Have you been exploring the use of Facebook Live video for your marketing and communications? If you have been following my articles and live streams about how the platform has been developing over the last year, you will be aware that Facebook has also introduced Facebook Live audio.
I first mentioned this update in December 2016. You can find the announcement from Facebook here. In the announcement, they commented that some publishers want to tell a story on Facebook with words and not video and some have added a still image to accompany a Facebook Live broadcast.
Live Audio also presents another option for connecting with audiences using live streaming in real time from low-connectivity areas. Facebook stated at the time that the BBC World Service would be one of the pilot publishers for this new live format and we should expect to see it roll out in 2017 to more publishers and people.
At the same time, Facebook announced that people using Android devices can continue listening to a Live Audio broadcast even if they leave the Facebook app or lock their phones, while iOS listeners can continue listening as they browse other parts of Facebook.
To publish Facebook Live audio you need (at this time) to be using an Android device.
I was excited to test the new feature when I first got access last week and below you will find the steps you need to be aware of for streaming Facebook Live audio from your profile or a page. I recommend testing first by streaming privately on your profile so that you can adjust the privacy settings and get familiar with the tool.
I also suggest that you use your headset that accompanies your phone to improve the quality if the audio recording or plug in mic to your smartphone – examples of low cost lavalier mics you could use are here.
In this article you can explore the step by step approach to creating your first live audio on Facebook Live using your Android phone – both for your Page and your Profile.
How To Use Facebook Live Audio On Your Facebook Profile Using Your Android Phone
When you go into your Facebook App on your Android you will see the option to ‘Go Live’ – see the image in the screen shot below.
I realised I had access to Facebook Live audio due to a prompt at the top of my screen when I had clicked the ‘Go Live’ button which then said that I could create an audio-only live stream. I was then prompted to allow Facebook to record audio on my device.
I had recently re-installed Facebook onto my phone, so the first thing I needed to do was give access to my media files on my device.
I was also prompted to allow Facebook permission to take pictures and record video on my device.
A message then appeared to say that if I use Live Audio, my camera would be off and that listeners would be able to comment and reply to my live stream.
One things that will help your live audio stand out in the news feed is the choice of image that you use to upload before you start your stream. I did not have an image ready to share so took a photo with my camera on the phone and used that – if you can, ave a compelling and engaging image to use in your live stream.
You will be able to adjust the position of the photo or image before starting your live stream. If you are creating an image from scratch, then make it in the dimensions of 16×9 (as you would for a custom thumbnail for a Facebook video).
A way to check that your Facebook Live Audio is working is that when you speak, you will see sound waves followingyour speech pattern.
As I mentioned earlier, I recommend testing live streaming privately and you can do that by changing your privacy settings on your post before you go live.
Another point to consider is the title that you give your live stream – this will be posted onto your profile and can entice people to want to click to turn on the audio and listen to your live stream.
When you are ready to start your live stream you need to click the ‘go live’ button.
There is a 3 second countdown timer before you go live.
You will be able to see the sound waves and the live chat when you stream.
You can invite friends to join you to listen and comment on your live stream by clicking the person icon on the bottom left of the screen (this feature is not available when you post live audio to your Page).
You can comment on your own live stream – for example you could use it to reply to people or add calls to action.
When you have completed the Facebook Live audio live stream you can click the ‘finish’ button – you will then see that the live stream is ending.
You can change the privacy of the recording on your Profile when you have ended the live stream and before you post it for people to hear the replay. At this time there is no option to download the audio to your device.
I also tested the live streaming of audio to my Page and noticed there are some subtle differences which are detailed below.
How To Use Facebook Live Audio On Your Facebook Page Using Your Android Phone
You can live stream to a Facebook Group, a Facebook Event or a Facebook Page using the Facebook App.
As with live video, when streaming Facebook Live Audio to your Page you can refine your audience before going live – for example choosing their age, gender and location.
You can choose locations that you want to allow people to listen to your live stream or exclude specific locations from hearing your stream.
In the screen shot below you can see how I chose specific locations to have access to my audio live stream.
Another difference betwwen streaming to your page rather than your profile on Facebook is that once the stream has ended, there is no option to change the privacy.
Facebook Live Audio – what The Live Stream Looks Like On Facebook (Desktop)
You might be interested to see what your live stream looks like when it is posted – in the animation below you will be able to see the soundwaves in the post.
Editing Your Facebook Live Audio Replay On Your Profile
I was curious to know what would happen after a live stream has ended should I want to edit it. On your profile you will see the option to edit the live stream from the top dropdown box at the top of the post.
There is very little editing available to you on your profile – all you can do is change the description of your live stream. Let’s hope this changes in the future.
Editing Your Facebook Live Audio Replay On Your Page
Just as with Facebook Live video, when you post to your page you have more editing options.
I was surprised and delighted to see that when editing the live audio replay, you get the same features as if editing a video on Facebook – you can change the title, tags, description, add captions and even upload a custom thumbnail.
You can also access the embed code should you wish to add the audio live stream to your website or another platform. You also have the option of dowloading the replay.
At this time, there does not appear a way to edit you live stream from the Publishing Tools area of your Facebook page as you can with Facebook Live video.
I hope this tutorial has provided you with assistance to start your Facebook Live audio. Will the fact you can now stream without having to post a video encourage you to consider live streaming on Facebook to support your communications plans?