How Any Small Business Can Compete with the Big Boys Using SEO and Social Media

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I get it.

I understand how brutal it can be-trying to market your small business in a world of billion-dollar businesses and multi-million dollar marketing budgets.

You have a limited budget, limited time, limited knowledge, and a limited arsenal of tactics that you can afford to implement.

But the big brands? They can do anything they want, hire as many people as they want, and unleash any tactic they want.

Today’s small businesses are forced to compete in an increasingly saturated marketplace.

The competition is fierce, and it has become incredibly difficult to rise above the noise.

Combine this with the massive disparity between a small business’s marketing budget and a much larger enterprise’s seemingly infinite resources, and it’s obvious that the cards are stacked against small businesses.

In fact, finding new customers is one of the top concerns of small business owners, and 66% claim this is the biggest issue they face.

How can small businesses tip the scales in their favor and go head to head with mega juggernauts?

It all boils down to two specific marketing strategies: SEO and social media.

When done correctly, these strategies can help any small business compete with the big boys.

I’ve been able to help small businesses do exactly that-upset the sumo-wrestler-size businesses in their niche.

It’s part of the glory of digital marketing. Anyone can compete. Anyone can succeed.

Even the little guy.

You just have to know how.

Leveling the playing field

The beautiful thing about these two mediums-SEO and social media-is that they are impartial. They show no favoritism.

Google doesn’t care what business is offering which product. It’s just looking to provide users with the best and most relevant results.

The same goes for social media.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a brand new startup bootstrapping its marketing or a well established company that’s been around for years.

You can still achieve significant exposure as long as you understand the process and how to reach your demographic effectively.

While it is true that there will be inherent difficulty outranking a behemoth like Amazon or Walmart on search engines and you’re unlikely to gain the same size of a social media following as a corporate titan, the right know-how definitely makes it possible for small businesses to gain traction.

It’s a matter of implementing the right techniques and having an understanding of the processes that are working at the moment.

Small businesses benefit the most from social media

A 2011 Social Media Marketing Industry Report came up with some interesting findings in terms of who benefited the most from social media.

According to their findings, 90% of respondents agreed social media was important to their businesses.

The interesting thing is that 67% of self-employed individuals and 66% of small business owners were more likely to strongly agree with this statement.

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In terms of the specific advantages, 88% of respondents said the top benefit was increased exposure for their businesses.

Second, at 72%, was increased traffic/subscribers.

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With roughly two-thirds of all small business owners claiming social media was important to their businesses, it’s clear that a well run campaign can have a significant impact.

You also have to take into account the possibility for going viral and seeing massive growth in an extremely short period of time.

If you really understand your audience and know how to connect with them on social media, you can not only gain exposure but also earn your audience’s loyalty and bring repeat business.

So in theory, a no-name startup can experience wide scale exposure overnight and get a flood of traffic along with off the chart sales.

Killing it at SEO

There’s no denying that search engines have forever changed the way we find information and the way businesses approach marketing.

To put some perspective on things, “Google processes over 40,000 search queries every second on average, which translates to over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide.”

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Wow! That’s a lot.

But let’s be honest. Small businesses stand little to no chance of outranking colossal companies for broad search terms.

But when small businesses use smart tactics like long-tail keyword phrases, they have a realistic chance to outrank the big boys.

Here’s a very simple example.

I entered the keywords “razor blade” on Google-a very broad search term.

As you might expect, the top results were dominated by Amazon:

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Then I entered a more specific and much narrower search term, “best double edged razor blades.”

Here are the results:

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As you can see, much smaller companies are getting the top results, and Amazon is the very last entry on the first page.

Of course, the more specific, long-tail, keywords won’t get as many searches as the broad ones. But they can still generate a lot of quality organic traffic.

This allows small SEO-savvy businesses to consistently bring in a stream of leads that are ready to buy.

My hyper-simplistic example by no means demonstrates the full potential of SEO for small businesses. It simply proves that small businesses can in fact compete with their much larger counterparts.

