5 steps for having a great Facebook Live music performance
Music has always served to bring people together, rejuvenate communities, and provide comfort, solace, and fun. While concert halls and music festivals are the usual go-to destinations for live music lovers, sheltering-in-place has created a new era of live music — brought to you by social media and other live streaming platforms.
In fact, websites such as classicfm.com routinely post lists of live-streamed classical music concerts, and concert audience members (aka, “viewers) are growing with each and every event.
Facebook Live is a Fantastic Performance Venue for Rising Musicians
Facebook offers one of the best platforms for musicians who are ready to grow their following via live performances. Social media marketing gurus at HubSpot report that, “Videos see 3X the engagement of traditional videos shared on Facebook, and millions of users live stream on Facebook around the world.”
Who doesn’t want to aim for that type of coverage? Click here to download HubSpot’s comprehensive post, How to Use Facebook Live: The Ultimate Guide.
As with anything related to music and musicianship, practice makes perfect, and professionalism should always be a priority. Learning how to use Facebook Live tools as seamlessly as possible goes a long way to impression your followers and inspiring others to join your network.
To that end, we have 5 tips to get you started as you prepare for your first Facebook Live music performance.
1. Tidy up your Facebook account
If you already have a separate, persona-oriented Facebook account, skip to Tip #2. Otherwise, take some time to clean up your existing Facebook account or go ahead and start a new one geared towards fans and followers. When you’re developing your online persona (aka, your “brand”), your public image should be consistent and align with your values. Remove any and all pictures or comments that could be offensive or not fit for the public eye. You never know who will land on your Facebook page, and agents or managers on the prowl for new talent may pass you by if you don’t have a professional image.
Need help cultivating your public image? Read our posts, Dos and Don’ts for String Musicians on Social Media, and, How to Use Social Media Effectively to Get People to Your Performances.
2. Heavily plan for — and promote — your “live” event
It takes careful planning and promotion to build necessary momentum for an optimal streaming audience.
- Give yourself at least two to three months to prepare, promote, and practice on Facebook Live.
- Once you’ve selected a concert date, create a timeline. Then work backwards to the present to plan creative, timely, and catchy promotional posts and reminders.
- Establish a theme to tie performance selections together, and give the audience some idea of what to expect. Is this your first time to play a solo concert? Use tips shared in How to Create a Program for Your First Solo Performance as a guide.
- “Create an Event” using your Facebook page so your immediate network gets the news and can share it with others. Don’t forget to post the link in or on other promotional materials you create or share.
- Schedule your Facebook Live. You can choose to schedule your Live event in advance, or just do it in the moment. The advantage of scheduling in advance is that you can set up automated posts to promote it.
Have a friend or two who are good at marketing, social media, and promoting? See if they're willing to help out if these areas are your weak point. You should also read our post, 7 Tips for Promoting Your Performance, for more support along those lines.
3. Test your broadcast set-up
In order for you to sound and look your best, and for the audience to enjoy a seamless stream, you should do a “dress rehearsal” with Facebook Live to make sure everything is working properly.
- All you need is a smartphone or tablet, or computer or laptop with a webcam. (Use a tripod for your smartphone or tablet to make sure it’s steady.) K&M have a few great products that you can mount your phone or tablet with.
- You’ll want to make sure the lighting is good. You can buy a professional light kit for under $200 on Amazon, or make one yourself. The main thing is to make sure you’re not in the dark or overexposed.
- We recommend using an external microphone for professional sound. While you can use the microphone on your smartphone, tablet, computer or laptop, they aren’t always the best way to show off your music. (Amazingly enough, people will tolerate poor visual quality, but will immediately tune out if it’s poor audio quality. Doubly true for music performances!) Here’s a guide that gives you details on setting up external microphones for a music performance on Facebook Live whether you’re using Windows or Apple / Mac devices.
- Test your wi-fi connection. You want to make sure it’s strong enough so that the signal doesn’t keep going in and out so people lose you.
- Run your dress rehearsal. Facebook has the ability to let you test your Facebook Live event privately so you can make all the mistakes you want and no one will ever know. (More on that below.)
4. Design and Create Your Setting
If you are a literal “garage band” to date, there may be something catchy about having the garage as your setting. In most cases, however, it’s best to design a setting that is eye-catching and attractive on screen and also aligns with your personality and target audience members’ tastes.
- Make sure that you and any other musicians playing with you are all visible, without anyone being cut off during the feed.
- Consider using masking tape or other cues to mark the physical boundaries discreetly on the ground so you have visible “on-stage” cues when you’re performing.
- Try out different backdrops, colors, and props (if any) to see which look best on camera (or on stream).
This prep is similar to what you’ve done in the past when preparing your audition or college application videos.
5. Practice, Practice, Practice
Finally, do several practice sessions so you feel completely comfortable and can feel confident your concert will go as planned. The more prepared you are, the better you’ll be able to improve or roll with the punches if any glitches arise. Facebook Live practices can be done through their platform by setting yourself as the only audience member. When you practice, go to your Facebook page options and click into the “Live” setting. Set the “audience members” to include only yourself.
That way, you can stream and keep an eye on what you look like and how you sound. Have others in the room with you to provide constructive feedback via your desktop screen and make visual, background, and costuming adjustments until you have the exact look you’re going for. Just don’t forget to change the settings back to your larger audience base when it’s time for the real performance.
Break A Leg!
Ready to launch your live performance career, build your following, or have some good ol’ fashioned fun with a Facebook Live music performance? Don’t forget to share your details with the StringOvation community on Facebook. We’re here to support one another and look forward to supporting live music and musicians to the best of our ability.