This week’s episode is a little bit of a different one. And that’s because it marks the 6-month anniversary of this show! Woohoo! Thanks for joining me on this ride.
As you may know, I always have an experiment or two taking place in my business and in my life. Facebook Live has been one of them. I’ve been using the platform to film my weekly show and I made a 6-month commitment to the experiment.
I knew that length of time would be enough to learn the platform, doing some tests within my episodes and really see how it plays out from a benefits/downside/time-commitment/etc. perspective.
And this episode breaks it all down: the good, the bad, and how it’s still an effective strategic tool in your business. Let’s dig in!
Here’s what I thought would be most helpful to cover in this week’s episode:
HOW I’ve actually been using Facebook Live – because context is really everything
What I’ve LOVED about this platform
Why I’m actually breaking up with it when it comes to my Weekly Show
Is it too late to jump in? What’s working now with Facebook Live
My biggest takeaways
OK, let’s do it!
HOW I’ve Actually Used the Facebook Live Platform
As I mention in the Facebook Live above, I’ve used this platform to actually capture the episode. So, in other words, it’s been my filming mechanism.
Every Tuesday at 11am PT, I would hit that GO LIVE button on my phone and start recording the content I’d developed since the last week.
Once I hit FINISH and ended my episode, I’d:
Upload the video (versus delete, because that’s an option) to Facebook,
Download the video to my hard drive
Upload it to Youtube
Turn the video into a blog post on my site (like this one)
Share it on Twitter
Post it on LinkedIn
Rip the audio from the video and turn it into a podcast
And send it out to my email list as my weekly email touchpoint
So, while I used the live-ness of Facebook Live, my intention was that Facebook would not be where these videos ended. I had plans to carry this content I created once across the various platforms where my audience chooses to engage.
And because it was primarily a filming mechanism, I chose to do my Facebook Lives on a day and time that I knew I could fulfill on. Very few holidays land on a Tuesday and I could book meetings before or lunches afterwards. Tuesday at 11am PT was a commitment I could keep.
What I LOVED About Facebook Live
1. Very Wide Reach: When I started doing Facebook Lives, it was obvious that Live was a priority for Facebook. Last summer (I started filming these in August of 2017) was the only time I’ve EVER seen an actual billboard for Facebook. And the message on that analog ad was HOW to go Live on Facebook. Whoa, right? Priority alert.
And because it was such a priority for them, when I finished up my filming for the week’s episode, I would promote the post and get INSANE reach (more details below). Like $5-$10 a day would get a few thousand video views. Again, their priority… I’ll share how this has changed in the next section, but this is one big plus that I initially loved about the platform.
2. It Upped My Personal Game: Because there were no second-takes, I needed to not only prepare my content to a point where I felt comfortable speaking it out to whoever tuned in, I had to think on my feet. When I first started shooting these episodes live, I would STRICTLY stick to my outline. But as the weeks progressed, I started to add things as they came to mind while I was talking.
I know this is something that will serve me well (and I’ll continue to improve and practice, obviously) for the rest of my career. It was like taking an upper level class on being in the moment.
3. New Content EVERY Week: Because I had made a commitment to you, my audience, to have a new Live every week, I had to develop a discipline of creating content, digging deeper into my own ideas and experiences, find meaningful applications and (a practice I started about a month or two in) weekly challenges. I had to show up with new content, so it forced me to develop a plan to deliver.
4. Opened Doors for Opportunities: This is my 28th episode, so while I’ve been doing this every week for 6 months, I haven’t been doing this forever. BUT… I’ve received several speaking engagement invitations as a result of others finding and watching/listening to my episodes. And here’s the real surprise, I’ve been approached twice about having my own radio show (!?!!?!!). That’s certainly not something I’d considered previously, but (spoiler alert) I said yes to one of them. More details to come soon…
5. How People Interacted with Me Once They Met Me in Person: That might not sound super clear, but hear me out. 🙂 If people watched/listened to these episodes and then later met me in person, either at a speaking engagement, a networking event or otherwise, the consistent feedback I’ve received from these people is “Wow, I feel like I already knew you.”
This one took me by surprise but it’s been one of my favorite benefits. All early-stage women entrepreneurs are looking to build “know, like and trust” with our audience and this seemed to be an almost effortless byproduct of creating these Facebook Lives.
6. They’re Intentionally Not Over-Produced: I think this is one of the biggest benie’s for someone just started a show, or building a brand. Because it’s Live, there is an umbrella of grace over the production-value. Viewers don’t expect it to be professionally captured in a studio if the content itself is really strong. It’s been great to be able to focus on what I actually want to share each week and not necessarily have to manage a studio or other complicated activities on the production side.
Note: I did invest in an Rode external-mic, this Beastgrip Adapter and Rig (may be affiliate links) to make sure the audio and stabilization were strong, but thats really it. I relied on natural light and a colorful background (greenery has been my favorite) to keep the Live production value decently high.
7. Immediate Feedback on Messaging: This is another truly invaluable benefit for Facebook Lives. Maybe you’re trying to figure out the specific messaging or a story that captures the wisdom of what you offer. Facebook Live has been incredible for this purpose. If it’s not a home run (or even a base hit), you can find it out pretty dang quick.
Why I’m Breaking Up with Facebook Live
So, in total honesty, I’m sure I’ll use Facebook Live on a case by case scenario going forward. I’m not saying goodbye forever. But what I AM saying is, it will no longer be a cast member on my weekly show… Here’s why.
