How to do Your First Facebook Live Broadcast

ketchup-bottle

We recently had an event where we discussed Facebook Live. I will admit it is something I have not been driven to try. Some people like being behind the camera and some people like being in front of it. I am the former.

There ARE some great reasons to try Facebook Live:

  • It is an easy way to really show your audience/customers behind the scenes and get a feel for who you are.
  • People connect with video. It is as close as face to face as we can get.
  • Your closest followers (hot leads, company fans, repeat buyers) will get a notification that you are live.
  • You can interact in real time with your viewers.

The first Facebook live is the hardest and you will feel like you are talking to thin air. All the regular Live-ers will tell you, you just have to do it. It will be weird, you may not have a huge audience but… it will only get easier. If it is awful – you can always delete it.

“Be Fearless, be playful, be consistent – and you can always delete it!”
– Kathleen Deely Pierce, Maine Restaurant Association

Since now we all know the first Live broadcast will be awkward, let’s make it easier with some steps to follow.

Steps for Your First Facebook Live Broadcast

  • Have a plan – What will be the purpose of the broadcast? What is the ONE thing you want people to take away?
  • Is there a co-marketing opportunity? – Should you have a guest with you? If you are camera shy, like me, this could take some pressure off. Plus, you can get out in front of your co-host’s network.
  • Find a niche or angle – Nervous? Find an angle that makes you more comfortable. Think about broadcasting from your favorite coffee shop, bar, nature spot. Heck, invite your dog along if it makes you feel better.
  • Premarket – let people know you will be doing this ‘Join me live Friday at 2pm where I am interviewing our CEO about recent changes at our company’.
  • Make sure you have enough battery life on your phone!
  • Make sure you have a good internet connection!
  • Know how you are going to hold your phone/camera – I know from experience ketchup bottles are unreliable (see video below). A selfie stick may sound silly but Kathleen Deely Pierce swears it helps.
  • Add your text to your update first – Tag your location, who you are with, and what you are doing. That way whenever someone tunes in, they have some context.
  • During your broadcast have a plan to try to react to comments –  Take advantage of the instant feedback. Even just a ‘Hi, Beth! Thanks for joining us’ goes a long way.
  • Go as long as you feel like – There are various trains of thought on how long your broadcast should be. Kathleen recommended at our event to broadcast for a long time. She said your viewers continue to grow and you need to give them time to get to the broadcast and tune in. I have had other people say to keep them short. I would recommend, you do what feels right for you.
  • Save the story as an update – After the broadcast, you have the option to keep your broadcast as a page update. If you didn’t hate it, if it was valuable, or if it was even close to those things… keep it and let other people catch it later. My first Facebook Live is below. Do I love it? Absolutely not but… I learned a lot and I know the next one will be easier 🙂
  • Postmarket the broadcast –  Let people know after the fact about your video. Write a blog post (like this one), put it in an email newsletter, boost it etc. Get the biggest bang for your broadcast by making it available and letting people see it after it was done.

There you go! Hopefully, that will help you with your first Facebook Live broadcast. What other tips would you give to folks like you who want to get started?

At each Social Media Breakfast, I ask attendees for topics they want to talk about or cool stuff they are seeing locally. I have had a couple people mention the awesome online marketing from Fire & Company and the great people behind it.

You may have seen them – the beautiful vintage red trucks turning out gorgeous AND delicious wood-fired food at events, weddings, and at some of your favorite local breweries.

I reached out to Ryan Carey and we got a few minutes to talk about how he is using social media to grow their brand and get new customers – all while being super busy with their business.

On having a Social Media Strategy

A post shared by Fire and Company (@fireandco) on

Ryan, who is responsible for the social media for Fire & Company, is very aware that their brand and why people do business with them is about more than just the food. They have the vintage catering trucks, they work alongside some other top-notch professionals in their industry, and go to some beautiful places for events. Their story, is part of the whole story.

Fire & Company tries to capture not just the food but the whole event experience in their photos. Prospective clients will then be able to see themselves in the story and want an experience like that.

I need to add, the product from Food & Company is beautiful and delicious. With so many details in the story, it is also important that they exceed expectations with their specific piece – the food.

