Last week Team Aptify was in celebration mode as we launched the newest version of the Aptify association management system. Product launches are a big deal for our organization, representing the culmination of years of hard work in one beautiful product.
And, as you can imagine, as the Product Marketing Manager, the launch is a pretty important time for me, as my job is to make the product and all its great features shine. So throwing a big international party was both a pleasure and a great opportunity to use some new marketing tools.
We wanted to make sure our clients, partners, and future community members around the world were able to experience the passion we have for this release and the excitement that was brewing in each of our offices. This is where Facebook Live came into play.
So how can your association benefit from the ease of use and directness of Facebook Live? If you’re not already subscribed to Nonprofits on Facebook, I recommend checking out their guide to using Facebook Live in your association. Nonprofits on Facebook give these recommendations on how you could be live streaming more content from your association:
- Take advantage of people’s interest in moment-centric content.
- Show people behind the scenes of your programs to see the impact of your programs in real time.
- Have a staff member report on the progress of your work and field questions.
- Amplify the reach of in-person events by broadcasting the event to your Page followers.
- Have supporters add a donate button or fundraiser to their live videos to raise money for your nonprofit through their broadcast.
- Have celebrities or influencers in your community go live on your behalf to reach new audiences.
We followed 3 Facebook Live rules to host our first ever Facebook Live event from our Sydney, Australia, offices:
And then another event from our headquarters in Tysons Corner, Virginia:
Here’s what we learned:
1. How You Live Stream Is as Important as What You Live Stream
It’s easy to get caught up in being concerned about picking the right topic and ensuring what you decide to stream is relevant and interesting to those watching it. And it is. I would add to this necessity, that you need to equally plan for how you are going to do the live stream.
First, is to ensure you have a device to stream from, something with good video and audio that is also connected to the internet. The live stream will only work if you have good internet connection, so that basement rave is out of the question if you can’t get a wifi signal.
In both the Australian and North American offices, we used our iPhones, souped-up with audio attachments. I used the Rode Mic for iPhone, which captured the audio of the event really clearly, connected to my iPhone 6 on a selfie stick. Remember, you can get away with sub-par vision (like in your dark, fluorescent-lighted conference room) if you have great audio.
Also, be sure you know how you are going to complete the stream. During some of my test runs, I struggled to get the Facebook iPhone app to even make the stream live. After a bit of research, I found that downloading the Facebook Pages Manager App made filming and posting the stream much simpler. With a cleaner interface and fewer steps, I was able to get our event live. My point, do your research and do a practice run. You don’t want to get caught out missing the event because you don’t have the right tools at the ready.
2. Set the Scene for Success
With your tools in place, be sure to properly prep your team and the space you’ll be filming in.
With the Sydney Team, I ran through an agenda of what the live stream would entail, when they would be prompted to speak, and what I was expecting from them. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like we rehearsed, but I was very clear with what my expectations were, so we were able to get the ideal finished product in real-time.
No one likes to see an empty room, so be sure to decorate accordingly. Our launch was a party, so we had balloons, streamers, and party food that complemented what the live video was for. You can do that same for any style of live stream. Live streaming an awards gala? Be sure to have some of the certificates or the awards on hand so people can put the event in context.
Finally, the devil is in the details, be cognizant of the tiny details that will make your event pop. For example, at our North America party, at the last minute my colleague remembered to purchase disposable champagne glasses for toasting. Now say she had forgotten this detail, everyone would have been drinking celebratory champagne out of coffee cups, and that would not have matched the style of the live stream. These small details can add context and pizzaz to your stream, so be thoughtful.
3. Sharing Is Caring, but Engagement is Better
Engage in real-time. If you have viewers of your live stream (it’s okay if you don’t always) allow them to comment on the video, ask questions and then you can reply and interact with your viewers in real-time. This method is particularly useful if you have a board member or a industry celebrity in your stream as they can act as a draw card for watching live and can also provide an intimate experience for lots of members at once.
During the live stream you can also opt-in to promote the stream to viewers outside your followers. You’ll be prompted to chose some demographic data (so be sure to have this ready) and your post will reach even more people in your target market.
Finally, share your video as much as possible and not just on your Facebook page. Be sure your colleague and managers can see the work you have done and celebrate with you. We found our video was a great affirmation of the Aptify culture we share internationally. You can watch both the Australian stream and the North American stream and see two groups of people celebrating in the same way. Also, people love seeing themselves on camera, so be sure to specially acknowledge those who made it into the stream and get them to share it with their family and friends.
Looking for more ways to boost member engagement? Our 50 Ways to Boost Association Membership eBook has a whole section dedicated to staying active in social media as well as how to create interesting and interactive content. Check it out!