Ideal for small marketing budgets

What’s the primary advantage large companies have over small ones? Money.

Of course, they have a plethora of other advantages like more brand equity, a formal marketing department, an HR department, etc.

But when you break it all down, big businesses can easily have hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of dollars to funnel into their marketing campaigns each year.

On the other hand, small startups may be on a shoestring budget, and $50,000 annually may seem like a lot.

Fortunately, legitimate SEO and social media campaigns can be run without a lot of financial backing.

This is especially true when you do everything in-house.

Rather than hiring a high priced marketing agency, small businesses can cut back on their costs significantly by having staff members run their campaigns.

Instead of a financial investment, a time investment can bring about legitimate results.

The point I’m trying to make here is that SEO and social media are both cost-effective marketing channels and can be very affordable if you’re willing to put in the time.

In fact, “those who spend at least six hours per week are almost twice as likely to see leads generated as those who spend five or fewer hours.”

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While small companies probably won’t have the budget for expensive mediums like TV commercials or paying big-named influencers like Taylor Swift to promote their products, they can almost always afford SEO and social media.

And when they really know what they’re doing and stay up-to-date on cutting-edge techniques, there’s absolutely no reason why they can’t compete with the big boys.

How can I thrive on SEO and social media?

I’ll be totally upfront with you.

Seldom can you just launch an SEO or social media campaign and get instant results.

And quite frankly, it’s not as easy as it looks.

On paper, it might seem like you simply perform some rudimentary keyword research or post a cool article on your Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Then presto, an influx of traffic floods your site, and your product flies off the shelf.

But that’s just not how it works.

To truly reap the benefits of these marketing strategies, you need to develop an in-depth understanding of the process, go through trial and error, and have plenty of patience.

You also need to stay in the know of what’s going on and continually make adjustments as new trends unfold.

But nonetheless, you definitely can thrive as long as you “get it” and persevere.

The good thing is, there is an abundance of free resources online that will teach you everything you need to know.

Sites like Moz, HubSpot, Quick Sprout, Social Media Examiner, and Search Engine Journal are just a few that can guide your efforts.

So, let’s briefly examine some specific ways you can position your small business to compete with large competitors.

Effective SEO strategies

For starters, it pays to be niche-centric with your approach.

Ideally, your business will cater to a fairly narrow target audience.

Rather than trying to be everything to everyone, you’re usually better off focusing on a smaller demographic and being the company that’s best capable of meeting their unique needs.

This mainly revolves around using long-tail keywords rather than trying to rank for broad terms.

Let’s go back to my example about “razor blades” and “best double edged razor blades.”

While the former keyword phrase would be extremely difficult to rank for, the latter is a realistic possibility.

In fact, small businesses were able to rank for it and bring in a reasonable amount of traffic and leads.

It’s also important that you pursue link-building opportunities.

According to Moz, domain-level link features, such as quality of links, trust, domain-level PageRank, etc., were the number one influencing factor on Google algorithm in 2015.

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You can accelerate your SEO campaign exponentially by reaching out to and building relationships with influencers and top publications. If you’re able to get links from reputable sites, this can be the catalyst for a spike in your search rankings.

Some other strategies include:

  • Creating valuable content that’s based around user intent (e.g., answering common questions and addressing customer pain points)
  • Performing on-site optimization (e.g., incorporating keywords into your URL, headers, meta description, etc.)
  • Optimizing your site for mobile

Potent social media strategies

I love social media because it gives small businesses the opportunity to convey their identities and build highly personalized relationships with their audiences.

You can showcase your swagger and let consumers know why your company is worth doing business with.

It may sound a little cheesy, but I think the most important part of finding success on social media is to be yourself.

I, for example, am building my strategy with the specific goal of reaching MY customers and not worrying about the masses.

This coincides with Seth Godin’s concept of building a tribe (a community) around your brand.

Like the old saying goes, “Try to please everyone, and you’ll end up pleasing no one.”

Dollar Shave Club is a great example of a brand that embraces being itself.

