Build your audience with scheduled Facebook Live

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When you schedule a Live broadcast, Facebook provides you with video links you can promote in an Event or text to Dad & Mom.

No more worrying whether fans who RSVPed to your Event will actually find your stream at showtime — just put the link into the Event description as soon as you start promoting.

Grab a pen before you start, because this trick includes a writing exercise.

  1. Choose images and write promotional text

    Following the advice found over at KatieKodes.com, choose a placeholder image and write the following four pieces of text:

    – Broadcast title
    – Preview text for before the broadcast
    – Video description for during the broadcast
    – Video description for after the broadcast

    Pen and paper

  2. Open Facebook’s Producer Panel

    Fire up a web browser on a desktop or laptop computer. Not a phone or tablet.

    Visit https://facebook.com/live/producer.

    In the upper left, click “Schedule a Live Video” so that it’s highlighted blue instead of “Go Live Now” being highlighted blue.

    Facebook Live ProducerPanel screenshot

  3. Set a date and time

    At left, under “Announcement Post,” set a date and time for your scheduled livestream.

  4. Choose your broadcast destination page

    Below the date and time, just underneath your name, drop down the picklist that says “Share to Your Timeline” and choose an option.

    OPTION 1: If you choose “Share to your Timeline,” you broadcast as yourself. The Facebook Friends you interact with most frequently will see, “XYZ has scheduled a live video” in their Facebook notifications.

    That said, you might be shy and not want random fans of your band hanging out on your personal Facebook wall.

    If you are comfortable broadcasting from your own timeline, you should probably set the privacy (just below this picklist) to “Public.”

    Not only will that ensure strangers can watch you play, but it also means that after the livestream, your great-uncle without a Facebook account can watch the recording (as long as you get him the right URL and walk him through clicking “Not Now” when bothered to log in).

    OPTION 2: If you choose “Share to a Page You Manage,” you can broadcast as one of your bands, and fans “following” that page who check in on it frequently will see “ABC Band has scheduled a live video” in their Facebook notifications.

    You’ll have to promote the video link a bit more manually to ensure that your personal friends and family “Get Reminded” about the show and “follow” the band’s Facebook page, but this is probably the most appropriate venue from which to broadcast.

    OPTION 3: If you choose “Share in a Group,” you can broadcast to a group – public, secret, or closed – that you have admin rights over.

    This might be a good way to do a private party, if all the party guests have Facebook accounts and can become members of the group.

  5. Enter a title

    Into the gray single-line box labeled “Live video title (optional),” type the broadcast title that you wrote earlier.

  6. Enter preview text for before the broadcast

    Next, at left, below the title, in the multi-line “Say something about this live video…” box, enter the “preview text for before the broadcast” that you wrote earlier.

  7. Upload a placeholder image

    Using the blue “Select an Image” button, upload the photo or graphic you decided would make a nice stand-in for the video before your event starts.

  8. Tweak the livestream settings

    In the middle of the page, expand the “Stream” section in the box labeled “Settings.”

    Un-check the box called “End live video if stream stops.”

    You don’t want an internet connection blip disturbing your livestream.

  9. If streaming from mobile, set up a Stream Key

    If you’ll be streaming by letting the Producer Panel capture your webcam, you can skip this step.

    However, if you’d like to stream from mobile, you’ll need to set up and write down a Stream Key.

    In the top-center section of the page, in the box labeled “Get Started,” un-check the “Use a Persistent Stream Key” checkbox.

    To the right of that, in the “Stream Key” box, there is a value that you’ll need later. It’s a little long to write with pen and paper, so click the “Copy” button next to it, paste the Stream Key into an email, and send it to yourself. Be sure to accompany it with a useful note like “Facebook Live Stream Key for our Sat 4/25 8PM broadcast from the ABC Band page.”

  10. Schedule your video

    Click the big blue “Schedule Live Video” button in the lower-left corner of the screen.

    Facebook Live ProducerPanel screenshot

  11. Find your announcement post

    Open a second tab in your web browser and visit the home page of the “broadcast destination” you chose in a way that allows you to see the most recent thing “posted” to Facebook.

    If you’re hosting on your own timeline, that might be https://facebook.com/firstname.lastname.01010/

    If you’re hosting on your “ABC Band” page, you might look through https://facebook.com/ABCBand/posts/

    If you’re hosting in the “Jane Doe’s Best Friends” group, you might go to https://facebook.com/groups/WeLoveJaneDoe/

    You’re looking for a post that says something along the lines of “Firstname Lastname plans to go live” or “ABC Band plans to go live.

    This is post is very useful for event promotion, and I always include it in the first or second paragraph of my Facebook Event description.

