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How to Grow an Audience on Facebook Live

Broadcasting on Facebook Live seems like a great idea, until you discover no one is watching your broadcast. Talk show personality Mario Armstrong outlined how he is building his audience for his Facebook Live interactive weekly talk show.

Be Habit Forming

"Consistency and frequency is really important. Part of what people think is ‘If I go live, a lot of people will show up' and that's not going to be the case," says Armstrong. Appointment streaming—scheduling your broadcast for a specific time—can help build an audience. Wednesdays at 7 PM ET was his choice. "We came to that day and time because we did third-party market research." Asking your audience is one sure fire way to pick the best time. For those without a market research budget, one shortcut is seeing when previously written blog posts got the most traffic.

Find Your Ideal Audience

Identify the type of person who will not only want to watch, but will spread the word. "We need to market to the most likely advocates of the show," Armstrong says. "We target people that we know have the highest propensity of wanting to watch something like this and will want to share it with their friends."

If consumers follow your brand, the live video will show up in their newsfeeds. But it's important to reach non-followers, as well. Making live video searchable means crafting a great summary and using hashtags. Facebook uses hashtags to group like content together in search results. Armstrong's new show is called Never Settle, so his hashtags are #NeverSettleTV and #MarioArmstrong. He uses other hashtags, as well, depending on weekly topics.

Advance Notice

facebooklive2aLet viewers know about the brand's broadcast at least 24 to 48 hours ahead of time. Facebook's notification options are the best ways to communicate that info. Post messages in the brand's newsfeed and message contacts who would be interested in the event. Also, reach out to viewers who aren't on Facebook or have notifications turned off:

"Make use of as many social platforms that your potential audience will be on—Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Periscope, Instagram, and Snapchat," Armstrong says. Create custom posts on each platform, or use a social media management tool like Buffer or Hootsuite to schedule posts for multiple accounts.

Go Long

Plan to broadcast long enough to allow stragglers to tune in. "Longer is normally better. If you do a 3 or 4-minute live stream, you're not going to get that many people. Do at least 10 to 15 minutes," Armstrong says. For the ‘Escape the Room' broadcast he did covering an interactive strategy game, Armstrong created commentary beforehand. "Instead of just going live at the place, I did a pre-show before from in front of the building."

Always Be Closing

Incorporate a couple of proven sales strategies to sell live video to the audience.

  • Share: "One of the things you can do once you go live is to train people to share the broadcast. If viewers go down to the bottom of their screen and click the share link Facebook rewards that behavior by more readily promoting your content in newsfeeds," Armstrong says. Make sure to ask viewers to share.


  • Create messages: Prepare a few key messages in advance to encourage viewers to reach out to others who they feel might be interested. For example, "We're about to see an interview with a woman who created her dream job. If you have friends or family who are thinking about a career change, let them know about our next segment right now."

  • Use partners: Plan in advance for others to share your live stream when it happens. "Coordinate partners—other organizations or people—and say, 'I'm going to go live at 10:30 ET. When I go live, it would be great if you can come onto my page and share it right away,'" Armstrong says.

  • SMS Messaging: Look into text message group lists. "You can send people a text and say ‘I'm about to go live on Facebook' and send them the link to the actual broadcast,'" Armstrong says. For iOS users, go to Settings and turn off the Group Messaging option before group texting. This allows the sender to blind cc, so as not to publicly broadcast everyone's number. Create group lists using included phone software or more formal services. Business text marketing requires recipients to opt-in.

  • facebook3Subscribe: "A lot of people don't do this. Broadcasters need to remind people to sign-up if they want to see future content," Armstrong says. Ask viewers to subscribe to notifications from Facebook. Some broadcasters have the option of placing a button at the end of their live broadcasts. For others, it's more involved: Go to the broadcaster's page, like it, then choose to receive notifications for live video.

Quick Recap

Broadcast at a specific time so viewers know when to find the brand's stream, and broadcast for at least 10 minutes each time. Reach out to the brand's audience on multiple platforms, including Facebook, other social channels, and even texts. Create concise introduction summaries for videos and use hashtags to make it easier for viewers to search the topic. While broadcasting, be sure to use a variety of sales techniques to spread the word: Ask the audience to invite friends, prepare a couple of phrases in advance to remind viewers about what type of content is coming next, and  get partners to help spread the word.

Finally, after doing all that work to acquire viewers, be sure they're truly interested in the content. "Looks at analytics to see what viewers like and where they drop off," Armstrong says.

Nadine Krefetz's article first appeared on OnlineVideo.net

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