How To Use Facebook Live In Your Newsroom


We know that Facebook is an engagement leader and has become the first source of breaking news on social media. Facebook Live takes the social media network's capabilities to another level.

Facebook Live is a live streaming functionality which allows to users to share what’s going in their world. For news operations, it’s a powerful tool. 

Facebook Live can help your content display higher in user’s news feeds. According to Facebook “Facebook Live videos are more likely to appear higher in News Feed when those videos are actually live, compared to after they are no longer live. People spend more than 3x more time watching a Facebook Live video on average compared to a video that’s no longer live." 

Facebook Live also allows viewers to subscribe to broadcasts, enabling them to receive notifications of a broadcast. This puts your news team, literally, in viewers purses, back pockets and backpacks.

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Some stations do a Facebook Live broadcast of their news program. While this is a great behind-the-scenes initiative from a viewer’s standpoint, it can be difficult for anchors to engage with viewers during breaks because they tend to be consumed with upcoming stories. 

So to incorporate additional engagement opportunities into your digital media strategy, here are five Facebook Live broadcasts you launch almost immediately.

In The Newsroom 

Again, many viewers love seeing the inner workings of a TV station. I have offered tours of newsrooms, makeup rooms and studio sets. These are all behind-the scenes-glimpses of local news life that viewers love. 

There is an opportunity to take this further. Recruit a social media evangelist in your newsroom to host a Facebook Live broadcast that introducers viewers to the people who a newsroom go: managing editors, EPs, assignment editors, producers, photographers, etc. 

Dive deep into each “guest’s” role and career narrative. Get them to share their most memorable  story they’ve covered. That alone could make for a compelling broadcast.  

Weather Updates 

From going live to update fans and viewers during severe weather situations to simply connecting with viewers who love weather, this is both an effective engagement tool and recruit to view strategy.  

Consider delivering a shortened version of the weather forecast on Facebook Live and drive viewers to your upcoming newscast with the promise of the 7-day forecast. Have your meteorologists field questions during a weekly scheduled broadcast. Consider a Facebook Live Wakeup Forecast for viewers who check their social media feeds as soon as they get up in the morning. All of these are great from a community-building perspective, too. 

Sports Shows 

This is a no-brainer. Members of your sports department can serve a rabid, passionate fan base by offering their perspective and insight by sharing stories that they normally wouldn't have time to fit into a typical sportscast. Did they see something interesting at an NBA team’s morning shoot-around? What about a conversation a sports reporter had with a scout? Did a sports photographer see something out of the ordinary at a local team’s football practice that could affect a game? All of that is worthy of diving deeper into and discussing. 

Have your sports team produce a game preview and/or a post-game Facebook Live broadcast focused on the teams you cover. This is something that can be done no matter what the market. From high school football to the Stanley Cup playoffs, take advantage of sports fans' ravenous appetite for more content about their favorite teams.

Most likely, your sports department is already having these conversations. Get them to do it on social media. It’s an outstanding way to serve (and connect with) the passionate sports fans in your market.

Real Moms In The Real World 

Working moms in a newsroom face the same conundrums all working parents do. Could a couple of station moms share some of the issues and funny stories they experience with their kids? Yes. There are moms in your market who want a place to connect and, let’s be frank, be heard. Facebook Live is the perfect place to give your viewers that outlet. 

I did this in Dallas with a co-anchor (via the Google Hangout platform) when I was a new mom and the response was overwhelmingly positive. Granted, focusing on an age range that is too specific can be a challenge because it might alienate moms with younger or older kids but discussing topics that we all deal with (healthy meals for kids, the cell phone debate, etc.) can be an engaging initiative that could create some real-world marketing opportunities for your station. (Mom’s Night Out, anyone? I had viewers begging me to do that)

Reporter's Notebook 

Every story a reporter produces has a backstory. Whether it is the challenge of getting that piece on the air or additional insight a reporter can add to 1:15 package, there is almost always more. Give your reporters a chance to share those stories with a Facebook Live broadcast. It further establishes your news team’s credibility and give your reporters an opportunity to dive deeper into an issue. 

It also offers authentic, organic recruit to view to drive traffic to your broadcast and website. 

More on Facebook Live

There are a few best practices to consider: 

Encourage your team to experiment with Facebook Live. Those who embrace this platform will likely be surprised by the engagement they see. 

Remember that your Facebook Live broadcasts open the door for your other platforms: mobile, website and TV. 

Another great thing about Facebook Live? These broadcasts can be embedded on your website. Meaning, if you’re adding an additional component to an on-air piece, you can integrate this content digitally for a 360-degree experience. 

Want to dive deeper into this and determine what type of Facebook Live broadcasts are ideal for your market? Contact your consultant for a strategy session.