Facebook Live is a new feature that allows users to live stream on its platform. Have you heard about it? It was first rolled out to verified users: select brands, media outlets and celebrities in 2015. In February 2016, it became available to all U.S. users who have iOS or Android mobile devices.
Live streaming has been around for years and is becoming more and more popular as new mobile apps become available. Twitter has Periscope for live streaming with a user base of 10 million and Snapchat has 100 million active users with 10 billion video views daily. While this is impressive, neither of these platforms have the large audience and potential of Facebook which has 1.6 billion monthly active users.
As I was doing my research on this topic, I came across a tweet by Catholic Relief Services (CRS)—announcing their Facebook Live event for World Refugee Day, June 20, 2016.
— Catholic Relief (@CatholicRelief) June 18, 2016
Over the years, I have noticed that CRS has been in the forefront when it comes to using the Internet and social media to get their message out. This was their first live Facebook video and they promise to do more.
Two CRS communications officers, Nikki Gamer and Caroline Brennan, co-hosted the program. They were very warm and personable. They spoke to each other and the viewers in a very conversational way as they shared the human side of the refugee crisis. They had pictures cued up on a monitor, which the camera turned to as they referred to them. The live video had more than 900 views and lasted 28 minutes (30 minutes is max allowed). Viewers could comment in real time.
The presenters invited viewers to help the refugees by praying, advocating with members of congress and/or donating. In the comments, CRS posted follow-up links for those who wanted to help in any of these ways.
The recording of this video appears on the CRS Facebook Page for more people to view, comment and act. Six hours after being posted, views had grown to 3.2k views.
Congratulations to CRS
This was a well-planned presentation. CRS promoted it via Facebook and Twitter. It was thoughtfully scripted and choreographed, and presented in a very very friendly and engaging way. It most likely drove traffic to the section of their website devoted to the refugees and specific ways to help them. This was an excellent use and integration of social media, live streaming and a website to raise awareness and gain support for addressing this serious world crisis. Congratulations to Catholic Relief Services and thank you for the wonderful work you are doing “to assist the poor and vulnerable overseas.”
How Can You Use Facebook Live?
Next week, I will write about how other ministries can also use Facebook Live to share their message. Have you used Facebook Live for your ministry? Tell us about it. Can you think of any ways that your parish, diocese or ministry could use Facebook Live? Please share them below. I will add them to my list. Remember that a presentation of 5-10 minutes can be effective.