Their off-kilter, slightly smart-ass marketing messages are unforgettable and definitely appeal to a certain segment of the population.

Saying things like, “Our blades are f**king great” is ballsy. But it’s hard to deny that this attitude has been a key contributor to their success.

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Another integral element of a well run social media campaign is to be constantly engaging your audience.

Whether it’s retweeting epic content relevant to your niche, responding to comments on your Facebook page, inviting others to connect on LinkedIn, or asking questions to ignite digital discussions, it’s important that you’re interacting.

In other words, be on the offense.

The great thing about social is that it can actually be used as an outlet for handling certain aspects of customer service.

People love giving their feedback via social channels, which gives you an opportunity to strengthen relationships and quickly fix escalating situations when the feedback happens to be negative.

It’s also essential that you’re using the right networks.

Each social network has its own demographic and appeals to a different segment of the population. You want to make sure you’re spending your time on the networks your core audience is using.

For example, if your target audience is primarily female, Pinterest would be one of your best bets because 81% of Pinterest users are female.

Some other strategies include the following:

  • Use a consistent tone and style to strengthen your brand identity
  • Be authentic
  • Provide genuinely useful and valuable content
  • Use plenty of images (people respond favorably to visuals)
  • Maintain a consistent presence (e.g., don’t go MIA for months on end)
  • Curate content as well as create your own
  • Use analytics to measure your results and make the necessary adjustments
  • Consider using tools like HootSuite and Buffer to automate some aspects of your marketing (e.g., scheduling posts ahead of time)

Conclusion

In my opinion, the current day and age is the most exciting ever for small business owners.

While in the past, smaller enterprises almost always had to play second fiddle to huge companies and “pick up the marketing scraps,” these days, it’s totally possible for them to compete and even thrive.

Even if you just recently launched a startup and have to watch every penny, you can still get ahead and create massive exposure for your brand.

By getting on board with SEO and social media and understanding the nuts and bolts of these mediums, you can gain traction in your industry and drive quality leads to your site.

Can you think of any other marketing strategies that level the playing field between small and large businesses?

The Only Checklist You Need for Launching Your Startup’s Website

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Ah, website launches.

Love ’em or hate ’em, they are something every business needs to do.

I’ve been through a ton of website launches, so it’s kind of a ho-hum process now.

But even if I go into a website launch with a nonchalant attitude, something usually happens-something unexpected.

  • In one website launch, the webmaster forgot to turn off the disallow on the robots.txt
  • In another website redesign, the developers forgot to add the subdomain to 200k pages.
  • In another website redesign, the developers accidentally used the wrong footer for all 1.1m pages.

I could go on and on.

Here’s the thing-website launches are important. And more often than not, there’s something wonky that happens. These wonky surprises can destroy your SEO and cause your entire website to flounder from the start.

Even if you’re fairly experienced with the process and have built multiple sites, launching a new website can still be overwhelming and stressful.

There are a lot of components involved in a website launch, and there’s a lot of potential for hiccups along the way.

Overlooking even a few subtle elements can have disastrous consequences.

What if there are blatant typos? Or what if your visitors get the dreaded “page not found” error?

It’s going to be a poor reflection on your company and could send would-be customers running.

The bottom line is that no one is perfect, and even the top professionals can overlook a few details.

What I’ve learned from launching multiple sites is that it’s crucial to follow a formula that forces me to leave no stone unturned. This way I can cover myself and ensure that the entire process goes off without a hitch.

The best way to accomplish this is to follow a checklist and work your way through it step by step.

Here is the only checklist you need for launching your startup’s website.

Layout

First things first. You’ll want to cover the basics in terms of web design to ensure your site looks great and is easily navigable.

Visitors should have a seamless experience without needing to think too much about how to get where they need to go.

Here are things to attend to at this stage:

  • Your homepage includes your business’s logo.
  • The logo is appealing and professional.
  • Visitors should be aware of the product or service you’re selling upon landing on your site.
  • Images are optimally positioned.
  • Images can be viewed on mobile devices.

