How to Nail Your First Facebook Live

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How to Host a Successful Facebook Live Session

You’ve probably heard by now that Facebook Live is vital to your marketing plan. We all have, right? So, you’ve decided you’re going to do it, but now you’re faced with a whole new issue– how to hold a Facebook Live session.  As with everything we do to market our business, pre-planning will pay off here.

Get Comfortable with Being on Camera & Using Facebook Live

OK, I know it can be scary to agree to do Facebook live, but it’s one of the best ways to connect with your audience today. I have spoken in front of huge groups of people at conferences, and I was reluctant to start Facebook live myself. I get it. You want to make sure you sound pulled together and that you don’t ramble on and get caught up on a tangent. I get it. I had the same concerns. You know what? I’ve found I really love doing Facebook Live and would do them multiple times a week. Seems silly but it’s true.

If you’re nervous about doing a live session, you can create a practice group and only include yourself. You can practice going live in there and use it as your training area until you’re ready to go live for real. A lot of people do this to get comfortable with the idea of being on camera.

Choose Your Facebook Live Topic

It’s always best to have a topic in mind before going live. Your session will be more focused, and you’ll hopefully feel more at ease. Sometimes I’ll jot a couple of bullet points on a sticky note, so I make sure I cover the main points for my topic. I don’t take a lot of notes, I have maybe 3-4 words on a sticky, but I’m teaching subjects that I know well and have done for 10-20 years. For me, it’s natural. I’m used to speaking in front of groups and giving presentations on a regular basis. I try to think of my Facebook Live sessions as another client presentation or training class, so it’s easier for me. Find what works for you.

Once you’ve chosen your topic, think about what information your audience needs to know and what you want to share. If you’re not sure what to talk about during your session, think about the three most common questions you are asked by your customers. That’s what you should start with. The items they ask about the most often are their most pressing issues and where you can provide the most value.

Schedule Your Facebook Live Session

Once you’re comfortable with the idea of going live and you’ve done a practice session or two (if you want), go ahead and schedule a session on your calendar. I recommend choosing a day that’s at least a week out so that you can promote the live session in advance. Next week, we’ll talk about how to promote that session. For today, focus on finding a topic, determining your key bullet points, and getting comfortable with the concept.

Choose Your Facebook Live Location

Finally, before you go live…think about your location, backdrop, and image you want to portray. Think about your target audience and what they’re going to find appealing vs. distracting. If you have children (or pets) at home, you may need someone to watch them during your broadcast, so they’re not distracting you. In your test shots, look at the background, does it evoke the feeling you want to invoke? If not, what do you need to adjust? If there’s clutter in the background, clean it up and organize (or hide well).

Try a few backdrops and see what works the best. Some familiar backdrops for live video sessions are offices, bookshelves, solid color walls. If you are working from a dedicated home or professional office, you may be able to leave things set up at all times. If not, think about what you want to have to set up before you go live. I’ve personally found I like to keep things as ready to go as possible.  Due to this, I shoot my lives in my office and use my planning board as my background. I tried a couple of different backdrops and liked that the best. Play around with it, try a few and see what works best for you. People like a sneak peek into the behind the scenes, so this approach often works well.

Choose Your Wardrobe for Your Facebook Live 

This one might seem silly, but honestly, it’s one of the more essential items when you’re doing video. When I worked in the TV news business, wardrobe, hair, and makeup were essential for anyone who was on camera. And, live or pre-recorded video is the same. Our appearance can be distracting from our message. You don’t want someone to fixate on something in the background or on you and not listen to the message because of this.

Navy looks best on camera. If you have a nice solid navy top, it will likely be your best option. Some people say to always wear the same thing in your live videos. I don’t feel that’s necessary, but I do try to stay with solid color items and very minimal jewelry, so there aren’t any distractions. Personally, I avoid statement necklaces, long dangling earrings, and bracelets that could make noise when I move (I talk with my hands, that’s distraction enough ;) )

Hair and Makeup Matter for Live Video

While some people will go on live in their jammies or with hair not done or no makeup, I don’t. It’s up to you and what you believe will appeal to your audience. For me, these training sessions are an extension of my brand, and I’m a professional marketer. I would never go to a client meeting without being done up and, “camera ready” so I don’t go live that way either. It’s up to you and what you believe is most important to your audience.

If you are wearing makeup, it should be more substantial than usual because the lights will make you look pale.  And guys, I know this seems crazy, but you might even want to consider adding a little foundation or powder when you’re on video. The guys I worked with in the TV news business all wore makeup for live shots and broadcasts, or they looked super washed out. The cosmetics counter or store at the mall can help you find something that will work for video.

Keep your makeup reasonably natural. This isn’t the place for hot pink lips or super smoky eyes (unless you’re doing makeup tutorials and then, by all means, have fun!). I add a darker shade of eyeshadow and a little more blush when I am filming. And I wear lipstick which is very hit or miss in my everyday life. That’s about all. You can see in the video below.

Your hair should be styled simply and looking neat. It doesn’t have to be up or down or in any specific style, just neat and well kept. Don’t let something about your appearance distract from your message.

Next Steps – Going Live on Facebook!

If you decide to incorporate Facebook Live into your marketing program (and you probably should do this!), you may want to invest in a few items to up your production value. I have found that going live from my laptop and using a ring light on my phone, on a tripod, near an open window (an excellent source of natural light) provides me perfect lighting for my lives. I have studio lights I use for more involved video work, but honestly, with lives, I want to keep them simple and quick to set up.

Facebook Live video lighting setup

The ring light on my phone, mounted on a tripod, sitting on my desk (this sounds so impressive, doesn’t it? Hey, hacks work!) works so well for me. It’s easy. It’s cheap. The set-up is super-fast. And the result looks great. Don’t feel like you have to invest in an expensive video set up for lives. You can do it reasonably. I use a good microphone, but it’s because I have one available.

This video was shot using the built-in camera on my laptop and the extra lighting as described above. This does not use any additional video /software. The newer Etched Marketing Academy videos are shot using eCam Live for Mac and have a better picture quality. 

Want a copy of my Facebook Live Blueprint? Get yours now. It will walk you through how to get ready for your first Facebook Live session. No need to fear going live anymore. You can do this.


Register for our FREE Marketing Training Workshop program and join thousands of other small business owners who have learned how to create their marketing plan with our help! Click here to register today.