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Lessons From My First Facebook Live

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Lessons From My First Facebook Live

A few months ago I was given the opportunity to be a part of a 24 hour Facebook Live event commemorating International Women’s Day.

At the time Facebook Live was something completely foreign to me. I’d recorded podcasts but never shot video before, let alone live streamed. But I wasn’t about to let that stop me. With little time to think it over or talk myself out of it, I said, “Yes.”

I had a week to learn everything I could about Facebook Live. How hard could it be? I’d be speaking on the topic of ‘being real’ on International Women’s Day, it seemed as good a time as any to jump in.

It didn’t go well. I had the 6 a.m. slot. And after a nervous night of little sleep, mixed with way too much coffee, I got off to a jittery start. At about two minutes in, my train of thought completely derailed. I froze, then my feed froze. Then it came back just in time for me to hit ‘end’ with seven minutes remaining in my ten-minute spot.

Although I received some encouraging feedback, I haven’t been able to watch it back. Maybe I never will. But I can say I did it. I went live. I spoke up, and I learned a few things along the way:

1. The only thing that will prepare you for Live video is Live video.

I gave myself a seven day Facebook Live crash course. I sourced and read articles. Watched videos (live and pre-recorded), listened to podcasts and asked the veterans for advice. And while this information helped in many ways, it in no way prepared me to hit the ‘go’ button.

When you go live there are a lot of things to think about. If you’re on Facebook, acknowledge your audience. Make sure you aren’t mumbling, babbling, rambling or that you don’t accidentally swear. Be aware of gaps in the dialogue and awkward silences.

I came undone right at the start. I was broadcasting via my iPhone on mirror, and looking straight at my own face. Pretty soon I found myself thinking, “Wow, I play with my hair a lot” which led to my first “um.”

These are things I could never have been taught, things that could have only been learnt from experience.

2. No scripts – know your conversation topic and know it well.

Facebook Live works best when the video is a conversation. Sure, you can write and read a script, but if you really want to connect with your audience, you need to deliver your message with authenticity and passion.

I knew loosely what I wanted to say, and while I would have benefited from more structure, my message is one that I am living and talking about on a daily basis. Consider planning out your Live broadcasts the same way as any other content or social media marketing but don’t fix yourself to a script.

And get creative, you don’t just need to be sitting behind a desk!

3. Just have fun with it.

Probably my biggest mistake was taking the broadcast way too seriously. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a serious topic on a serious day, and I am serious about my business. But the greatest content is made when you allow yourself to be vulnerable. Let down some of the ‘professional’ walls and let your audience see you for just you.

If you haven’t considered going live, maybe it’s time. Until the opportunity presented itself to me, I’d never thought about it either. If you have been thinking about broadcasting, do it. Set it up and go live.

In my last article, I encouraged everyone to speak up. If you have a message, now is the time. It has never been easier to be heard.

And as disastrous as my first attempt sounds, I wouldn’t change it. In fact, I went back again, and again. And guess what … I’m hooked!

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