Compatibility

Today’s Internet users access websites from a variety of devices and browsers.

In particular, the use of mobile devices has become increasingly common: 80% of people are using smartphones, and 47% are using tablets.

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That’s why it’s crucial to avoid fundamental glitches that can create compatibility issues.

Make sure that:

  • your site is compatible with all major browsers, including Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, etc.
  • your site is fully optimized for mobile users. There are multiple ways to create a mobile-friendly site, but responsive web design (RWD) is regarded as one of the most effective techniques.
  • you’ve optimized cascading style sheets (CSS) across your site.
  • all coding has been done correctly, and there are no glitches that can ruin the user experience.

Functionality

It should go without saying, but users expect a fluid experience.

Any glitches or malfunctions can increase your bounce rate, and it’ll be much more difficult to nurture leads.

With 55% of visitors spending fewer than 15 seconds on a website, you need to cover all the bases and optimize your site’s functionality to keep your visitors browsing and minimize your bounce rate.

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Make sure that:

  • You’ve corrected any issues that could potentially slow down your site’s load time.
  • There are no broken links.
  • There are no 404 redirects.
  • All internal links point to the intended page.
  • All external links are working correctly and point to authoritative, relevant sites.
  • You’re not linking to resources that offer no value.
  • Links open in a new tab. (It can be annoying for users when they lose their place because a separate tab isn’t opened after they click on a link).
  • You’ve set up a favicon icon so that users can easily identify your site when they bookmark it. (This is crucial for proper branding).
  • You’ve optimized navigation by adding pages either to the top or to the sidebar so that users can quickly find what they’re looking for.
  • You’ve added a search bar to expedite the search.
  • Your site isn’t clogged with annoying ads or popups.
  • Popups can be closed with ease.

Site speed

Time is of the essence when your website is loading.

The longer it takes your site to load, the higher your abandonment rate will be. If it takes longer than three seconds to load, you’ve already lost 40% of your visitors.

That’s no good.

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Here are just a few other eye-opening stats. A one-second delay in page load time yields:

  • 11% fewer page views
  • A 16% decrease in customer satisfaction
  • A 7% loss in conversions

That’s why I can’t stress enough just how crucial it is to check the speed of your site and do whatever it takes to optimize it. Ideally, you’ll be able to get your loading time under three seconds.

Here are some specific things to look into:

  • You’ve checked the speed of your website using the Pingdom Website Speed Test. This will let you know the precise speed and provide you with some performance insights to indicate problem areas.
  • You’re using high-quality servers capable of keeping up with heavy website traffic at times.
  • You’ve enabled browser caching.
  • You’re not using an excessive number of images, videos, or other media that could potentially slow down your site.
  • You’re not going overboard on plugins. (These can make your site sluggish).
  • You’ve ensured that above-the-fold content loads quickly. (This should be a priority over below-the-fold because it doesn’t matter all that much if below-the-fold content takes a few seconds longer).

This should cover the basics, but you can get a lot more ideas about speeding up your website by checking out this resource.

Content

It’s been said time and time again-content is king.

Content is arguably the lifeblood of your website. Any lack of professionalism or mediocre quality will hurt you in the long run.

Providing A+ content is important not only for maximizing average session duration but also for your overall conversion rate.

That’s why you need to be borderline obsessive about dotting your i’s and crossing your t’s in this department.

Make sure that:

  • You’ve used a light background with dark fonts to make text easily readable.
  • You’ve thoroughly proofread every landing page, blog post, etc.
  • You’ve corrected every single spelling and grammatical error.
  • You’ve created engaging and captivating titles.
  • You’ve broken up content into digestible chunks by incorporating H1s, H2s, H3s, and bullet points.
  • You haven’t used massive blocks of text that are ugly and difficult to read.
  • You’ve given proper attribution to external sources you’ve cited.
  • You have plenty of visuals to make your content appealing to the eye. (46% of marketers say photography is critical to their current marketing and storytelling strategies).

