Everything Your Church Needs to Know about Facebook Live
There are two things specifically that have changed the way that we connect, communicate and consume media on a daily basis: mobile devices and video. Over the years, different technologies and even social platforms have come and gone. But, of all the social trends we’ve seen, perhaps nothing has been more widely embraced than live video! You can’t get anything more raw, authentic, and current than live video.
Why should your church broadcast the service on Facebook live?
- Facebook live instantly connects you to hundreds and even thousands of people who may have never tuned into a live stream of your church service. You may call this a ‘virtual walk-in’, something that has never existed before. In the past, if someone watched your service online, it was because they were invited to a specific URL. This is no longer the case, your church service can literally show up in their feed as part of their daily routine.
- There are more opportunities for people to share. Your live church service can be shared in real time on someone else’s timeline.
- An archive of your service is automatically generated, with no ads.
- Facebook Live is free!
What do you need?
- A camera, at a minimum a mobile device. You may want to consider a mevo, a small step up from using a mobile device. (if you’re using a camera, you’ll likely need a capture device and a computer to broadcast from, keep reading to find out more!)
- A facebook account
- A fast internet connection
- A tripod
Once you have everything you need, all you need to do is click the ‘Go Live’ button. You’ll see a countdown and when it finishes, you’re live! If you want to go live on your church page, you’ll need to be an admin, just switch over to the church account and follow the same steps.
Here are some tips that will help make your broadcast better:
- Make an announcement on your facebook page before you go live. This will let people know that you’re going to go live so that they can be there from the very beginning. If you have the ability, consider ‘going live’ before you actually start the service and displaying a countdown.
- Depending on the size of your audience, you may need to recruit some community managers to engage with your audience in real time. People have a certain expectation from something that is live, if they ask a question they’ll expect an answer. It’s also a good idea to have someone monitor the comments just in case a troll slips in, especially as your audience grows.
- If someone came and visited your service in person, you’d probably give them a guest packet or try to get them to fill out a connection card. For the same reason you’d do it in person, you should try to connect with anyone that’s watching the broadcast. Consider commenting toward the end of the broadcast or even throughout the live video and try to get viewers to follow a link to an online connection card, get their email address so that you can follow up. You may find that you have better results if you offer some kind of incentive with this.
- Keep in mind that audio will be the MOST IMPORTANT part of a live broadcast. Viewers will probably forgive a pixelated video, but they’ll stop watching if they can’t hear you. If you must use the mic that’s on the camera (or phone), you’ll want to have the camera as close to an audio source as possible.
- Consider how you frame the shot. Try to fill the frame with as much of the speaker as possible. Avoid filling the shot with people that may not want to be on camera, or perhaps worse, a young person that DOES want to be on camera!
- If you’re just getting started, you may not want to broadcast any music. If you do decide to broadcast music, you’ll need to purchase a CCLI Streaming license. The license you already have probably won’t cover streaming.
- Test the live stream ahead of time. It’s best to do this about 30-60 minutes before you go live. Don’t do it the night before and assume you’re good to go. Too much can change in that amount of time. 30-60 minutes will give you enough time to correct any problems that arise.
- Ask people to subscribe to your facebook live videos, that way they’ll get a notification on their phone every time you go live!
“We’re already streaming our services on a mobile device, what are the next steps?”
- A better camera Having one is great, three is even better! Here are a couple that are worth looking into:
- The Canon VIXIA R700 ($269)
- The Canon VIXIA HF G20 ($799)
- An SDI converter If your camera is more than 25 feet from the computer, you’ll want to convert the HDMI to SDI, or buy a more expensive camera that already has an SDI output.
- A Capture device This is how you’ll get the stream into the computer. You may have an HDMI port on your computer, but it’s probably only for output.
- Streaming software Here are a couple that are worth looking into:
- Open Broadcaster (Free)
- Wirecast Studio ($495)
- Better audio Best case scenario, the audio comes directly from a mic the speaker is using. You’ll want to monitor the audio with headphones if possible.
Have questions? We’re working on a Facebook Live Video Course, for churches that would like to have a multi-cam, professional looking broadcast. Comment below and let us know what you’d like to see!
Is your church already using Facebook Live? What’s something you wish you knew before you started? Leave a comment and help another ministry as they approach the task of live streaming their service!