Taking selfies is out. Live-streaming is the new way to express yourself and show the world what’s going on in your life. Using a smartphone or tablet, you can broadcast to your friends, family, business associates and fans in real time over the Internet.
Facebook Live launched last year with a myriad of paid publishers and public figures that live-stream news, parties, shows and more. In April, Facebook opened Live to all of its 1.7 billion users, but only a small number of them are using it. Maybe they don’t know how, or maybe they don’t see a need for it (or somewhere in between), but Facebook Live is a great way for us to get others in tune with our lives.
I live-stream portions of my national radio show on Facebook. It’s been a great way to expand my show’s reach, and I regularly receive comments about some things I never imagined.
Because my longtime and new listeners can see the studios, most are surprised that a network radio show is broadcast using a 10-camera television production set. You see, we webcast the show long before Facebook Live. Click here to watch some of my Facebook Live archives.
Think about how you might use this free Facebook feature. Show those who can’t attend a get-together what they are missing. Express your opinion on anything. That’s what the “Chewbacca Mom” did with a Star Wars mask last May, and she laughed her way to a reported $420,000 worth of gifts and an appearance on James Corden’s late night talk show.
How to get started
Open the Facebook app on your smartphone or tablet. Go to your profile, open up the status bar and you’ll see the “What’s on my mind?” prompt. Toward the bottom, select “Live Video.”
If you haven’t already granted the Facebook app access to your camera and microphone, a prompt will appear requesting it. You only have to do this once.
A live preview of your video will appear, but don’t worry — you’re not broadcasting live all across Facebook yet!
Select either your front or rear-facing camera by clicking the switch in the upper-right corner. You can shoot in portrait or landscape mode, but the video will always be square. Take a moment to enter a title and description for your video.
On this preview page, you can also select your live video’s privacy settings. How much do you want to share this video? You can set it to either “Public, Friends, Friends except... or Only Me.” Select “Only Me” until you get a handle on how it works.
You’re now ready to broadcast live. Position the camera in the direction you want it and tap the “Go Live” button in the lower-right corner. A “3, 2, 1” countdown timer will appear.
Congratulations! You are now live-streaming on Facebook. Your video will show in your News Feed, just like any other post.
The screen is split. One-half of your phone’s screen shows your video feed and the number of viewers. The other half shows comments, likes and friends who are viewing your video. When your live-stream starts, Facebook will build an audience for you by sending notifications to your Facebook friends. It takes time to build an audience, so don’t get discouraged if only a handful of people see your first stream.
When you are done live-streaming, tap “Finish” to end the broadcast. Your video is posted to your Timeline or Profile Page, where others can watch your video as it happened in real-time, complete with chronological likes and comments.
If you don’t want to save or post a replay of your live video, tap “Delete” instead.
Tips for better Facebook Live videos
Adequate lighting: Before beginning your live-stream, make sure you have a good light source. No one likes dark, hard-to-see footage.
Stabilize your shots: Avoid sudden and jerky movements. If possible, use a tripod or a stabilizer.
Check your mic: When you are holding your phone or tablet, make sure your hand does not cover the microphone.
Mind your background: Check your surroundings, especially when you’re at home. Remember, when a stream goes live, nothing can be unseen. While it’s good to be spontaneous, it’s better to be visually safe.
Bandwidth: A strong Wi-Fi connection is best. A cellular connection is often unpredictable. A fluctuating connection may result in a choppy or blocky video stream and lead to disconnects.
As a national broadcaster for over 20 years on live network radio, the biggest tip I can share with you is to be yourself. Smile when you talk. Imagine your audience is your friends, and you’re all sitting around the kitchen table just chatting. Facebook allows for up to four-hour live streams. Trust me; that’s a lot of air to fill!
From buying advice to digital life issues, be sure to listen or download the Kim Komando podcasts. Click here to find your local radio station. If you are looking for topics about everything digital that you can listen to on your phone, tablet or computer, click here for my free podcasts.
Copyright 2016, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved.
On the Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show, Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.