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  • Images are high-definition and professional in appearance.
  • You’re not infringing upon any copyrights with your images.
  • Images are correctly formatted and can be viewed on any device.
  • You’ve added videos where appropriate.
  • Videos are correctly formatted and viewable on any device.
  • Downloadable content, such as whitepapers, e-books and slideshows, are working properly.
  • You’ve added your business’s contact information in a visible area.
  • Visitors can find answers to FAQs.
  • Pricing information can be easily found.
  • There are calls to action in relevant locations.
  • You’ve added social share buttons.
  • You’ve implemented SEO

Understanding and implementing the fundamentals of on-site SEO is incredibly important.

This is your ticket to getting found in search engines and driving a consistent stream of organic traffic to your site.

When it comes to SEO, a lot of elements need to be covered.

  • You’ve created an XML sitemap.
  • You’ve performed keyword research to identify which keyword phrases to target in your content.
  • You have chosen longtail keywords so that you have a legitimate chance of outranking the competition.

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  • You’ve peppered those keywords throughout your content but without keyword stuffing.
  • You’ve incorporated targeted keywords into your URL.
  • You’ve included targeted keywords in your meta description, titles, and headers.
  • You’ve added relevant tags to your content.
  • Alt tags have been added to images.
  • Tags have been added to videos.
  • URLs are brief and user-friendly. (They’re not long and ugly.)
  • Meta descriptions are a maximum of 160 characters. This ensures they’re not truncated in search results.
  • Meta descriptions are engaging and summarize what your content is all about.
  • You’ve set up internal and external links.
  • You’ve practiced hyperlink optimization where links don’t contain your targeted keywords. (Targeted keywords in hyperlinks can result in penalties from Google).

Analytics

Right from the get-go, you need to be diligent about keeping tabs on your traffic.

You want to be able to analyze visitor behavior, ways you are acquiring your traffic, length of time visitors are staying on your site, your bounce rate, and so on.

Doing so is essential for spotting patterns and trends and ultimately making key adjustments to optimize conversions.

That’s why I recommend setting up some type of analytics platform when launching your startup’s website.

I think that Google Analytics is sufficient for generating the basic data needed for most startups, especially during the initial stages.

However, you may also want to utilize a more comprehensive platform such as Crazy Egg so that you can visually see where your visitors are clicking. One of my companies, Kissmetrics, is another helpful tool for better interpreting your data.

Here are some essential analytics-related steps to cover:

  • You’ve properly inserted your analytics code into your website.
  • You’ve checked to make sure that it’s set up correctly with no formatting/coding issues.
  • You’ve set up conversion goals.
  • You’ve set up e-commerce tracking.
  • You’ve set up event tracking.
  • You’ve linked Google Analytics and AdWords if applicable.

Security

Did you know that “the number of U.S. data breaches tracked in 2015 totaled 781?”

According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, “this represents the second highest year on record since the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) began tracking breaches in 2005.”

Website security is no joke, especially for companies in the business sector, health/medical industry, and banking/financial/credit sector because these industries have reported the highest number of data breaches on average.

According to the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, the catalyst for the majority of cyber attacks was hacking.

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It’s important to remember that no one is completely exempt from an attack. If it can happen to big name companies like Sony and Target, it can definitely happen to a small startup.

I’m not trying to freak you out, but website security has never been more essential than today.

If your data is ever compromised, it can quickly open a can of worms. It can tarnish your reputation, lead to costly downtime, and even result in costly penalties from the government.

Some specific points you’ll want to check off include the following:

  • You’re running your site on a secure host.
  • You have a business continuity plan in the event of system downtime.
  • You’ve made sure that your website is properly backed up in case of data loss.
  • Your site utilizes a secure login system.
  • All passwords are stored in a secure location.
  • You’ve made it so that users are denied entry after a certain number of login attempts. You can use a WordPress plugin like Login LockDown for this.
  • You haven’t shared login information with unwanted third parties.
  • You’ve instructed team members to not share sensitive information through unprotected channels such as unencrypted email.
  • Login pages are fully encrypted.
  • You’ve protected your site against Denial of Service (DoS) attacks. This is a common type of attack that hackers use. Although it’s nearly impossible to prevent these types of attacks altogether, utilizing a Cloud mitigation provider can help dramatically.
  • You’ve implemented a secure payment processing system that will protect financial information of your customers.
  • You’ve created a plan to continually test your website security.

