Facebook Live is a growing trend you don’t want to miss out on in 2018.
According to the Facebook newsroom, live videos receive 6X the engagement as non-live videos. Facebook also gives live videos a higher priority in news feeds which means your live videos will show up better than other posts.
This provides an incredible opportunity for churches. You now have the ability to reach people where they already are. At their home. At their favorite coffee shop. Whenever and wherever they are- you now have the ability to stream church service directly to them.
But just like your actual church service, you want your visitors to feel engaged, welcomed, and satisfied with their experience. Here’s the good news- it’s now easier and more affordable than ever to make this happen.
That’s why we’ve put together some important tips and tricks (or checklist) to help you create the best experience for your online viewers without breaking the bank.
Tip # 1 – Acknowledge Your Online Viewers
If you’re going to live stream your church service, you need to act like your online audience is in the room. Make a point to welcome them and let them know you’re glad they could join you. Help them feel like they are actually attending your service and are noticed.
Tip # 2 – Consider Their Experience
If you are going to stream your service, make sure to keep your online audience as first priority. Too many churches set up a camera to live stream and forget about them until the end of the service. Remember, your audience wants to feel engaged.
Try to avoid long pauses in your service as much as possible. I recently viewed a church service where they entered into prayer for roughly 10 minutes after their worship set. This left me in a very awkward position because I was unable to participate and was left to stare at an empty screen. Consider ways you can engage your viewer during moments like these or simply have these moments at the end of your service. That way they don’t hop off before you’ve had a chance to share the message with them.
If you’re using a phone to record, remember to never turn your camera sideways once you’ve started your live stream. It won’t adjust, and people will be straining their necks to see what’s happening or more likely they’ll just stop watching.
Lastly, try to avoid the “shaky cam” effect or making the viewer feel like there’s an earthquake at your church. It’s important to have a tripod or mount for your camera, and it should be in a location where it won’t be bumped or shaken by vibrations.
Tip #3 – Engage With Your Audience
Always have a church leader or pastor monitor your live stream and engage with people who join in. This means encouraging people to share their prayer requests or their stories. Respond to them. This is a great opportunity to pastor and encourage people. You may even have the opportunity to lead someone to Christ! That is not something you want to miss out on!
Ask their thoughts about your live stream and what they’d like to see improved. This will make them feel valued and respected and may even show you something you’ve never noticed or thought about before. Fun fact of the day: there’s always room for improvement.
Make sure to think of ways you can make your viewer’s experience more enjoyable by providing sermon points in the comments or links to resources which might benefit them. Even feel free to share your giving link during the offering.
Tip #4 – Quality Matters
Just like any other area of your church service, you want your live stream to be presented in excellence. There’s a very good chance that if your viewer sees you’ve put a lot of focus into providing a great quality stream, they could very well become a regular attender (online or in-service). However, if it appears to them you aren’t too concerned with it, they may likely look somewhere else.
Here are some questions you may want to ask when streaming your service online:
Is my audio quality loud and clear?
You want to make sure people can clearly hear what you’re saying. If you’re using an iPhone or Android to record, consider purchasing an external microphone or even a wireless adapter to receive sound directly from your soundboard. If you’re using a video camera, it’s even easier to connect to your soundboard.
You may want to consider only streaming the sermon portion of your service as it can be very difficult to stream high-quality audio from your worship team that is also well mixed. In addition, unless you’ve purchased a license, you may be streaming illegally which I discuss later in the last tip.
How is the video quality?
This is the first thing a viewer will notice when they view your live stream. If they can’t clearly see what’s going on or can’t tell who the person is on stage (because your camera is too far away or the quality is too low), they most likely won’t watch at all.
Consider finding a way to move your camera closer to the stage or purchasing a camera which fits in your budget that has the ability to zoom in. If you decide to purchase camera, you may need to look into streaming devices that will connect your camera to Facebook Live. Your online attenders will thank you for these improvements. I promise.
Lighting is more important than you might think. It can vastly increase the quality of your video. Often, there isn’t enough lighting on the stage and this causes graininess and an appearance of low-quality. If you can afford some stage can lights, it will be immensely worth it. It’s possible it may even save you from needing to upgrade your camera.
Tip #5 – Don’t Break the Law
If you’re streaming your worship services, it’s important to note that it’s actually illegal without the appropriate license. For a small fee from CCLI, you can purchase the license add-on you need to keep you free from any unnecessary lawsuits. Even smaller churches are in danger of this. If you don’t want to pay the fee, then simply stream the message only.
Follow these tips and you’ll be off to a great start. There are always more ways of presenting a welcoming and engaging experience for your visitors. Be creative and keep researching and looking for ways to improve your live stream. Your viewing audience will grow- which means more people will be reached and more souls may be won.
Don’t wait. Start taking your Facebook Live stream to the next level today. There’s no risk in doing so, but there is a high reward. Let’s take advantage of this great opportunity and reach the one- wherever they are.