Ways to Use Facebook Live to Grow Your Blog

In today’s lesson, I want to talk about Facebook live video which is a technology that has been around for a while now on Facebook and that I think continues to be something that bloggers could get a lot of value out of.

180: 7 Types of Facebook Live Videos that Grow Your Audience, Build Your Brand and Make Money

We’ve seen Facebook continue to develop it over the last 12 months. Initially, it was only available to larger influencers and verified account holders, then they opened it up to everyone and in the last few weeks they’ve made it so you can now do it from your desktop rather than just using your phone.

I know numerous bloggers getting pretty amazing results with FB live – they’re using it to build their brand, grow their audience and make money – so I thought today we’d look at some of the different ways that you can use it to grow your blog and business.

Stay tuned my quick top 7 ways to use Facebook Live!

Further Resources on Using Facebook Live

Listen to this episode in the player above or on iTunes here (look for episode 180).

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Hey there, it’s Darren Rowse from ProBlogger. Welcome to Episode 180 of the ProBlogger podcast where today I want to talk about Facebook Live and give you my Top 7 different ways to use this technology that I think has a lot of benefits for bloggers. As I said at the top, my name is Darren Rowse and I’m the blogger behind problogger.com, a blog, podcast, event, job board, series of ebooks, and many other things all designed to help you as a blogger grow your audience and make money from your blog. You can learn more about ProBlogger over at problogger.com.

In today’s lesson, we’re talking Facebook Live and we’ve seen over the last 12 or so months Facebook continue to develop this particular aspect of their platform. Initially, it was only available to larger influences or verified account holders but then they opened it up to everyone. I’ve seen a lot of our audience begin to experiment with the technology.

Facebook hasn’t just let this technology sit dormant. Over the last few weeks, they’ve made it even easier to do. You can now do it from your desktop, you just need to log into Facebook itself and there’s an option to do a Facebook Live broadcast from your webcam which really opens it up to even more bloggers. I suspect they’re going to continue to develop it even further. I hope they add things like being able to share your screen and to do split screens. You can do a lot of that stuff using other tools and we’ll touch on some of that a little bit later on today.

I know a number of you as readers of ProBlogger are already using Facebook Live but I suspect there’s many of you who have been looking at this technology and wondering how you would use it. That’s what I want to focus upon today. Let me give you seven ways to use Facebook Live to help to grow your brand, grow your audience, and to make money from your blog, and to build your business.

Let’s get into today’s show. But before I do, I just want to briefly give you some of the why of using Facebook Live and I’m going to whip through these reasons really quickly. Firstly, for me, Facebook Live, the real benefit of it is that it gives you a live interaction with your audience. It’s all about engagement, it’s all about understanding who is reading your blog and who’s watching you because you get immediate feedback. More important than that, it personalizes your brand and it shows your followers, your readers, who you are.

I’ve lost track of the amount of people that have contacted me after watching one of my live videos and having interacted with me on a live video. I’ve lost count of the number of people who have said things like you’re not the way I had previously thought of you, you’re different to my previous perception of you. Usually, the difference is a positive difference, I’m pleased to say.

Facebook Live does open up that engagement with your audience and it certainly warms up your audience. I’ve noticed many times after a Facebook Live that people leave comments on my blog for the first time ever having seen me on a Facebook Live or they will purchase a product in the days that follow as well. I think it’s really about that engagement, it helps your audience to understand who you are, helps you understand them, and helps them feel like you have noticed them because you’re seeing their comments, you’re interacting with them. It helps you understand who’s reading your blog which gives you insight into the type of content that you can create as well.

I find Facebook Live gives me a lot of energy as well. It’s quite often after doing a Facebook Live that I will have an idea for a blog post and I will have real motivation to write that post because I’ve just been asked a question or I’ve just seen one of my audience members with a particular need. I’ve lost track of the amount of podcasts that I’ve created almost within minutes of completing a Facebook Live because it does give me energy and motivation and ideas as well.

It’s also a really great way of testing your ideas. If you’ve got an idea for a blog post or a podcast or a piece of content or a product, jump on Facebook Live and test that. You get immediate feedback with your audience as well.

It’s also a great way of increasing your reach on Facebook. Facebook is prioritizing Facebook Live at the moment. They are showing your live videos to a large audience than pretty much any other type of content that you can put onto Facebook at the moment. I’ve seen this time and time again, I did a Facebook Live just last week. I think on the ProBlogger page, we have an audience of about 80,000 people who followed our page. That video had reach of over 150,000. That’s because Facebook prioritizes that. It’s the type of content that people like to share as well, so it is a great way of finding new readers or engaging with those readers who perhaps haven’t seen your content for a while on Facebook Live because of their algorithm on Facebook.

There’s a whole lot of reasons there. I think it does help to build your brand, build your audience, and there’s potential for it to help you to monetize as well. The question then is how do you use it and what type of video should you be creating on Facebook Live? Really, there’s no one answer. I’ve seen 10, 15 different types of videos that bloggers are using on Facebook Live but today I just want to share the top 7 that I’ve seen and done myself.

