Introducing Facebook’s Next Feature: A New Way to Broadcast Live

A few days before Christmas, Facebook announced a pretty snazzy new feature – did you notice?

Soon, Facebook is piggybacking off the massive success of its live video feature by introducing live audio broadcasting.

(Which is a lot cooler than it sounds.)

Because that might sound kind of backwards at first, right? After all, video killed the radio star – not the other way around.

video-killed-the-radio-star

So there are two big questions to answer about Facebook’s decision to add live audio broadcasting: why are they doing it, and how can you use it?

Let’s start with that first one!

Why Facebook is making live audio the next big thing

Live broadcasting without video might sound a little old-fashioned, but be honest – sometimes, you just don’t want (or need) to be on camera.

That’s not an assumption, either! Facebook literally said when they announced this feature that because users have been finagling so many DIY solutions for hosting live broadcasts without video, they’d rather just give everyone the option.

(Plus, leaving out video means you can worry less about connection speed and quality issues – and depending on the device a person uses for listening, they’ll even be able to keep tuning in if they close the Facebook app, or lock their phone and get back to their lives. Just like listening to a podcast!)

ipod-dancing

It isn’t just the apparent user demand or the technical advantages, either – Facebook is introducing live audio broadcasting because it benefits Facebook to be a platform that does it all.

It’s the same reason they introduced live video in the first place! Offering a massive array of features turns Facebook into a one-stop shop, where you can share whatever types of content you want without having to learn a brand new network, or build an audience there. (Which has gotten in the way of networks like Periscope.)

So if those are the types of factors that have kept you from seriously considering webcasting in the past, forget about ‘em – Facebook is about to make live audio broadcasting a whole lot easier, and even if you’ve never done it before, this is the time to think about how you could.

Which brings us to that second big question: what do you even do in a live audio broadcast?

Ideas for your live audio broadcasts

Facebook hasn’t launched live audio for everyone just yet – they’re saying sometime in early 2017 – which means you have a little time for thinking about what types of broadcasts you could share.

Things like…

Musings, thoughts, and tips

Got expertise you’re itching to share on a regular basis? Or even just a couple of minutes’ worth of reflections you think would resonate with your audience?

Setting aside a regular time to broadcast those ideas could be the ideal way to perfect your audio recording skills! (Especially if you’re also interested in trying out longer broadcasts.)

Blog posts like Seth Godin’s are a stellar example of the types of thoughts you could share via audio – a few minutes of personal perspective, informed by your own unique expertise and delivered with casual confidence.

(Plus, you could easily transcribe and repurpose your messages to make evergreen words of wisdom social media updates! More on that here.)

Interviews

There’s no shortage of tools that allow you to broadcast video interviews.

(There’s also no shortage of defunct ones. RIP Blab.)

But as useful as those tools can be, using them for multi-person broadcasts means your audience probably doesn’t get much to look at other than webcam footage of people speaking into microphones.

jarrets-room-large

Sharing interviews (or even just multi-person broadcasts) using live audio means you don’t have to worry about delivering visuals when they aren’t actually necessary – and more importantly, it means your audience doesn’t have to watch something when all they really want to do is listen.

(Remember, video broadcasts take up your audience’s bandwidth, too – and if they’re tuning in on a mobile device, they may not be able to multitask while playing video the same way they could if it were audio-only.)

Whether you want a broadcast to feature guest contributors or to simply include more than one person from your company in a discussion, channel your inner podcaster and see how much easier (and more practical) an audio-only session can be!

Readings

This one’s inspired by the authors and other members of the writing community we’ve seen using Edgar – live readings of your work!

(Like at the coffeehouse, except you can stay in your pajamas.)

slam-poetry

Want to hype up the new book you’re working on? Share your latest poem? Read one of your personal essays out loud? This is the perfect place to do it – a place where your fans are already connected with you!

(Plus, Facebook’s live audio feature will enable your audience to interact live via comments and reactions, so you can even field a few questions while you’re at it!)

Q&As and Announcements

Speaking of fielding questions, a live Q&A session is another strong fit for Facebook live audio – especially if you’re a little camera shy.

(Because you could absolutely do this on video – and a lot of people do – but it isn’t for everyone.)

Since live audio gives your audience the same ability to interact as video does, you can set up live events for engaging directly in real time, answering questions, and even making early announcements of what you’re working on next! (It might not be the best way to reach the widest swath of your audience, but hey, that’s what makes it exclusive.)

Give your fans and followers some advance notice that you’re hosting a broadcast like this, and be prepared to offer some As for some Qs!

What do you think of live audio on Facebook?

Now that live audio broadcasting is officially in the pipeline, what are your thoughts?

Is this an unnecessary new feature, or a welcome one?

Think you’ll be sharing any live audio of your own?

Let us know what you think of Facebook’s latest addition in the comments below!

  • Christine Agro

    ooo – I’m so big on audio and not so much on video. This is really exciting to me. I can use this for all of my projects! It will also reduce some expenses if it’s flexible enough (ie – one can offer a 30 minute audio for example.) I’m going to go look to see if I have it yet? Does anyone have it yet? And I agree RIP Blab…you are missed 🙁

  • Chantal Lavergne

    I think it’ll be interesting to see how this tool is used…might be a great way to promote podcasts! Or even integrate them to Facebook!

