Over the last two weeks, I have struggled with whether or not to abandon Periscope to use Facebook Live exclusively as my live broadcasting application. There are certainly benefits to both platforms, making the decision even more difficult.
Live broadcasting is necessary
If you look over the last few years, you can easily discern the rising popularity in video as a way to market your blog. Video has crept into the newsfeeds on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.
But people want more than video can give. Studies show that social media leaves people feeling isolated. [SOURCE] But how does that relate to live broadcasting?
I believe people are craving a more human touch and live broadcasting provides entertainment and companionship.
My viewers have said things like:
- I love being able to hear your voice.
- I like the intimacy of live broadcasting.
- I listen to you every day.
- I feel like I really know you.
The transparency of live broadcasting increases the connection between users. In my experience, these relationships result in a stronger tribe, more blog traffic, and increased product sales.
At the same time, a generation is budding under the sun of instant news… and they like it. Students of the information age want news immediately as it is still breaking.
The sudden growth of Periscope is proof.
Why use Periscope?
As an active participant on Periscope since the live broadcasting app was only seven weeks old, I have experienced significant growth (both personal and professional) by using it to connect with my audience and expand my reach.
Periscope gives you the ability to instantly connect and receive immediate feedback through comments and hearts.
The simple sharing mechanism also empowers your viewers to generate interest in your message through social sharing. With a simple tap, viewers can instantly invite all of their followers on Periscope, Facebook, and/or Twitter to join your broadcast.
Why use Facebook Live?
Facebook remains the most popular social media platform of all time and with the rise in the popularity of live broadcasting, this could be a game-changer for Facebook… and for bloggers.
Where the people are
For most bloggers, their established following on Facebook exceeds their presence on Periscope.
Even if a blogger has seen success on Periscope, Facebook boasts over ONE BILLION more users than Periscope with a total of 1,500,000,000 users. [SOURCE] This means the potential for growth is greater on Facebook than on Periscope.
In addition to the mass of people using Facebook, you also have the flexibility of using Facebook Live on your personal profile, business page, or group.
These people are already familiar with your brand. They have visited your page and connected with your message enough to “like” you, meaning they are marketing qualified leads (MQLs) and primed for hearing more about you.
Periscope vs. Facebook Live
Which platform should you use for live broadcasting? If I was brand new to live broadcasting, had to choose between Periscope and Facebook, and had a larger audience on Facebook, I would choose Facebook Live.
Here are additional insights to consider:
PRO: Periscope yields the opportunity to connect with new people outside your current reach while Facebook is primarily for reaching your existing audience.
CON: The platform often has technical problems involving analytics and broadcast stability while Facebook Live seems to have a stable interface in most browsers.
PRO: The live broadcast seems more intimate than Facebook Live ask the comments flow over the personal broadcasting and hearts float up the other side. With Facebook Live, the comments are restricted in a box below the broadcaster.
CON: Trolls and creepers frequent live Periscope broadcasts and can overwhelm a broadcast with incessant comments, prohibiting the natural flow of conversation. Since Facebook Live is with an existing audience or even within a group, spam is much less frequent.
PRO: If you choose to send your broadcast to Twitter, the live broadcast and replay are available in the stream of people following you on Twitter.
CON: Periscope replays are available for only 24 hours before vanishing forever… unless you save your broadcast to your device or Katch.me. Facebook Live replays are available indefinitely, can be saved to your device, and/or deleted from your timeline when you choose.
PRO: Periscope analytics, although not completely reliable, are much more detailed compared to Facebook Live. After your broadcast, you can see the total number of viewers, average time on the broadcast, and retention percentage. Facebook Live only records the number of people viewing the broadcast.
PRO: Facebook Live counts down with a 3-second warning prior to the live broadcast while Periscope begins broadcasting immediately.
CON: The physical space for Facebook Live is limited to a square while Periscope uses full portrait or landscape mode.
PRO: You can start a broadcast with the either the rear- or front-facing camera on Facebook Live but Periscope requires you start with the rear-facing camera and then double tap to flip the screen.
