ll decide on once you make a decision on the format of your “show.”
However, I will give you some statistics based on the numerous streams I’ve done on Facebook.
For the show that Amy Schmittauer and I hosted for Aftermarq last summer/fall, Afterthoughts, we consistently saw an increase in viewers over the 30-minute broadcast, with the peak being anywhere between the 25-minute mark and the 27-minute mark. A couple of side notes:
- Afterthoughts has a set schedule and length.
- We engage all of the viewers at the end of the show, and they know this.
- Our show has a set format and agenda, so viewers know what topics to expect ahead of show time and can plan accordingly.
- We’ve also implemented a countdown timer at the beginning of the show to allow viewers to gather, as Facebook has yet to implement a “green room.” We’ve noticed a 30% uptick in viewers in the first 10 minutes of the show.
Concerning the live streams that I’ve done a bit more ad hoc—they tend to be a bit of a crapshoot in terms of viewer count, engagement and, most importantly, shares.
The peak of engagement in those streams is at the 7 to 10-minute mark. Because viewers don’t anticipate my live streams unless I’m at a one-off type event, or am doing something insanely awesome, it has been hard to get past that minute mark without a drop-off in viewers.
With that said, I would urge you to broadcast for at least 10-15 minutes, regardless of the type of streaming show you are doing.
Why at least 10-15 minutes?
The biggest reason for this is to allow people to find you, hop in, comment and share your stream. Right now, the Facebook algorithm is giving so much preference to live video and friends’ content that it’s a great way to “hack” your organic reach.
How often should I live stream?
The question of how often to live stream is also up to you!
Maybe you want to time your frequency with your best piece of content you’re planning on releasing each week.
Perhaps you want to broadcast the latest happenings of your company each month. And for the most daring, you may want to show off behind-the-scenes views, giving the camera to a different employee each day (think: day in the life).
My recommendation is to start weekly and decide what is working and what isn’t. Try different times of day, different broadcasters, and different types of formats. Ask your audience to tell you what they’d like to see.
Up Next: Preparing Effectively for Your Live Stream
Now that you’ve decided when and how long to broadcast for, you’re ready to figure out your hosting style. But, how do you effectively prepare content for and host a live stream?
Read More: Part 3–Tips for Being an Engaging Presenter