You knew this was coming. The moment Evan Spiegel rejected Mark Zuckerberg's $3 billion offer(!) for Snapchat, Facebook was always going to produce its own live streaming feature and try to wash Spiegel away. Now it's here. After testing with select figures since August 2015, Facebook is now rolling out Facebook Live to everyone.

The feature allows anyone to broadcast video directly from their profiles or from the Mentions app. Likes and other emojis float across the bottom of the video in real time, giving broadcasters instant reactions. Live comments make it a two-way channel. Broadcasters can interact with audiences as they're filming, and the films are later uploaded to the site as static content.

For marketers who have experimented with Snapchat, it's familiar stuff. For everyone else, it's about to become familiar.

But while Facebook Live looks simple, it leaves plenty of space for mistakes that are going to be seen by a lot of people. The launch itself died a minute into its own live stream when Zuckerberg disappeared from the sofa and the screen went blank. Oops!Here are five ways marketers can avoid embarrassing errors as they play around with Facebook's new killer feature.

1. Plan Your Content... Or Plan A Routine

Part of the fun of live streaming is that you can invite audiences into your life at any time. You can bring them behind the scenes of your business or make yourself available for an instant Q&A. But you'll get a better reaction if you plan ahead. Instead of suddenly appearing in people's lives, treat a live stream as an event. Tell people what you're doing and when you're doing it, and build excitement before the event. Even though Facebook Live makes personalities always available, audiences should value the time they spend with you.

If you are going to be spontaneous, then make those get-togethers regular events. I've found that live streaming my regular walks has turned my most loyal audience members into a close community. Facebook Live's features are only going to make that community closer.

2. Don't Ignore The Title

Facebook lets you give your live stream a title. That's what your Facebook audience will see in their notifications and it's what will determine whether they watch or turn away. Look at the titles of your most popular Facebook posts, use them to guide your choice of video titles... and check the stats when you're done. (Facebook is giving viewer stats for live streaming.) It might take a little time to figure out which topics and titles get the best results so don't rely on your gut for the best clicks and viewing figures.

3. Live Video Is Never About You (It's Always About The Audience)

The selfie generation is used to taking and publishing pictures of itself, and when you're filming your own face it's tempting to think that live video is all about you. It isn't. It's always about the audience. Don't just use the front camera. Switch to the back camera to show what's going on around you, and react to what the audience is saying. The comments that you'll be able to see at the bottom of the video will be a great guide to what people want to know.

Know what marketing message you want your stream to deliver but make sure you give viewers the entertainment and information they want.

4. Facebook Live Is A Dialogue, Not A Monologue

Anyone who's delivered keynotes knows the importance of engaging the audience: asking questions, handing out prizes, getting people to raise their hands. A talk should be an event, not a lecture. Live streaming should be just as interactive. Marketers should chat with audiences, not talk at them. Ask questions and tell them to share their answers in the comments. Instruct viewers to send their likes and hearts in response to great comments from other people.

Facebook Live doesn't just put a camera in your hand; it puts an audience in your hand. Play together!

5. Edit After The Stream Ends

Once the stream ends, it's uploaded to your wall and becomes a very different piece of content. Don't ignore it. Go back and edit it. Choose an inviting thumbnail, select the category, and most importantly add a Call To Action. Facebook Live's videos have two lives. It's mistake to only let it live once!

Published on: Apr 7, 2016