When asked if the posts are pre-planned or happen in the moment, Ryan said his employees make fun of him for taking pictures all the time at events but he actually prefers to post later. He says taking a day or two to reflect on the moments he captures gives him a better perspective on if it is worth sharing.

Take Your Own Photos or Hire Someone

A post shared by Fire and Company (@fireandco) on

Capturing the essence of your brand in photos is so important. Many businesses struggle with whether they should take their own or hire someone. Ryan told us he takes most of the photos they share but it is clear he has an eye for photography.

He also acknowledged that because of the industry he is in, there are professional photographers around who take wonderful photos. He posts a lot of his own photos but when he posts one from the photographers, he is always sure to give them credit.

Boosting Facebook Videos

I asked Ryan for an example of something he tried that went really well. His first thought was a few times he posted a video to Facebook and boosted them. He said those were viewed between 6,000 – 10,000 times. He was impressed that with very little effort, he can take a video on his phone, post it, and then boost it to his Facebook audience and friends of that audience and reach so many people.

Tying those boosted posts to business is difficult for them right now but the branding is important for them. Also, referrals are a huge part of their business, so showing connections on Facebook is an advantage for them.

Trying New Things

When asked if there was anything new for the 2017 season, like many others I have talked to, Ryan wants to try getting into SnapChat. Live events, weddings, and parties always have so much going on. There is a bunch of entertaining content that he thinks could make for some fun Snaps.

We love what Ryan and Fire & Company are doing with their social media. It is simple but yet stunning. They are definitely capturing more than just food in their posts. We look forward to seeing what the 2017 season has in store for them!

If you have a company you think I should talk to, let me know!

I have been talking so much about newsfeed algorithms lately. Facebook’s has definitely thrown its fair share of complications. But… I understand it. More and more people are on Facebook and they are liking more pages. That means lots more competition.

Twitter on the other hand, is straight up based on post time. No filters. No algorithm. But is that better? By missing nothing, are you actually missing more? The most important tweets could be getting buried in tweets about people’s lunches, horoscopes or in automatic spam posts.

Twitter is only as valuable as the people you follow. I would recommend regularly taking time to maintain your feed, by maintaining your followers. If someone is posting too much or you don’t like their posts – unfollow them.

Another tip for cleaning up your Twitter feed is to do a scan to see who isn’t following you back. Are they worth following if they don’t feel the same about you? Sometimes yes, but sometimes no.

I like to use Friend or Follow or ManageFlitter. They are simple to use and give you a lot of good information about who is and who isn’t following you. Here is a short video on Friend or Follow.

So, it is time to get some control back on your Twitter account! Clean it up and get better content in your feed. I know I need to 🙂

I was reminded of of this need to clean up my account from this great BuzzFeed post – 21 Social Media Tips You’ll Wish You’d Known Sooner. There is some other great stuff in there too.

Some of you may already know about the Facebook Debugger tool, but I thought I’d share it for those who don’t. It’s a handy little tool for developers that’s been around for awhile, but it can come in handy for all of us.

Ever start to post something to your Facebook page and run into a not-so-great link preview? Sometimes it’s missing an image when you know there are many on the page. Other times the description snippet is old and doesn’t accurately reflect the current content. Of course you can edit the title and description if you click on them in the preview, but if that link then gets shared by your followers — it reverts back to the original. You may not be getting the preview you expect because the data has been cached.

Enter the Facebook Debugger tool: pop the URL you’re having an issue with into the tool and voila! — the cache is cleared. It will spit out a lot of technical info, but what you care about is the cache clear happening behind the scenes. When you go to post your link again you’ll see an updated link preview that reflects all of the current content. The tool wasn’t originally developed for this specific purpose, but that’s ok — still serves a great purpose.

Anyone else have any handy tools they use like this one?

Using the Facebook debugger tool

So we all know everyone is excited about Pinterest. For some industries it is a gold mine and for many of us it is a new found addiction.

Since we here at SMBME are very serious about business, I thought I would share with you this little shortcut to see what from your website has been shared to Pinterest, by who and how many times.