Number one is my favorite and that is to do an ask me anything video. We’ll say right upfront that this is the one that you need to have an audience for. If you are a small blogger, this may be a bit of a tricky one, or you may need to really work hard to get people to show up on your ask me anything video. This is where you sit in front of the camera and you take questions and you answer those questions to the best of your ability. This is what I predominantly use Facebook Live for at the moment, I’m trying to do it at least once a week. Sometimes I announce it beforehand with an email or in Twitter to try and get people to my Facebook page just before it happens. That certainly helps to get more interaction.

I find that I need 20 to 30 people to be watching live to get enough questions to last me at least half an hour. That’s the minimum that I’m looking to be on Facebook Live for is about half an hour because it takes a little while for your audience to grow and for Facebook to be able to prioritize it. You want to be aiming for at least that long.

Ultimately, it’s an ask me anything type session but sometimes it is helpful to be able to put a topic around it as well. You could say, if you’re a photography blogger, “Ask me anything about portrait photography.” Or, “Ask me anything about landscape photography.” That sometimes can help to draw people in with that particular interest.

Sometimes it’s also good to be able to go into those sessions with some questions that you’ve already been asked to get the ball rolling. You might say on your Facebook page a few hours you’re going to do the video that you’re taking questions and that you will answer them in an upcoming Facebook Live video.

Ask me anything is really great if you do have that audience. It does build engagement, and this is where you do get that conversation with your audience. It’s one of the few places that you can almost have a real time conversation with your audience. These are the ones where I often get those emails afterwards of people really saying thank you so much for answering my question and you are different to the way I expected. You can be a bit playful in these types of sessions.

Number two is to teach something. Prepare a talk, prepare some tips, prepare some teaching of some kind. Usually, I would take in about five different points that I want to make on a particular topic and I would make the topic a pain point of my audience or a challenge that they’re trying to overcome and then I would present five or so things about how to overcome that. Again, you want to aim for maybe 10, 15 minutes of teaching and then you can switch into a Q&A. That’s where you get a little bit more interactive. You want to say right upfront that today, I’m not here to answer questions, I want to teach you something and then we’re going to take on a Q&A as well. That really does work well.

You can use some visuals with that, I’ve seen people standing in front of a white board where they have their points written. I’ve seen people use their camera on their phone and flipped it around to show the points on the screen, it’s a powerpoint presentation. I’ve seen people stand in front of televisions where they have a powerpoint so they’re able to have some visuals for their teaching as well. Using those visuals can really work well.

I really hope that Facebook does add in the ability to do screen sharing natively from their app or from the desktop option that they have at the moment because that will certainly help with the teaching because you will be able to use your visuals. But, there are other tools that you can use to do that as well. There’s a tool called WireCast which will enable you to have multiple cameras and also to share your screen, your desktop on your computer. You could also use a tool called Zoom. Zoom is a webinar tool and you can actually do a webinar and then share that to Facebook Live. That would be another way that you can share some slides in a fairly easy way.

The key here is to think about what you’re going to teach and make sure it’s something that really is a pain point of your audience or it’s something that they want to learn. One of the great things as bloggers when it comes to this is that if you’ve already got content on your blog that teaches something that you can really quite easily take one of those old posts that you’ve written and repurpose that into a live video. You’ve already got the content there, you’ve got your main points already lined out, it’s just a matter of speaking those points. Don’t read them, you want to speak them.

A number three type of video that you want to use is where you want to use the live video to promote some content that you’ve already published. This is something I’ve done a number of times and I’ve done it a number of times particularly on Digital Photography School. What I was doing for a while on the DPS Facebook page was to jump on and to do a Facebook Live just after our newsletter went out. What I would do is basically run through the newsletter and show our viewers of the video the post that we’ve published over the last week. If you’ve subscribed to the DPS newsletter, you’ll know that we send out once a week an email that just basically shows the 14 posts that we’ve published over the last week. We list them, it’s a very simple email.

What I did was basically I showed people the content and I use my phone to do this. I flip the camera around and show the screen of my computer and actually talked about each of the pieces of content that we published over the last week. And then in the description of that video, I shared the links of each of those pieces of content as well so people could then go and find those pieces of content. That did really well, we saw spikes in traffic but it also helped us to get new subscribers to our newsletter because that start of that video I was saying, “Hey, if you haven’t already got our newsletter, here’s what it looks like.” I show them, “Here’s the content that we promoted this week.” That motivated some people to sign up for our newsletter as well.

You could do it with your newsletter or you could do it every time you write a new blogpost. You could say hey, today, I published this. You might give a few of the reasons that you published that post. You might even give a bit of a teaser on some of the content itself, and then you give people the link to go and find that piece of content. You might also take some questions. You might say, “Go and read it now, let me know what you think about it,” and get feedback in some way. Promoting content, promoting a newsletter, promoting some feature of your blog is the number three type of video that you might do on Facebook Live.

Number four is to do a review or to demonstrate something. One of the beauties of video is that you can show stuff. It doesn’t just have to be you standing in front of a camera talking into the webcam, you can be actually illustrating how to use something or to show a product or something that you’ve got that might interest your readers in some way.