Conclusion

This checklist should serve as a way to foolproof the process of launching your startup’s website. By having a systematized sequence of steps to follow, you’ll know for sure you’re not missing any important details.

Once it’s actually time to launch, you can rest easy, knowing your visitors will have the best experience possible.

Your site will load quickly and have plenty of aesthetic appeal; visitors will be able to navigate your site with ease; and security won’t be an issue.

When it’s all said and done, you can keep visitors on your site longer, efficiently move them through the sales funnel, and, most importantly, maximize your conversion rate.

Which elements do you think are the most important to address when launching a new website?

12 Tips for Making More Engaging Video for Facebook Live

As a marketer, I’m sure that you know how important it is to create a connection with your audience.

It’s essential for slashing through the barriers that divide us, for establishing a unique brand identity and for building trust.

There have been times I’ve been successful in doing so. And then other times, I’ve totally fallen flat.

It’s getting easier than ever to create an unique connection, because we now have the technological tools to do so.

One of the best tools that enable you to do this is Facebook Live, which “lets people, public figures and Pages share live video with their followers and friends on Facebook.”

The concept is simple. You record a live video that your audience can watch in real time and respond to by commenting.

Facebook Live provides the perfect framework for connecting, and its personable nature is ideal for facilitating interaction.

In fact, initial data has found that “people comment more than 10 times more on Facebook Live videos than on regular videos.”

But how can you ensure that your videos are engaging?

Here are some tips that should point you in the right direction.

1. Consider investing in some equipment.

First things first. You really want to strive for quality with your videos.

You want to look like a professional.

Any sign of amateurism can drive a wedge between you and your audience.

That’s why I recommend buying some basic equipment to enhance your quality.

This doesn’t need to be anything over the top, but a simple tripod can really help stabilize your videos so that they don’t look all shaky.

You can usually find a decent tripod for as little as $10, so this shouldn’t break the bank.

Or if you’re going to be recording from a location where a tripod isn’t viable, you can always use a selfie stick to serve as a stabilizer.

2. Experiment with lighting.

Lighting is a big deal when making a video and can really impact its overall quality.

If you’re filming outdoors, this shouldn’t be a problem as long as it’s reasonably sunny.

But if you’re filming indoors, you’ll want to try out different lighting options to see what looks the best.

Generally speaking, the more lighting, the better.

So if you’re in a room with dim lighting, you may want to bring in an extra lamp so that you’re more visible.

Here’s an example of good lighting.

3. Test the process before going live.

Let’s be honest. You’re probably going to run into a few glitches along the way when first starting out.

It can also be a little nerve racking when you’re suddenly broadcasting yourself to a large number of your followers.

That’s why I recommend testing everything out beforehand and getting comfortable with the idea of being in front of the camera.

You can do this by switching the privacy setting to “Only Me,” which can be found by clicking on “More” and scrolling to the bottom.

Go ahead and record a couple of test videos until you’re familiar with the nuts and bolts of how everything works.

This way things should go relatively smoothly, and you’re less likely to freeze up once you’re actually live in front of an audience.

4. Make sure you’ve got a solid connection.

You definitely don’t want a weak connection when recording a video.

According to Facebook, “WiFi tends to work best, but if you can’t find a nearby network, you’ll want a 4G connection.”

This shouldn’t be an issue if you’re indoors. But if you’re in a fairly remote outdoor location, it most definitely can be.

If you’ve got anything less than 4G, you’re probably better off choosing a different location.

If you see that the “Go Live” button is grayed out, then you have a weak signal.

5. Create an outline.

From my experience, I’ve found that it’s best to have a basic game plan when using Facebook Live.

You don’t want to jump right in without knowing what you’re going to talk about.