All you need to do is type http://pinterest.com/source/ and add your URL at the end.
For an example we are going to use our friends over at The Beadin’ Path and if we type in http://pinterest.com/source/beadinpath.com to our address bar we will see all the things that have been pinned from their site by them and by other people.

Beadin Path Pinterest Source

With this information you can not only tell what is popular or who is pinning your photos or products but what they have to say for feedback about them too. That is some good information to have!

It was too easy and good not to share. Happy pinning.

According to comScore, Pinterest is taking the internet by storm – hitting 10 million monthly unique visitors (in the US) and becoming one of the top ten social networks. It’s easy to see why such a site would command attention; the simple and sleek design, image-driven content, and its ease of use makes it the best new way to bookmark online. For me, it has made online bookmarking fun!

We can already see how big brands like Martha Stewart, Whole Foods, and Better Homes and Gardens would be drawn to use the bulletin board-like tool for marketing their brands’ DIY items, recipes, and home décor ideas. But even smaller brands are utilizing the tool too; like using Pinterest to better show their personality, giving their brand more online visibility, and selling products through a new platform.

Before you jump in, know who the audience is.
As with any new tool, you should know what you’re getting yourself into first. Don’t use it just because it’s “the cool new thing” do it because that is where your customers are or because you are going to try to tap into a new customer base.

As we know, the majority of Pinterest users are 18 to 34 year old women (located in the northwest and southeast to be exact). If this is your target demographic then think about how you’d use Pinterest to engage with that audience. If that isn’t your target demographic but you’d still like to try using Pinterest for marketing; take a look at your resources and decide the best way to engage with that new audience. Would another platform be more worthy of your time?

How can it be used for marketing?
It seems like everywhere you look there are blog posts popping up about how this brand and that brand are using Pinterest to market their online business. Here’s a couple of good posts on how brands are engaging with the audience on Pinterest by holding contests, to get feedback on new products, and to promote other sectors of business.

Do your research first – what can Pinterest do in general and what can it do for your business specifically? I like this post, put together by Mashable, that gives tips and tricks to help those getting started with using Pinterest or those looking for advanced tactics. I learned lots of new things from this article!

Track it. Measure it.
This is the golden rule, right? So you’ve decided to use Pinterest as a marketing tool; PLEASE don’t forget to measure the outcome to see if your efforts are paying off.

  • Are you getting referral traffic from the site? How much?
  • Is that stream of traffic engaging with your site when they get here?
  • Are you getting any site conversions from the Pinterest traffic?

Those are all good things to measure and reflect on. Use the information to change up what you’re doing. If you’re getting a lot of good feedback on your Pinterest page but that traffic doesn’t translate to your site, maybe you need to alter your website or create a unique landing page for your Pinterest traffic.

Are you using Pinterest as a marketing tool? Have you seen any local (Maine) brands using it uniquely? Do you think it’ll stick around? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Flickr Photo Credit: Annie Mole

I had a meeting with the speakers for next week’s breakfast and the topic of privacy came up. In this content creating internet world we live in – how much of our lives are even private anymore? How much should be private?

Do you know what information about you is online? Something as simple as a Google search could stand in between you and your next job, project or relationship. With all this information ‘out there’ people are going to use it to help them make decisions. Take some time (regularly) to search for your name, your company, maybe even your phone number. Whatever is important to you, you should know what information is out there.

Using public websites for private information – Just because the internet is huge, doesn’t mean it is anonymous (ahem Weiner). What you may consider a private message, post, email, check-in – could be seen by someone else as something to share. How many accidental public DMs have you seen on Twitter? A lot, I have even sent a few. It happens. What you decide is private can easily become public online.

Also, last week at Abstract Maine, one of the speakers said that he didn’t have to ask permission to use someone’s photo if they were using it for a ‘news’ story. That made my ears perk up… because what is even considered ‘news’ anymore? Who knows. I have also heard if you are in a public place people can use your photo. Weird!

I don’t really have answers to a lot of these questions but I do have more questions. We had a good talk about this at an event I spoke at last week. Some of the best things you can do to protect yourself is to know what your personal sharing rules are. Think about it, know what you want people to find about you online and what you don’t – then set up your accounts to reflect your goals. You also should have these conversations at work, with your friends and your family.

