Six months have passed since then and we thought it was time to revisit the topic. Many craft business owners have experimented with Facebook Live at least once or twice, and for some live video has become an integral part of their marketing strategies. Large craft brands are now recognizing the potential of live video as well and are working out sponsorship deals with broadcasters.
First, like with most new social media platforms, it helps to get in on the ground floor (and although Facebook Live launched six months ago, there’s still time to do that as a crafter). For knit, crochet, and craft designer Vickie Howell, getting in early was important. “Everything else is saturated,” she says in reference to the other social media platforms. “I think I was one of the first people in craft to use Facebook Live to do a regular series.”
Howell got early access to Facebook Live because she has a verified Facebook page. (Here’s how to verify your Facebook page). She began recording live videos almost a year ago.
A consistent format for your broadcasts helps viewers know what to expect, but don’t be afraid to change it as you learn what works. Each of Howell’s live broadcasts includes a demonstration of a craft technique, a segment where she answers questions that have been submitted in advance, and a live Q&A session.
Before you press the “go live” button, take some time staging the backdrop that will appear behind you when you film. Attractive craft supplies like skeins of yarn, jars of pompoms, or stacks of fat quarters can create an inspiring set for your broadcast. Keep in mind that Facebook Live doesn’t give you the ability to control lighting and focus so it’s best to choose one light source (a window, for example) and keep the camera in the same position throughout the broadcast. Howell says now that she knows people are tuning in she’s taking more time to prepare. “Now, I wear makeup!” she jokes.
Check out what these craft businesses are doing on Facebook Live
Vickie Howell – knitting and crochet
Jennifer Perkins – general crafts and home dec
Kara Gott Warner – knitting and mindfulness
Maddie Kertay – quilting
Margot Potter – life as a woman over 50
Melanie Ham – general crafts
Cheryl Sleboda – quilting
Victoria Findlay Wolfe – quilting
Debby Brown – quilting
Brenda Schweder – jewelry
If you’re nervous about filming live, try recording yourself on your phone first to get some practice. Look at the camera and talk directly to viewers, rather than looking down at your supplies. When you go live, don’t spend too long greeting live viewers. “If I see someone come on, I’ll wait to greet them at a natural time, but not constantly,” Perkins says, noting that excessive greetings can be boring for viewers who watch the replay.
The back camera on the iPhone has better resolution than the front “selfie” camera and is therefore the choice of many Facebook Live presenters. Since you can’t see comments and questions as they come in while using the back camera, put an iPad next to you to monitor those, but keep in mind there will be a few second delay. If you’d like to invest in some pro equipment Howell recommends this microphone. Also try a phone mount that screws onto your tabletop or a tripod that’s made to hold a smartphone. If you’re investing at a more serious level, the Mevo camera and app allows you to capture multiple camera angles at once.
Facebook Live is a great tool to easily create evergreen content for your blog and other social media channels. Both Perkins and Howell repost their live videos on their blogs and YouTube channels to get more traction after the live broadcast is over (watch this tutorial to learn to download a Facebook Live video as an MP4). Perkins reposts hers to LinkedIn as well.
As the months have gone by, big brands are catching on to the possibility of live video for sponsorships, although it may still take some educating on your part to show them the potential it holds. When Howell pitches to companies she now includes Facebook Live among her offerings. “I give them different options. They can sponsor the podcast, I can blog about their products, or I can demo it during an Ask Me Monday,” she says.
Although Facebook Live videos tend to get more interaction than typical Facebook posts, they’re still subject to the algorithm which limits what shows up in someone’s feed. Howell has chosen to pay to “boost” each of her Ask Me Monday videos. “I take some of the sponsorship money I get and put it towards boosting the post so that more people see it,” she explains. Viewers who watch the video later on her blog count toward her total views on Facebook as well.
One of the best ways to brainstorm ideas for your own Facebook Live broadcasts is to watch what other people are doing. Check out this map to see who’s live right now (the size of the dot indicates how many people are watching). See what’s working and think about how you might adapt it to your craft and business.