Liven It Up with Facebook Live

By Ashley Wilson, December 1, 2017

Recently, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) celebrated its 2017 Culture of Health Prize winners—eight communities from across the nation working in dynamic ways to ensure equitable access to health for all. During the Prize and Learning Celebration, three Prize winners—San Pablo, CA (2017 winner), Seneca Nation of Indians (2017 winner) and Brownsville, TX (2014 winner)—participated in a Facebook Live highlighting what’s possible when youth are empowered to lead and implement change in their communities:

In the planning and execution of this event, we learned a few tips for Facebook Live success.

1. If you can’t make it timely, make it timeless

People are naturally interested in issues that are current, so timeliness is a great hook. But how do you generate interest in an issue that isn’t in the news 24/7? If a Facebook Live can’t be timely, make sure it is timeless for your audience by picking a topic that is always important to them. In our case, we selected the topic of youth leadership because many of the Prize communities and their partners prioritize youth in local programming. The topic has broader appeal as well: roughly one out of every seven people is between ages of 15 and 24—that’s 1.1 billion people! So highlighting new strategies to engage, support and mentor young people typically generates interest from the Foundation’s audience and beyond.

2. Prep but don’t prescribe

We all like to be prepared, especially in situations that will live in public spaces (read: may haunt your online presence forever). But over-prepping—or worse, scripting—a Facebook Live can ruin your content because Facebook Live is meant to feel organic, like a chat among friends. That doesn’t mean that prepping isn’t important, though. Prior to going live for the RWJF youth leadership event, for example, we brought everyone together for a casual conversation. Participants were able to meet and chat with Dr. Richard Besser, the event host, as well as other participants about their work and their communities. To put your participants at ease, prep them by giving them space to meet each other and discuss their topics in a casual way, while you share potential questions and review the event format.

3. Remember, it’s a two-way conversation. 

Facebook Live is not just for speaking to your audiences; it’s a great way to hear from them, too, to engage current page followers and organically grow your reach. The interactive nature of this medium should be capitalized on, not ignored. Talk to the Live audience, answer their questions in real time or through the comment section, and have a dialogue with viewers. It is important to remember your audience will grow and change as the Live progresses. Engage new guests by welcoming them throughout the event, explaining what is happening and asking then to share their thoughts.

If you already have a Facebook following, Facebook Live is an ideal platform to engage your audience and personalize your brand or organization. Going live offers a peek into your world, introduces followers to your staff and shines a light on issues important to your organization.

So, what are you waiting for? Log into your Facebook and go live!

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