In April 2016, Facebook launched their live video platform, Facebook Live, making it easier to create, share, and discover live video. Live streaming across social media is nothing new, Meerkat and Periscope pioneered the technology and created interest in video platforms. What makes Facebook Live different is Facebook’s massive user base with more than 1.79 billion monthly active users, compared to Twitter’s 313 million active users (Twitter owns Periscope). Facebook leverages its user base by notifying its users when people within their network are tuning into a particular stream, creating a more social form of video streaming.
Here are a few tips for successfully using Facebook Live:
Have a clear purpose – Know why you’re using the platform before jumping in. There are endless opportunities for healthcare to use live videos, such as announcing new technology or services, physicians, behind the scenes tours, community events, and involvement. Whatever the topic, pick it and stick to it. Ask yourself if the video stream is for patient acquisition, brand awareness, or other goals
Be spontaneous – Spontaneity makes live video interactive and real. The key is having a host who is entertaining, authoritative and relatable for your audience. Think of it as preparing for a party; you want to have all your things in order, but you still want interesting things to happen that are not part of your plan.
Plan for the worst, hope for the best – A live video feed can be unpredictable, so it’s important to think through the worst-case scenarios to prepare for those unplanned moments. Tips to minimize the chance of things going wrong include setting the stage, so you don’t inadvertently compromise privacy or confidentiality, pre-prepare answers for possible questions, and have a colleague watching and responding to comments as you’ll be busy creating a great experience for your viewers.
Broadcast for at least 10 minutes – It takes time for your live video to appear in your audience’s news feed. The longer your video runs, the more likes, comments, and shares will accumulate, resulting in more viewers. Depending on your audience, timing is crucial. Live videos with tips for new mothers will be at different times than ones focusing on weight loss or smoking cessation.
Engage viewers – Facebook will give your video feed a higher relevancy score if viewers comment on your broadcast. The higher the score, the greater likelihood that the video stream will appear on people’s news feed. Have someone read the comments, answer their questions, and acknowledge commenters by name. Not only will you encourage people to comment, but it will also enhance the viewer’s live experience. Ask your audience to subscribe to live notifications and like and share your video.
A growing number of hospitals use personal video platforms like Facebook Live and Periscope for community outreach, Q&A with physicians, medical procedures, and behind-the-scene tours. Here are a few examples from The Mayo Clinic, UNC Healthcare, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, and The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.