Facebook Live Is an Easy Ministry Tool


nancy-wilson

Facebook Live Is Easy to Use

For the eleventh post in the 2016 byte-size series, I’m encouraging you to try Facebook Live. This post should provide everything you’ll need to get started.

I’m sure you’re aware of how popular videos are on social media and that Facebook Live has become a common way to share them. One reason Facebook Live is recommended to use is because if you share the video from a Facebook page, everyone who has liked the page will get the video in their feed. Normally, your broadcast would be for only people recently active on your page.

I’ve tried Facebook Live a few times last month, so I’ll share what I’ve learned.

Get Ready to Go Live

Announce: As I did a little online research, the common advice is to announce your live event. I haven’t found anything about whether it’s better to announce hours or days ahead. Nancy Wilson announced her first Facebook Live event “exactly” one week ahead and had several hundred watching at the time we filmed. Within 24 hours she had 900 views. She’s only had 500 views for the videos she hasn’t announced.

Your Equipment: Turn on your camera. Are your battery and wi-fi connection good-to-go?

  • Look through your lens. How do the framing and the lighting look for the video? (I recommend horizontal, not vertical, videos.)
  • Do you have the front- or back-facing camera on?
  • If using a phone, put it into Airplane Mode to prevent an incoming call from disrupting your video.
  • I recommend a tripod or some way to stabilize. For Nancy, I propped my elbows on a bench. For a group event, I had a tripod with an attached mic. Moving further away lowered the audio quality, plus the mic picked up the noises of repositioning the tripod.

The Setting: Look around. Is it noisy? Will a pole appear to be sticking out of your head or will lots of distracting action be happening in the background? Outdoor settings often provide nice, natural lighting.

Security / Privacy: You share your location publicly when you add a location to a public broadcast or include your location publicly on your profile or Facebook page. Your live video would appear on the Facebook Live Map if you’ve made it public.

You’re on the Air

It’s so easy to use, I’m not going to even explain how to “go live,” but if you need the steps, here’s Facebook’s instructions.

Before the countdown to go live, choose your audience. You’ll also be asked to type in a headline. Think of something that grabs attention and explains your topic. It’s possible to edit this later if you’re drawing a blank.

State at the beginning who you are and why you’re filming. If possible, verbally acknowledge those who are joining in. If you have a videographer and you’re the presenter, your helper may be able to type in some responses for you during filming. You’ll be able to comment later as well. Try asking and responding to questions while recording for increased engagement.

Broadcast for a longer time to give people a chance to join in. As you experiment, you’ll find the best length of time for your viewers.

Your minimum call-to-action might be to mention the follow button below the video (only seen when on the air, apparently). If you have any call-to-action, you have multiple options:

  • State it
  • Write it in the comments or in the video description
  • Add it in captions later

Hit the “finish” button. I lost my Internet connection while live once and the video posted anyway without my tapping the “finish” or the “post” buttons. Normally, though, you would post, download, or delete when you’re done filming.

Two Must-Do Tips for Post-Production

Most importantly, go through the comments and reply.

Share and upload your video to different social media sites. One way to get the URL to share for your video is to find your page of videos (see the arrow below). Open the video. Right click on the video itself.  Click on “Show video URL.” Copy the URL in the little window that opens. If needed, use Buffer, bit.ly, or another URL shortener. Long URLs will be hard for your friends to share.

fb-live-edit1Editing

There’s a lot in this section. Don’t let it overwhelm you. You could skip parts of it, but I would definitely do steps #2, 3, 6, 9, and 10. If you find that Facebook Live is working for your ministry, come back to this post every time you’re ready to go live to learn a new skill for your next event.

Ready to edit? You’ve found your page of videos (image above). Now click on the “Your videos” tab and then the “Edit or Remove” pencil icon in the upper right corner of the video you want to edit.
fb-live-edit2

I’ll go through the numbered steps found in the next two images. Some of this editing will increase the engagement on your video, so it’s worth it.

  1. Tag people in the video. You might need to ask permission in some cases.
  2. Create a title.
  3. Pick one of the ten thumbnails.
  4. Enter the location.
  5. Enter the date.
  6. Write a good description. I included my call-to-action.fb-live-edit3
  7. See Captions below.
  8. See Captions below.
  9. Select a category.
  10. Choose your privacy setting (which you should have done before filming, ideally).

fb-live-edit4

Try Some More Options

Add Captions

I almost passed over the option to upload an SRT file, a basic format for subtitles, but I found it easy to do, so I’m including some instructions. These are Steps #8 and 9.

Before starting, however, I have a bit.ly account with a short URL for my blog’s MailChimp subscription sign-up (see the underline below). If you’re a blogger, I recommend creating one of these links to use for situations like this. I needed a short invitation to subscribe to my blog, eQuipping for eMinistry. In hindsight, I probably could have made it a clickable link in the caption.

Write the code: Opening Microsoft Notepad, I wrote the code for two captions. TextEdit is the Apple text editor. (One of these is free on your laptop.)

fb-live-srt1

Here’s the code for two captions for this video. Watch the video if you’d like to see how the captions look when added to a video. The first one starts at 27 seconds, ending at 57 seconds. The second at one minute, ending 13 seconds later. You could copy and paste my code (below) for your own use, just modifying the numbers for the times and the wording for the captions.

1
00:00:27,000 –> 00:00:57,000
Get help from eQuipping for eMinistry at http://bit.ly/e4esubscribe.

2
00:01:00,000 –> 00:01:13,000
Thank you.

Start with “1” and create as many captions as you need. Leave a space between captions. Don’t overlap times.

Save your file, using “save as” and…

  • Use this format: filename.en_US.srt (This is for English in the USA. For other countries, find your language and country in Facebook’s Help Center)
  • Save as type: All Files
  • Encoding: UTF-8

fb-live-srt2

Make sure your captions are what you want. I tried to get back in to change them after uploading, but received an error message. It might be doable, but I recommend just taking the time to type your captions correctly the first time around.

Going back to the ten steps under “Editing”:

  • Fill out the Captions window for Step #7, which probably brings up the naming convention for your country for the next step.
  • Upload your SRT File for Step #8.

I made some mistakes with Facebook Live, but that’s part of becoming acquainted with any technology, so don’t be afraid to jump in. Delete the video at any time if you need to.

Share a link to your Facebook Live video in the comments!

NOTES:

Why not check out more posts in the 2016 Byte-size series for some easy-to-do tech ideas for ministry?Byte-size series icon

The Byte-size Series:

Each byte-size series post is meant to be easy for you to do.

  1. Priority Inbox for Gmail and using lists in Facebook
  2. Your web presence and your online MO
  3. Email subject lines
  4. Google Apps and search tips
  5. You could afford a tablet
  6. 5 Easy Tech Ideas You Didn’t Know You Needed
  7. Saving Facebook Posts… for Bloggers, Too
  8. Painting a Bigger Picture for Your Ministry Partners
  9. Easy Tips for Cropping Photos with Paint.net
  10. Your eTools for Your Myers-Briggs Type
  11. Facebook Live Is an Easy Ministry Tool

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