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.
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!
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!)
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?
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.
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.)
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.
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!
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.)
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!
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!