    While encouraging fans to RSVP to your Facebook Event is great for your social media visibility, RSVPed fans who aren’t tech-savvy may find it difficult to actually watch the show when it starts.

    Sharing the link (the URL) for this “announcement post” is a great way to make sure no one misses your livestream.

    When you go live, the placeholder image within this post will be replaced by your actual livestream (and after it finishes, as a recording). Anyone logged into Facebook on a desktop computer should be able to watch your livestream at this URL.

    Screenshot of a Facebook Live announcement post

  12. Write down your announcement post URL

    Hover over the timestamp just below the name “Firstname Lastname” or “ABC Band” in the “…plans to go live” text.

    It’s gray text saying how long ago you made this post.

    When you hover, you’ll see that this text is a link. Click it.

    If you look in the URL bar of your browser, you should see that you’ve been taken to a site that is formatted like one of these examples:

    Personal timeline: https://facebook.com/firstname.lastname.01010/posts/35753575357535753

    Band page: https://facebook.com/ABCBand/posts/46864686468646864

    Group: https://facebook.com/groups/WeLoveJaneDoe/permalink/8624864286248642/

    Copy this URL out of your brower’s navigation bar and e-mail it to yourself with a handy note like “announcement link for our Sat 4/25 8PM broadcast from the ABC Band page.”

  13. Write down your Video ID

    See the text superimposed over the bottom-right corner of your placeholder image reading, “Broadcaster Only: Edit Your Details”?

    Click it.

    Look at your URL bar once the page finishes loading.
    Are you at a page of the format https://www.facebook.com/live/producer/01234567890123456789/?

    That 01234567890123456789-type number after the world /producer/ is your Video ID, and you can do a lot with it to promote your show.

    Copy that number out of your brower’s navigation bar and e-mail it to yourself with a handy note like “Video ID # for our Sat 4/25 8PM broadcast from the ABC Band page.”

  14. Recap: 2 or 3 things you should have written down

    At this point, you should have e-mailed yourself:
    1. The URL to your announcement post
    2. Your Video ID
    3. If streaming from mobile, your Stream Key

  15. Enter a description for your video

    You worked hard writing a “video description for during the broadcast.” It’s your moneymaker. You want to make sure it, and not your “announcement description,” accompanies your actual video when you go live.

    Here’s how to edit your video’s description and ensure you have the proper text in place:

    Go to https://www.facebook.com/video/edit/?v=01234567890123456789, substituting your Video ID for 01234567890123456789.

    Edit the description of your video (which currently contains your preview text), replacing it with the text you want to appear alongside your video during the broadcast.

    @-tags” of people, pages, groups, etc. should work in the description, so feel free to use them if they seem relevant. For example, perhaps you want to tag the “ABC Band” page and encourage people to follow it.

    Click “Save.”

    Note: Once you’re done broadcasting, you can repeat these steps to update the “video description” to be the “after” text you drafted.

  16. Promote your show

    When I create an Event to promote my livestream, I like to put the “announcement URL” near the beginning of the event description. In a subsequent paragraph, I also share the “video URL” and clarify that it will appear to be a broken link until showtime.

    You wrote down your “announcement post URL” earlier, but you can get your “video URL” simply by substituting your Video ID for 01234567890123456789 in the following URL:

    https://www.facebook.com/video/?v=01234567890123456789

    Both videos show your livestream, and each has its pros and cons.

    Your “announcement post URL” always exists, so it’s reliable to send people to from the moment you start promoting. However, during the show it doesn’t always work very well from mobile web browsers.

    Your “video URL” works well from mobile web browsers, and after the show it can even be used to share your video with fans who don’t have Facebook accounts. However, Facebook treats it like a broken link until the moment you go live, which can confuse fans if you don’t warn them what to expect.

    Don’t forget to engage fans in all the same ways you would with a spur-of-the-moment livestream. Ask them to follow your band, invite them to RSVP to your livestream’s Facebook Event, incentivize sharing with a raffle, and encourage your fans to join together with Facebook Watch Parties.

    Break a leg!

  17. Go live

    If you’ll be letting your web browser control your computer’s camera and microphone to run your stream, re-visit your Producer Panel at https://www.facebook.com/live/producer/01234567890123456789, substituting your Video ID for 01234567890123456789.

    Scroll up and down the page until you see a preview of yourself (up) and stream controls (down).

    Smile, watch your countdown, and it’s lights — camera — action!

If you’ll be streaming from mobile, stay tuned for my future post, “Stream from mobile to a scheduled Facebook Live.”

(Sneak peek: it uses a great little iOS/Android app called Larix Broadcaster.)