As I was writing this I just heard about Me on the Web which was released by Google as a way to keep track of your online identity. Although there doesn’t seem to be a lot of new information here it is packaged up quite nicely. They ask you to have a Google account, create a Google Profile, search for yourself online and set up alerts so you get notified if someone posts information about you. Again, nothing totally new but not a bad idea and they have some ideas on how to get rid of content you don’t want about yourself online.

Scared yet? Me too. Bring your tin foil hat and join me at next week’s Social Media Breakfast where we are talking all about Social Media in Highly Regulated Industries and learn about some more information you can use to protect yourself and your business online.

Photo credit: Holster®

Exchange Street Portland Maine on a Snowy DayIt is winter in Maine and today is one of those days when much of the state is taking a break while mother nature puts the hammer down. Portland is supposed to get anywhere from 8-12 inches of snow. Schools are canceled, many offices are closed and many more are having work-from-home days.

Snow days are great and remind us of being a kid. Waiting to see your school come up on the list of cancellations, getting your sledding gear ready and wasting the day away. Today, instead of watching Rachel Ray or The Price is Right, I made a list of other things we can do with this slow snowy day.

On your snow day, or slow day with a lot of snow you could:

  1. Create and play with QR codes and how you could use them for your business.
  2. Either find out how to set up a RSS reader, clean up your RSS reader or catch up with your RSS reader.
  3. Change your passwords. It is a new year. When is the last time you changed your passwords?
  4. Review your Facebook privacy settings. Do you know who can view your profile or who can tag you in photos?
  5. Update your avatars or profile pictures to be close ups of your face so when people meet you in person, they recognize you.
  6. Create a square version of your logo and profile picture. Have you noticed how many sites use square images? Your logo could be getting cropped or distorted.
  7. Either write a post for your blog or finally get your blog started.
  8. Clean up your Twitter followers with Manage Flitter.
  9. Recommend someone on LinkedIn. You can recommend a current co-worker who makes your life easier, a speaker you recently saw, your favorite boss or someone you have learned a lot from on social media sites.
  10. Purchase your ticket to the upcoming breakfast before it sells out!

I hope this post has caught you before it is too late! Let’s salvage this day and do some of the things we always say we have no time to do. Happy snow day! Everyone stay safe and warm.

Lots of people are on board with why you need a Facebook Fan Page Landing Tab. If you are not aware, they can act as a welcome mat to anyone first getting to your Facebook fan page. If you want to know more you can read any of these articles about it.

What I wanted to talk about is what content to add to that landing page to make it effective and make users convert. I found this video online of James and Joey Bridges talking about just that and I love their three biggest points:

By having your default tab on your Facebook page going to your wall, you are possibly missing out on an opportunity by being unclear and confusing to a new guest of your fan page.

James and Joey suggest (and I have to agree):

  • Urge the user to ‘like’ your fan page – this can be done with a bright arrow or some text making it very clear to users where that ‘like’ button is and what they will in-turn get by ‘liking’ your page.
  • Clearly identify yourself – right away let new users know who you are, what your expertise is and what pain points you can alleviate for them. Don’t make them guess your industry or location. Make it clear, right away.
  • Show your personality – no matter the industry, one reason we choose to work with the people we do is because we like them (or want to). Let people know if you are funny, nerdy, blunt, smart etc. Add photos, blog posts, whatever it takes to let people know more about you at a glance.

I thought these are great points! I have some work to do… how about you? Are you happy with your Facebook fan page? Are you seeing results from it?

Example QR code going to SMBME blog postQR codes were brought up at our last breakfast by one of our favorite SMBME attendees (@obobME). If you are not aware QR codes are little boxes that you can scan with your smartphone to get more information on something, download a link etc.

People have been using QR codes to place in their physical locations or stores, for secret coupon codes, real estate listings to go right to a website for more information on a property, as tattoos… you name it… people have created a QR code for it. It is a great way to really link a physical place with your internet space.

The popular link shortening service bit.ly now gives you a QR code for each link you shrink with their service. Pretty cool huh?

If you want to read a little more about it The Next Web has a post explaining it a little more. Perhaps the best thing you can do is try it out for yourself at bit.ly.

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