You might do an unboxing. If you get a parcel in the mail, you can do an unboxing if you know what it is. Give your first impressions of that particular product. I’ve seen a number of bloggers do this in the fashion space, fashion bloggers who actually unbox a dress and then duck behind a little place and put it on and then show it and then get feedback on it from their audience.

I’ve seen parenting bloggers demonstrate toys with their kids, actually showing the product that they have being given for review. You could do this as a first impression review and then go in and write the full review later on.

The great thing about Facebook Live is that you can embed the videos that you do as a Facebook Live into a blog post later. That’s pretty cool. You can actually say in your full review that you write up in your blog, “Here’s a video that I shot with my first impressions.” Give the rest of the content underneath that as your written content. Doing reviews, demonstrating if you’ve got something particularly visual that you’re writing about, that could be a great way to use Facebook Live.

Similarly if you’re a travel blogger to show a destination. I guess in many ways that’s a review or a demonstration of that destination as well. If you’ve got something visual that you’re blogging about, Facebook Live could be brilliant for you.

Number five way that you can use Facebook Live is to recap an event. I know a lot of you go to conferences, you go to workshops, you go to different types of events. Using Facebook Live in that scenario is brilliant. Firstly, you could actually be showing part of the event. You need to get a bit of permission, you need to actually find out what the terms of service are of that event. You probably don’t want to be live broadcasting keynote speeches without permission. But at the end of the day, that is often a great time for you to do a Facebook Live because you can recap what happened at the event.

I’ve done this a number of times. Last year at Social Media Marketing World, at the end of every day, I would get on and do a Facebook Live video for my followers of here’s the top five things that I learned at Social Media Marketing World this year. That was great because it actually shared what I was learning with my audience. I have a large audience that wants to be at the event that I’m at, but most of them just can’t be there. To be able to give some sort of an insight of that to show them parts of that event can be a really good thing as well. If you are going to an event, make sure at the end of that day, at the start of the day, perhaps just do some little snippets throughout the day of different things that you learned at the event.

Number six thing that you can do for Facebook Live, I’ve already touched on it, to do interviews. This is something you could do at an event to actually ask a speaker, ask another attendee, can I ask you a few questions about the topic that you spoke about, or a session that you’ve been at. Interviewing people can be a great way of doing your Facebook Live. This gets someone else into your video which brings a bit of variety to what you’re doing as well.

It doesn’t have to be at an event, you can actually arrange to meet someone, find a quiet room somewhere, and to do a longer interview or more formal interview as well. This can be done live or they can be done using some of the tools like Zoom, the webinar tool that enables you to do split sharing. At the moment, the Facebook Live doesn’t natively let you do split sharing but I have heard some rumors that that might be coming. But at the moment, you can use tools like Zoom to do that as well. It might be more of a virtual interview in some ways as well.

The last type of video that I’m keen to experiment with, I’ve seen social media examiner do this a number of times, is where they give their Facebook Live access to a guest presenter. If you think about guest posts on blogs, that’s fairly common today. We allow people to write a useful piece of content on our blog, why not consider giving access to someone to your Facebook page to do a live video? This takes a bit of trust because you’re going to have to give them some admin rights to your Facebook page. You don’t want to just be doing this to anyone.

If you’ve got an expert in your field, someone that you know and trust, get them on to do an ask me anything or get them on to do a teaching type one. Get them to present something. That can actually be really interesting because it shows your audience that you’re connected with other people in your industry, it gives them another voice which adds a bit of variety to your page, and they may promote it as well if they’re someone who has some influence in their space, they might share it to their network which then helps your page to be found by more people as well.

Again, it takes some trust. Don’t just give access to your Facebook page to anyone, but that’s something that you might want to do.

Those are just seven things that you can do with a Facebook Live. Ask me anything, teach something, promote content or your newsletter, do a review or a demonstration, recap an event, interview someone, or get a guest presenter on. You can do a lot more than that, you can do a behind the scenes, announcements, previews of things that are coming out. Those seven things that I’ve gone through are the things that I’ve used Facebook Live for with best results.

I would love to hear what you think. How have you used Facebook Live? You can tell us how you’ve done that at problogger.com/podcast/180 or you can share that over in our Facebook Group. Just search on Facebook for ProBlogger Podcast Listeners.

Lastly, I want to challenge you to do a Facebook Live this week. I know for a fact that a large percentage of you have not done your first Facebook Live. I want to challenge you to do it today. Whether anyone shows up to your Facebook Live live or not, it doesn’t matter. The great thing about Facebook Live is that once the live session is over, it becomes a video on your page or in your group, wherever you decide to do it. It becomes content that you can then embed into a blog post or that will remain on your page and people can access it afterwards.

Facebook continues to share it later on. Even if no one shows up to it, if you do a teaching for example and no one shows up, it still is valuable content as well. I want you to choose one of those seven types of Facebook Lives, to do it on your Facebook page, and then to come into our Facebook Group ProBlogger Podcast Listeners and share what you did, leave a link to your Facebook Live. I really want to see as many Facebook Lives over the next seven days as possible. I challenge you, I dare you, I double dare you, do it today.

Thanks for listening, I’ll chat with you next week.

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