Of course, you’ll want to ad lib to some extent, but I recommend having at least three or four main points to cover.

You’ll also want to address each point in a logical, sequential order so that your audience doesn’t get confused.

6. Leave some room for spontaneity.

At the same time, you don’t want your outline to be so rigid that there’s no wiggle room.

Because your video is in real time, you never fully know what’s going to come your way.

An interesting idea may pop into your head all of a sudden, or a viewer might ask a question that steers your video in a slightly different direction.

This is why I suggest trying to achieve a nice balance between an outline and spontaneity to ensure that things stay on track but don’t become boring.

7. Provide context.

Before you jump into all of the gory details of your broadcast, it’s important that you briefly explain what’s going on to your viewers.

You’ll want to introduce yourself, identify where you’re at if you’re out in the field and provide a basic rundown of what you’ll be talking about.

This will fill your viewers in on what’s happening and will provide some essential context.

8. Recap what’s going on.

Another thing you need to keep in mind is that viewers will tune in at different times.

Here’s what I mean.

At the beginning of a video, you may only have 10 viewers. But at five minutes in, you may have 100.

At 10 minutes in, you may have 250 and so on.

In order to keep everyone in the loop, you’ll want to periodically restate who you are and what’s happening.

This is why it’s smart to recap the details from time to time. I’ve found that the following intervals tend to work well.

  • Two to three minutes in
  • 10 minutes in
  • 25 minutes in

Just make sure to keep your recap brief and that you’re not being overly redundant because this can be annoying to viewers who have been watching from the start.

9. Be yourself.

This little snippet of advice is quite possibly the most cliché thing ever.

But nonetheless, you’ll want your tone and verbal delivery to be hyper-authentic and match your brand identity.

Most people can spot phoniness from a mile away, so I discourage trying to be something you’re not.

If you’re polite, courteous and friendly by nature, keep your video content in line with this.

Or if you’re a little cynical and snarky, that’s fine too. Just keep it real, and let your personality shine through.

The bottom line is that you should make your videos match your brand.

10. Be relaxed.

Okay, this is easier said than done.

It’s common to get a case of the jitters and be a little unnerved by the whole prospect of being broadcast live to potentially hundreds or even thousands of viewers.

But it’s important to get yourself in the right headspace when recording.

Although it’s normal to be a little nervous, especially if you’re new to Facebook Live, you’ll want to remain as calm as possible.

This should help you be more fluid with your delivery and make your content more interesting.

11. React to viewer comments.

One of the easiest and most effective ways to crank up the engagement level is to simply respond to what your viewers are saying.

During a video, viewers can leave their comments and ask questions.Be sure that you spend part of the time reacting. This is your key to making the process as intimate and organic as possible.

I even recommend addressing some of your viewers by name because this really gets them in on the action.

And because people have a natural affinity for hearing their own name, it’s going to give you some brownie points that can really pay off in the long run.

If you know that you’re going to so wrapped up with recording a video that you won’t have the time to respond to comments (this can be really difficult when comments come in fast), then I suggest having a partner who is also logged into to the primary account.

They can be responsible for answering comments and can help facilitate the overall process.

12. Stay live for longer to extend your reach.

Want to reach as many viewers as possible and maximize the engagement level?

Then stay live for longer.

Facebook recommends that you stay live for at least 10 minutes per video, but you can go for as long as 90 minutes.

Think about it. The longer you stay live, the better your chances become of reaching a larger audience.

While 90 minutes may be overkill when you’re first getting the hang of Facebook Live, somewhere between 15 to 30 minutes can be the right formula.

Once you’re more familiar and comfortable with the process, you can go live for longer and longer.

Conclusion

Facebook Live is no doubt a powerful medium for bridging the gap between you and your audience.

When used correctly, you can create incredibly engaging content that “pops” and allows you to connect in a personal, intimate way.

This form of two-way communication can be just the ticket for tightening your relationship with your audience and for taking your brand to the next level.

What has your experience been like with Facebook Live?