CON: During replay, Facebook Live appears as a regular video. Comments do not display during the broadcast as they do on Periscope.
PRO: Videos can be edited after the live broadcast has ended. For instance, you can add a video thumbnail to avoid an awkward facial expression unlike Periscope where a blurred image becomes your thumbnail.
CON: The Facebook news feed is filtered by a complex algorithm while Periscope (and Twitter) are still chronological. Currently, Facebook is pushing live broadcasts to the top of the feed but this may not always be true.
PRO: Viewers after a Facebook Live broadcast can continue to comment on the video, encouraging engagement for an indefinite period of time.
Best tips for using Facebook Live
The more I use Facebook Live, the more I like it.
If you feel swayed towards Facebook Live, I don’t blame you. I encourage you to jump in while Facebook is favoring live broadcasts in the news feed.
Use these Facebook Live tips to have the best broadcast possible from your very first Facebook Live.
Even if you are familiar with live broadcasting through other apps like Periscope and Meerkat, be mindful that Facebook is a different platform and should be treated as such.
- Understand what your followers like.
Prior to a live broadcast, research your existing following through the insights available on your page. Make notes of the items that received the greatest reach and highest engagement. Plan your first live broadcasts on these topics.
Expand on what you know works before dabbling into unknown areas. For instance, if your Facebook page responds well to DIY and crafts, they will probably bounce off a live broadcast focused on Nascar racing.
Should you never live broadcast about Nascar? It depends on the target audience you hope to attract. Just be aware that any sudden changes can send your page spiraling into the Facebook abyss.
- Have a plan.
Live broadcasting can become addictive. As you see your reach grow and engagement increase, the temptation is there to live broadcast EVERYTHING. That is why I suggest having a longterm plan for how you will use Facebook Live.
Create a strategy that involves one of these:
- Increase page views – Perhaps you broadcast each time a new post is published on your blog. Give details about why you wrote the post, why you think it is helpful, and ask for your viewer to share it.
- Increase email subscribers – Entice viewers to subscribe by offering exclusive incentives available only to those who watch you on Facebook Live. Have a password-protected page on your website and reveal the password towards the end of your broadcast. Tell everyone the secret too early and your viewers will bounce off to grab the goody.
- Increase product sales – Incorporate Facebook Live into the launch for your next product or weave gentle mentions of your existing products into your live broadcast. You can also offer special discounts just for those who view your video. But remember… no one wants to feel like they are being cornered by a salesman, and Facebook Live is not the place for infomercials.
If you are tempted to broadcast and find that the topic cannot include one of the strategies above, think twice before clicking to go live.
- Get to the good stuff.
When you start your live broadcast, get to the topic quickly. Always introduce yourself and mention your website, but then jump into the conversation about your topic. Facebook viewers have a short attention span and if you do not grab them from the first minute, they are gone.
- Have notes to stay on track.
If you have trouble staying on topic, have notes nearby. Never ramble. Don’t misunderstand… story-telling is great but if you get too far form the purpose of your live broadcast, people will be bored and disengage.
Once you have lost a viewer to boredom, it is very difficult to get them to come back for future videos.
- Encourage viewers to comment, like, and share.
Even after the live broadcast is completed, your viewers can keep the conversation rolling in the comments. Any engagement (likes, shares, comments, views) are fabulous for the increasing the reach of your video. However, many viewers think that if the broadcast is no longer live, they cannot respond.
Encourage additional comments while you are live by asking for them. Then, after the broadcast is complete, join the conversation with your viewers so they realize you are still actively participating in the conversation.
- Make links easy to say and remember.
You can easily monetize your Facebook Live videos with affiliate links but you have to be able to SAY them. Use a link shortener like Pretty Links to make your URLs easy to say and remember. You can direct traffic to a recent blog post, affiliate link, sponsor… get creative.
- Change your thumbnail.
Facebook Live videos can be edited AFTER the broadcast. Unless you like the awkward face Facebook chooses for your video thumbnail, change it. Update the thumbnail with a piece of stock photography or a graphic that clearly represents the topic of your conversation.
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