  • This is cool!! Can’t wait to use FB Audio for my coaching groups and the broadcasts (y) Love it/can’t wait! So simple and easy for everyone. Thank you MeetEdgar for helping us to learn and improve our work!

  • Should be a nice addition.

  • Clare

    Thanks for the heads-up. I’ve been doing Facebook live (and elsewhere) for a while now, but I love the idea of being able to do live audio.
    There are days when I just don’t feel in the mood for camera-work or can’t be bothered to sort out lighting (or clear up the background) and this would mean I can still do live sessions.
    I recently published Dare To Dream Bigger: The ‘Inside Work’ Handbook For Entrepreneurs and Passionate World-Changers. The Facebook live video sessions I have done sharing techniques from the book have been really popular. But I love your suggestion of simply doing a book reading for sections of it – and handling live Q&A while I’m doing it.
    Can’t wait to find out when I’ll get to play with this.
    Thanks again, Edgar. Yours is one of the few weekly emails I always make sure I read.
    Clare Josa

  • I am excited about it and definitely plan to use it!

  • Karen DeSantis

    This is great. This is an alternate way to podcast!

  • I’m excited. It’s a great way to do podcast preview shows, live podcast, and more. I can’t always watch video but I can always listen to audio.

  • When I first read Facebook’s announcement about this last month I was thrilled! I host 5 live Q&A sessions on my Facebook page each month and a good number of my [more camera shy] clients are excited about the idea of hosting their own Q&A’s without having to come on camera or create slide presentations. Most of my Q&A’s require screensharing or some sort of visual instruction, but I look forward to teaching my clients and course members how to incorporate this new media in their businesses. I assume the downloadable format will be an audio file that we can choose to host and/or upload as audio only to sites like Soundcloud, Stitcher, etc? What I loved about Blab was receiving the replays as both audio and video files. Looking forward to seeing how this all plays out.

  • victoria brun

    I like the idea. Will I ever use it is yet to be seen. But I like the idea of customers logging in to find out more about my product. A general Q and A session. 🙂

  • Diana Navarro

    Interesting idea. I may just try this instead of my regular broadcasts.

  • Podcasts! Hangouts, Webinars? However individuals and businesses go about broadcasting their messages facebook adding this feature can not be a bad thing. Every platform where your audience is hanging out should be a consideration to broadcast. The problem is the ‘live’ element. Getting people to turn up to live events be it in the virtual or real world is hard work. Let’s hope Facebook makes it easier for the audience to attend and not be distracted by Ads 🙂 Note that the worlds leading webinar (celebrity) people ask all other screens and devices (distractions) are turned off to get the best out of their listen in mode only webinars.

    • Tom VanBuren

      Good point – multitasking can be all too tempting!

  • Very interesting! Although, I’ve heard that live audio will only play on background on Android devices for now. So on iOS you’ll still have to remain in the Facebook app to listen to the audio, which kind of defeats the whole point of doing other things while you listen. Not sure why they can’t figure this out on iOS yet when other apps like Spotify and podcasting apps still work when you switch between apps.

    • Tom VanBuren

      What you’ve heard is right – at least for now, iOS users will have to keep the app open to listen, while Android users have more options.

  • so it means that now on we will be listening to Radio on facebook … Good Work btw Facebook !

  • I was waiting for Facebook to destroy Anchor… and here it comes!

  • Steve Attarian

    This is a Great article Thank you.

    • Tom VanBuren

      Thanks, Steve!

  • Does the audio disappear once you’ve ended the session or is there a storage option on our profiles? Thanks for bringing this to our attention…especially as I was just about to potentially launch a podcast!

    • Tom VanBuren

      Facebook hasn’t said just yet – if it works like video, it’ll still be available for listening afterward, but the details haven’t been announced.

  • Andrea Wilson Woods

    Wow! I am thrilled about this FB update. It fits right into my content plan to create a podcast from a long-term video series I’m doing for a pre-book launch this spring. Thank you for sharing!

  • Live podcasts here I come! This is a pretty game changing update, as if video wasn’t one.

  • Alice Wilcox

    I’m thrilled!! You don’t always want to be on video but still have a message to share, I love the idea.

  • Abbey Dyer

    Sounds amazing!! I am excited, bring it on:)

  • Nikole Stephens

    Yes, this is perfect!!!

  • Seth Regan

    As someone who’s broadcasted thousands of live music performances in many various ways, using various solutions in both audio and video, I think this is a good idea. Not everyone is tech savvy to work with the likes of Wowza’s stand alone streaming solution or connected to Amazon’s EC2 and the like. Not everyone wants to get on camera and not everyone has time to get all pretty for the camera if they want to broadcast on short notice (I’m NOT ready for my closeup Mr. Deville!) This will be a good start and I’m excited to see how the Facebook community makes use of it.

    In the past, I have created my own DIY Solution on my fan page for a live streaming solution http://www.facebook.com/sethreganmusic

  • bevhepting

    Cannot wait. I love audio broadcasting.