Facebook recently launched a new feature--Facebook Live Audio. It's still in the testing phase at the moment, but in conjunction with my publisher, HarperCollins, I got to be one of the first people to test it.
It's similar to the current version of Facebook Live, but without the video component. That means you can broadcast live without a video camera. I suspect many people will want to use it because of its simplicity.
All you need is a smartphone and the Facebook app to get started. And with a click of a few buttons, you can start talking to your Facebook fans.
The Benefits of Facebook Live Audio
There are several benefits to using the audio only feature. For starters, you don't have to worry about how your hair looks or whether there's sufficient lighting since you won't appear on video. So whether you prefer to have a script in front of you or you want to broadcast while you're using your treadmill desk, the audio version may provide you with more opportunities.
Second, the audio only feature allows your audience to multi-task. They can scroll through their Facebook feed or open a new window while they continue to listen to your live broadcast. That makes it much easier to retain your audience for the duration of your broadcast.
Finally, the audio only feature doesn't require as strong of a signal as the video version. So you can broadcast from the top of a mountain or on a boat in the sea with fewer problems. Also, audience members with slower internet--and those who are trying to limit their data use--may be able to tune in.
Here's how to use Facebook Live Audio:
1. Choose a picture to display.
You can choose a picture to display throughout your broadcast. I usually opt for a picture of myself and a picture of my book so that listeners know who they are talking to and so they know what I'm talking about. If you don't choose a picture, your profile image will show up.
2. Create a short explanation of your broadcast.
Just like with regular Facebook Live broadcasts, the audio only version allows you to write a short description of your event. Tell people what they can expect from tuning in. A catchy description will encourage people to click.
3. Choose the audio icon.
Then, when you get ready to go live, you'll be able to choose either video or audio. Click on the audio button and you won't have to worry about your camera.
4. Interact with your audience.
Just like with the video version, Facebook Live Audio allows you to interact with your audience. You'll see their questions and comments show up the same way and they can also hit the like button or the share button during your broadcast.
5. Post it to your wall.
When your broadcast is over you can share it to your wall. The bulk of your listeners will likely tune in after it ends. You can edit your description or continue responding to questions and comments as they come in.
Plan Ahead for How You'll Use Facebook Live Audio
Facebook Live Audio isn't available to everyone quite yet. But it's likely that within the next few months everyone will gain access. It's a good idea to plan ahead and consider how you can capitalize on this new feature as soon as it's available.