SIPAward Winner Chesapeake Family Shows Power of Facebook Live

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Although I covered Chesapeake Family Life's successful foray into Facebook Live about a year ago, it was before it won a 2017 third-place SIPAward for Best Use of Video and more details were presented. So let's go through CEO Donna Jefferson's process again to see how it can be a template for other publishers.

Find a partner. Chesapeake Family Life partnered with The Summit School, a school in its area (Annapolis, Md.) widely recognized for being an expert in the education of children with learning differences, to present a session on the Early Signs of Learning Differences.

Find a well-respected speaker. That partnership led to getting an expert speaker, the head of Summit School, Joan Mele-McCarthy. She is leading a taskforce appointed by Maryland Governor Hogan to study the implementation of a Dyslexia Education Program.

Find a place to host it.  Jefferson held the seminar in her office's conference room. The community was invited free of charge. Her audience is B2C and thus uses Facebook a great deal, but B2B people are on Facebook all the time as well now. Plus our business/personal lives are blending more and more these days.

Promote the event. The seminar time was announced and promoted well in advance by both partners, through marketing and social media. (In fact, Jefferson held a short Facebook Live event to promote the seminar.) Memes were incorporated to provide a tidbit of information about learning differences as well as the conference time. (Facebook suggests also asking viewers to subscribe to Live notifications.) 

Get the proper equipment. Jefferson bought a clamp to hold her new iPhone 7 (it was a year ago) in place as the camera and mic. She positioned it about 5 or 6 feet away to see the speaker and PowerPoint behind her, and all tested well. About 10 people came to the office for the event, giving it that live feel.

Have a person monitoring Facebook. As the seminar was being broadcast on Facebook Live, Jefferson monitored the questions coming in via Facebook. They were relayed to Mele-McCarthy, and she answered them during the seminar, as well as the questions asked by the in-house attendees. This triggered quite a bit of audience engagement. Facebook suggests using a closing line to signal the end of the broadcast.

Measure the results. As a result of pre-seminar promotions, more than 2,500 people saw at least part of the live presentation, and 15 people shared it. The Summit School staff said that they had two voice messages when they arrived the next morning from parents wanting to make appointments to have their children tested. (On a larger scale, I just read that Business Insider's Cars Insider content reaches 45 million people per month on Facebook!)

Push the afterlife. Jefferson downloaded the video from Facebook and embedded it on a page on her website so it continues to provide parents with a valuable resource and The Summit School with lead generation. Also, after the event, the presentation was embedded in an online article and shared on Facebook.

Provide guidance. On the website page with the video, Jefferson provides information for people just tuning in. "The first few minutes are spent introducing audience members and waiting for Facebook Live to pick up the feed but what follows is an hour of very important information about developing reading and language skills in young children." Yesterday I gave an example of a podcast where they listed what subject was discussed at what time so you could jump ahead. With an hour-plus video, this can also be a successful strategy.

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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director…