1. We No Longer Have Access to the HD Version of Our Video: But we used to. When I first started out, we would have the option to choose to upload our video as SD or HD to Facebook (and thereby, be able to DOWNLOAD that video from Facebook as SD or HD), but about month 4 or so, I noticed one time when that option was no longer on the screen. Then, about a month later, I saw it again. Now, for the last month, it hasn’t been an option at all.
If you’ve been watching my Weekly Show, you may or may not have noticed this, but I noticed it! It is an upper limit on the quality control of my episodes and, though I understand why they most likely made that change (see #4 in the “Is It For You?” Section below), as business owners we need to make the best decision for us as we grow.
Note: If you have no plans of downloading the content to use in other places, this may not be a deal-breaker for you, but it was for me. As an entrepreneur, I want everything I do to be as effective as possible. I want the work I do to matter in every instance, not just in one platform.
2. The Ever-Changing Facebook Algorithm: If you’ve ever done any kind of business posting on Facebook, I’m sure you’ve heard about this ever-dynamic algorithm. And you know what, Facebook owns the platform so it’s their prerogative. But like #1 above, it affects us so we need to be savvy.
Since Facebook Live has indeed taken off since last summer (when I saw those billboards up and down the 101), they are again modifying their algorithm based on their new and upcoming priorities. As I alluded to above, when I first started throwing a couple bucks at promoting my Facebook Lives, I would get between 2,000 and 3,000 views a day. What early-stage women entrepreneurs WOULDN’T want that?? But since that time, it’s steadily declined. This last month, the same budget brought in 200 to 400 views.
What’s interesting was there was no less engagement from week to week. The videos were about similar lengths of time and I was promoting to a similar audience. With all these things considered and a 90% reduction in views, it felt very… algorithmic….
These things happen on platforms we don’t control, so it was a surprise and from a business perspective, I get it. It was also a factor in my deciding to break up with the platform.
3. The Weekly Time it Requires: Time. It really is our most precious resource. One of the main reasons I planned on giving myself 6 months to test the Facebook Live platform was because I wasn’t batching multiple episodes at a time. In other words, I was repeating the same promotional steps every week. So, my time was rather un-leveraged. If reasons #1 and #2 on this list didn’t exist, this use of my time may still be worthwhile. BUT… because I can no longer gain access to the HD version of my show and the Facebook algorithm doesn’t reward Facebook Lives like it used to, the weekly commitment of my time seems less and less compelling.
I could be using those same hours in a very different, more strategic way (for both of us). I have, for instance, considered creating a checklist or other downloadable tool for episodes going forward, to further take the learning into real life. I would have time to invest in something like that if I was leveraging my time by batching.
Note: A win that has come from my un-leveraged time is I’ve developed and optimized a rather effective checklist for my weekly show. So… if I want to outsource this part of my work to someone else, I already have a super clear step-by-step checklist to delegate.
Super Ninja Note: Would a checklist like the one I just referenced be helpful for you? If so, simply mention CHECKLIST! in the comments below.
Is It Too Late to Jump In? What’s Working with Facebook Live Now?
In a word, yes. It absolutely is. And the main intention of this episode is to let you know HOW it’s still viable and what has changed over the last 6 months.
So, if you’re considering a Facebook Live test or even a regular show, try it!! We are still in that pocket of time where “this is the best it’ll ever be” still applies. Do it.
And if you’re trying to decide whether or not you want to try Facebook Live in your business, take a look at my suggestions on what’s working the best right now:
If you want to loop your audience in to something happening right then and there, do it! Say, you’re at an event, just had an epiphany, met your childhood hero, or anything else where you think “AH! I want to tell more people about this right now!,” that is a perfect instance for Facebook Live. Press “Go Live” right now!
If you don’t have any intention of downloading the Live video for further dissemination, great! The SD versus HD is not an issue for you.
If you want to test messaging and see what catches fire. This is still one of the best utilizations of Facebook Live! You’ll be forced to pull your thoughts together and get the content out. Then, you’ll be able to see how your audience engages with it. I’m certain this is something marketers, business owners and other influencers would have killed for just a decade ago.
If you think about how Facebook wants us to use their platform. Because, like I said, it is their platform. Frankly, we have no reasonable expectation that they’ll cater to our needs. BUT… if we think about how they want us to use it (i.e., to keep users on their platform) I’m sure they’ll reward content creators like that.
My Biggest Takeaways
All this leads me to, my final thoughts: the biggest takeaways and how I’m moving forward.
The Facebook Live platform helped me get my first 28 episodes created and out there for the world to engage with my work. I will always be thankful for that!
I’m not throwing the towel in with Facebook Live. More accurately, I’m redefining the relationship, and like I said earlier, it’s simply no longer a cast member on the show.
THE WEEKLY SHOW WILL CONTINUE! Just because I won’t be using Facebook Live to capture it doesn’t mean the show is over. It’ll just be presented with a different format (and a new experiment or two), so keep tuning in. 😉
If you’re interested in testing out Facebook Live in your business, just do it! Right now. Stop reading and go live. Then, you’ll know if you love it, hate it, or need to try it again to be sure.
If you do choose to try it out, set a timeframe around it so you don’t feel like you’re committed to it forever. Put it into a container and make it work for you.
Well, I know this post and this episode are longer than usual but I hope you found this deeper dive into my experience of doing 6 months worth of weekly Facebook Lives really helpful.
I look forward to seeing you in the new format next week!!