Lessons Learned From Facebook Live

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On February 21st, 2017, the Minnesota Literacy Council went live for the first time. Facebook Live, that is.

Recent political events have produced a surge of interest around the topic of immigration and refugees in the United States. In order to respond to the heightened interest, MN Literacy Council invited Michele McKenzie, Advocacy Director for The Advocates for Human Rights to give a presentation on immigration in the United States. The session was so popular that two weeks before the presentation, registration had been closed and there was a lengthy waiting list. The question was, how can we make this presentation available to a wider audience? It was decided to try livestreaming the presentation on Facebook Live in order to allow more people access, and to create a record that could be viewed at a later date.

As is often the case when brand new technology (to the MN Literacy Council team, at least) is used, the first time is a learning experience. Sideways pictures, dying batteries, and difficult to read PPT slides were some of the issues that arose during the first livestreaming session, but despite the rough start, the overall response from the Facebook community was very positive.

Here are the lessons that were learned from the first Facebook Live session:

  • Begin posting about the event on social media at least a week ahead of the presentation in order to generate interest and build up a viewing audience. Posts are quickly buried in a Facebook feed, so it’s important to make sure that the word gets out ahead of time.
  • Start livestreaming 5-10 minutes before the beginning of the presentation. This will give you time to fix any video or sound issues before the presenter begins speaking.
  • Keep your phone plugged in. Cell phones batteries were not designed to record a 2-hour presentation and will die 20 minutes before the end of the presentation.
  • Post a link to the PPT ahead of time so that people viewing at home can follow along. In videos, the PPT is grainy and difficult to read.
  • Make sure that you turn the volume off on the phone before the presentation starts. That one should have been obvious.
  • Have someone watching the livestream on their computer in another room so that they can notify the person videoing if there are any issues.

On March 13th, the MN Literacy Council decided to give it another try, and livestreamed The Refugee Journey, presented by Emily Hipps from the International Institute. Having learned from the previous experience, the second livestreaming session went much more smoothly. As of today, there have been 288 views of The Refugee Journey on the MN Literacy Council Facebook page.

Go to the MN Literacy Council Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/mnliteracy/ to see the livestream of Immigration 101 and The Refugee Journey for yourself. And stay tuned for more livestreaming events in the future!


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