Since Resi makes it easy to stream content to Facebook Live, you have the ability to leverage many of the tools available to build and strengthen viewer engagement. You also have access to the massive potential audience that Facebook hosts as well as the people in your physical community. We can’t guarantee that using all of these outlined principles and techniques will work for every organization, but you may find some that are useful for your needs. To learn more about Facebook’s best practices for live video events, click here.
Emphasize the “Social” Component of Social Media
While Facebook offers a massive platform for your organization to get its message and content to as many people as possible, the way you interact with your audience is going to determine how you gain and retain viewers, followers, and members. When you personally interact with people who like, comment, or otherwise react to your posts it makes them feel like their voice really matters and is being heard. This is especially important for the first few hours after you post something to your page or group, when you're likely to see the most engagement from your dedicated viewers, which can lead to a thought-provoking discussion.
What’s more, the way that Facebook’s SEO algorithm promotes content in its search results heavily favors pages and content that have replies from page and group admins. This means that Facebook can allow you to create a positive feedback loop in terms of encouraging you to engage with your audience to be discovered by more people. If your organization has the resources to do so, setting up a digital welcome team can be an excellent way to reach out and reply to as many people as possible.
Building engagement this way should not be confused with promoting your event although the two often go hand in hand. Promotions are typically designed to get people interested in whatever you are doing (e.g. promo pictures, clips, etc.) and may not have the capacity to facilitate prolonged engagement. However, this is not to say that it is not impossible to do both at the same time as long as your posts are thoughtful and provide an opening for people to start a discussion.
Facilitate Engagement Before, During, and After Your Event
Try to create personal, meaningful opportunities for engagement at all points in your event’s lifecycle. While that may seem obvious, many organizations tend not to engage with their audience as much as they should. You can apply a number of the tips and tools presented here across your event's lifecycle.
For instance, you can start a poll to gauge how people think or feel about the theme of your event before, during, and afterward. In doing so, not only are you gaining a better understanding of how people respond to your comments, you are also providing a space for your audience to engage with your organization and each other.
You can also boost retention, and take advantage of the SEO algorithm, by using Facebook’s scheduled post feature. Not only does this allow you to create Facebook posts beforehand and publish them at scheduled intervals, it also allows you to take advantage of the SEO algorithm, which favors page posts made as scheduled posts rather than traditional posts.
Post Discussion-Provoking Questions
While it is important to make posts that keep your followers updated and informed about your event, this does not necessarily build viewer engagement. By posting questions that encourage your audience to discuss key points of your event before and after it is broadcast, you are increasing the likelihood that they will connect with your message in a more personal way. While the specifics you ask your audience may be different, here are some questions that can help drive discussion:
- What do you expect to get the most out of this speaker’s message?
- What are your thoughts on this particular scripture/text?
- Does anyone have any experience with the theme of our next event?
Create an Event Hashtag
One of the quickest ways to build awareness and engagement around your event is by creating a unique and catchy hashtag (#). Publishing a post that includes a hashtag phrase (e.g. #pacificcoastlive) in Facebook creates a clickable link that will take you to a page with every other public-facing post using that particular hashtag. By using relevant and unique hashtags in each of your posts, and by encouraging your followers to do the same, anyone else who comes across this tag can see what everyone else is saying. This is a perfect, low-effort way to get people talking and interacting with your content.
Coordinate Social Media Posts with Guest Speakers
If you have one or more special guests making an appearance on your broadcast, you should consider coordinating with them to figure out how your posts can help cross-promote each other’s platforms. For instance, making sure you are both using the same hashtag can encourage more people to engage with one another and with both of your platforms. Even something as simple as “@” mentioning them in a comment (e.g. @PacificCoastLive).
Use Interactive Polls
If you want to get an idea of how your audience thinks, direct the content in a direction they find relevant, and give them an opportunity to interact with your speaker, main act, etc., creating one or more live polls is a great solution. Once you create your questions and answer options, you can launch the poll at any time from your phone or computer. Once the poll has been launched, your viewers will see it and be given the opportunity to vote immediately.
Use a Featured Link
If you have a website or product that you want to promote while your broadcast is going, a featured link can allow you to do just that. Once you set it up, your link will be prominently displayed on the page where your video is running. This is similar to the Call to Action button available for Resi embed players (Learn more).
Moderate Your Live Chat
Whether you want to make sure the discussion in your event’s live chat does not get out of hand or if you would just like to make sure the topic of discussion stays relevant, it is usually a good idea to have someone moderate your live chat feed. You will need to make sure that whichever page user you would like to moderate has the proper page roles and access to do so. Once they have the proper permissions, you can learn more about Facebook live chat moderation and the actions one can take as a moderator.
Advertise to Custom Audiences
If you use Facebook’s ad targeting to promote your content and organization, one of the most powerful tools that you can leverage is custom audience creation. It uses predictive algorithms to target people with similar interests and demographics all the way to those who already engage with your content. By analyzing the data Facebook provides, you can broaden your viewer base and learn which engagement methods are the most effective at drawing people in. More specifically, you can learn how to create a custom audience based on video engagement. Afterward, you can learn how to best engage with your custom audience.
Encourage Viewers to Follow Your Pages and Join Your Groups
Hold contests for followers and members
A contest is a great way to encourage your audience to engage with your posts, motivating them to participate if you exclusively offer them to page followers and/or group members. While the prize itself should be something that you know your followers and members want (e.g. a digital gift card, a piece of merch, a book related to an upcoming event, etc.), the ways you can hold and determine the winners of these contests are largely universal:
- “Anyone who comments on a post can be entered for a chance to win a prize.”
- Announce that there is a prize for the first 10 (or however many) people who comment on your post.
- Encourage people to join by offering new members the chance to win a regularly scheduled contest.
- “Post a photo of you wearing our organization’s merchandise and you will be entered in a contest.”
- Hold a caption contest for a silly photo related to your event.
Create smaller, more localized groups
If your organization reaches out to communities in parts of the world other than wherever you are based, creating region-specific groups or pages can be an excellent way to see how well your content performs in different market segments. You are also giving people the opportunity to discuss your posts and videos in a context that may to be more relatable. This can also apply to group demographics besides where they live. E.g. You can create groups for women, young adults, couples, older members, etc. This means that you can create videos, promotions, or other content specifically tailored for those communities.
Offer exclusive content to your members
If you have the capacity to create content beyond the core posts and videos you offer publicly through Facebook, consider using it to encourage audience members to join your group or page. This can be anything from behind the scenes or making-of videos, interviews with musical guests, or anything else you think your audience might be interested in.
Use group insights to figure out how to drive discussion
Group insights are a great way for any admin with a group of 50 or more members to get a broad idea of who interacts with content, how they engage with it, and how often. If you would like to learn how to access and interpret group insights, you can read Facebook’s instructions on how to access group insights. If you would like more information about viewer demographics, you can also check out your event analytics in Studio.
Help new viewers, followers, and members feel welcome
It’s one thing to get a new viewer to engage with your content, but the best thing you can do to make sure they come back is to make your newbies feel welcome. This can help alleviate a lot of tension that new members might have about engaging within a community where they feel like a stranger. Do this consistently and with enough earnest intention and you will find that new members are much more likely to come back and keep participating in the discussions. For more tips, you can read Facebook’s article on helping new members feel welcome.