How to Use Facebook Live for Pet Adoption
By Emily Garman
Facebook Live seems like it was designed with animal welfare organizations in mind — there are so many different ways you can use it! But you can do so much more than just click on “go live” and talk to the camera. Here are some ideas and strategies to maximize your use of this fantastic tool.
Get Verified. Be sure your page is verified before you go live. Any profile or page can go live, but only verified pages can include calls to action and donate buttons inside their Facebook Live videos. If your page is verified, you’ll see a blue or gray checkmark next to your page’s name. If your page isn’t verified, here’s how to do it.
Do this first because it could take some time to get your page verified.
WHILE YOU’RE WAITING …
Brainstorm topics. What are different ways your organization could use Facebook Live? Some easy ideas are a behind-the-scenes tour of your facility, feeding time for cats/dogs/etc. and live updates from events.
Some other ideas would be broadcasting live from City Hall or your state legislature on lobby days, or while relevant legislation is being discussed. You can also do Staff interviews — let the public meet the people who make your organization great! You can also host a live Q&A session. Since viewers can comment in real time on your post, they can ask questions and you can answer them live on camera! Celebrity takeovers are also fun. If you have celebrities who are friends of your organization, let them have a little fun with your stream. You can also celebrate new announcements. New building? New play yard? New logo or website? Announce it online and get people’s feedback instantly!
Keep in mind… Don’t go overboard. Your page followers receive a notification whenever you are live, so don’t do it all the time. Save live broadcasts for important events, announcements and special times.
Find the people in your organization (staff or volunteers!) who want to do this. Facebook Live is not scripted, and it should be relaxed, and above all, FUN and interesting. If the person on camera doesn’t want to be there, it’s going to be a flop.
You have to do this from a mobile device, like a phone or tablet running the Facebook app. It doesn’t currently work from a computer.
Open your Facebook app, and make sure you’re connected to a solid WiFi connection. If it’s your first time broadcasting, the app may ask you to grant permission to access your device’s microphone and camera. Say yes, and click on “Live Video” or “Live” in the same area where you would type a status update.
HORIZONTAL OR VERTICAL?
Horizontal is still the preferred way to shoot video, because it looks better across all platforms and devices. Whichever orientation you prefer, be sure to have your phone turned that way before you go live — don’t turn the camera during filming!
How about a head strap? Depending on what you’re shooting, you might consider going hands-free. GoPro is the most common solution for this, but you can also use a tripod, have someone else hold the camera, or even fashion a head mount. Get creative! Bottom line: nobody wants to see a shaky video, à la Blair Witch Project.
TIPS FOR YOUR FIRST BROADCAST
Prepare for your broadcast by writing a good description. Keep it short and simple, but catchy, so followers want to click on it. Writing this also helps clarify in your mind what you’re going to do and talk about!
Tell people before you go live. Start a day or so before your broadcast, and remind them leading up to it — IF it’s something planned. For example, “We’ll be LIVE from our 48-hour adoptathon each day at noon!” Or “New kittens available for adoption… watch LIVE tomorrow at 2pm to meet them!”
Take your time. Live broadcasts can be longer than recorded videos—your live broadcast can be up to 8 hours on a computer, and 4 hours on a mobile device. Since not everyone will log on immediately, a longer video gives people a chance to hop in and see what’s going on and participate. This also means that since people will be joining you at different points in the broadcast, you’ll need to repeat yourself a lot, and that’s okay! Be responsive.
Be responsive. Viewers will be commenting on the post in real-time. So while you’re speaking on camera live, have another volunteer or staff member respond to viewers’ comments and questions (off camera). Respond to every one you can to make people feel heard and appreciated.
Don’t forget the Call To Action (CTA). During your broadcast, as well as at the end, you can verbally encourage people to take action, such as “come down to PetSmart and see these puppies for adoption!” or “Share this video to help spread the word!” Ask for people to follow, share and comment, and direct people to your website for more information, if appropriate. If your page is a nonprofit and you’ve registered for donations through Facebook, you can also add a donate button to your video, so that people can click on it at any time during your broadcast (or later while watching the recording) and make a donation with just a couple of clicks.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER YOU’RE DONE STREAMING?
Facebook will automatically save the video to your page so that people can view it later. You can also save the recording to your device (your phone or tablet) if you wish. You can edit the video’s description and keywords, but you cannot edit the content. So don’t think, “Oh, I can edit that part out later,” like you can with a pre-recorded video.
SELLING AD SPACE
Facebook is allowing pages that meet certain criteria to run ads during their live videos. The criteria are different from those to place ads in pre-recorded videos. To run an ad in your Facebook Live feed, you must:
- Have more than 50,000 followers and have reached 300 or more concurrent viewers in a recent live video.
- Be a Facebook page (not a group or profile)
- Reach at least 300 concurrent viewers for the live video you want to place ads in, as you’re doing it.
- Have been live for at least 4 minutes.
After that, you can run another ad if you’ve waited for a minimum of 5 minutes from your last break.
In short, most of us will not qualify for live ads, and Facebook is not clear about the “share” of revenue from the ads you would receive. At this time, it’s probably not worth doing for the few dollars you might earn, versus how many viewers you might lose because of the ads.
You can also schedule your broadcast, much like you would create an event on Facebook. You create your title, description and set the date and time you want to go live. When you schedule your live video, an announcement will be published immediately.
On the set date, you’ll need to verify your live video feed at least 20 minutes before the scheduled start time. To verify it, preview the feed by opening the scheduled video in your Video Library.
People following your event will be notified about your scheduled broadcast, and some may be waiting for you at the scheduled start time. The live video will begin automatically at the scheduled start time. You must go live within 10 minutes of the scheduled time or your video will be canceled.
The Facebook Live scheduling tool gives you the ability to link prospective viewers to your post, and sign up for a reminder. For extra visibility with Facebook live video, embed the link to your scheduled live video onto your website or blog post to drive visitors to your broadcast.
Note: Scheduling does not mean you can pre-record a video and then make it go “live” at the appointed time. (You can do that if you want to—just schedule a video post—but it’s not the same as scheduling a live broadcast.) This just sets everything up so you can promote it; you’ll still be “going live” at the appointed time you selected.
Facebook gives you the usual metrics to measure your live video’s performance. You can see how many people watched it, and when (during the live broadcast or the later recording). If you included a donate button, you’ll be able to collect metrics on that as well. In that case, you can actually calculate your conversions. X number of people watched the video, Y number of people made donations; divide Y/X to get your conversion rate. If 100 people watched your video, and 10 people made donations, then you have a 10% conversion rate—10% of viewers took the action you wanted them to. (hint—your conversion rate will pretty much never be that high; look for conversion rates around 1.5% on average.)
The bottom line for measuring whether a marketing endeavor was successful is to see if people took the action you wanted them to take. Did they donate, sign up to volunteer, etc.? This is why it’s important to have a specific call to action in your live video. Ask viewers to do something specific in every video, and then you can measure your success by how many people take that action!
Emily Garman has been a foster mom and animal welfare volunteer for 20 years and founded TheSocialAnimal.com in 2008 to teach animal advocates how to use social media to raise money, recruit volunteers and save more lives. She presents on next-generation fundraising, social media and internet marketing all over North America.