Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Sue Moorcroft on Using Facebook Live

Bestselling author, Sue Moorcroft has taken part in a few Facebook Live videos recently, and I invited Sue to write a guest post about her experiences. I've known Sue for a few years and we often chat on social media. I'm also a member of Sue's fantastic street team. Sue has been a guest on this blog (and on my neetswriter blog) previously, and I've linked to the other posts at the end. Thank you, Sue for visiting with another really informative post, and over to you!

Sue Moorcroft on Using Facebook Live as a promo tool:

I’ve been involved with four Facebook Live (FBL) videos — all different and mostly fun. Engagement ranged from 488 views to 2.4k. Here’s a summary:

Alone in my study

Hosted on: my Facebook page, facebook.com/SueMoorcroftAuthor
Views: 488
Purpose: launching a new book. Device: desktop computer

With author Bella Osborne at the News Building, London

Hosted on: the Facebook page of Avon Books UK, the imprint of HarperCollins that publishes my books
Views: 1.7k
Purpose: talking about our latest books (both summer). Device: smart phone

With author Maggie Sullivan at the News Building, London

Hosted on: the Facebook page of HarperCollins UK
Views: 2.4k
Purpose: talking about our latest books (both Christmas). Device: smart phone

With Jo Askew at Icarus Falconry, Holdenby House, Northampton. Special guest: Lily the barn owl

Hosted on: my Facebook page, facebook.com/SueMoorcroftAuthor
Views: 498
Purpose: Ben in The Little Village Christmas looks after a rescue owl. Jo and Icarus helped me with the research and invited me to their premises for joint promo. Device: smart phone

How did these experiences compare?

Alone in my study was my first ever Facebook Live and I approached it with trepidation. The digital media manager at Avon Books UK talked me through the process before I went ahead. I received a lot of questions and comments but I’m sure I came across as a rabbit in the headlights. I didn’t find it a particularly natural process, although I’m usually happy at events or on the radio and have been interviewed on camera. Not knowing where to look and talking to myself felt foreign in comparison.

With author Bella Osborne at the News Building, London was a big improvement. Bella and I are friends, both writing for Avon. The team at Avon set the whole thing up for us and organised the flow of questions. Because we talked to each other it felt natural, and I think the product was better. Because Avon has a wider reach on its Facebook Page than I do, we got great engagement. It was fun. It meant a trip to London - a plus for me, but not for everybody perhaps.

With author Maggie Sulllivan at the News Building, London was a repeat of the above positive experience. Maggie is published directly by HarperCollins UK and their reach is even greater than Avon’s, so the viewing figure was larger still.

With Jo Askew at Icarus Falconry, Holdenby House, Northampton. I was beginning to see possibilities for FBL by now! Jo and I chatted about The Little Village Christmas and owls while manager Tom Morath filmed us on my phone. Engagement was more modest but it was another great experience.

 What do you need for a Facebook Live video?

   A Facebook page to host. The more followers that page has, the greater your engagement is likely to be.
   A device such as a computer, tablet or phone, that has a camera and the capability of connecting to Facebook on the Internet.
   A stable internet connection so you don’t vanish ahead of schedule or break up.

 My tips:

   Advertise the FBL ahead on all your social media channels. Mention the time you’ll be live and provide a link to the relevant Facebook page. Say how long you’ll be live. Ask people to have their questions ready. If you can get your publisher/agent/anyone else with a large social media platform to do the same, do it.
   Schedule social media posts to go out at the time you know you’ll be live to say something such as ‘I’m live now over on XXX. Come on over! Ask me something fun’.
   Plan ahead. Do you want to use props? Or something to talk about if there’s a lull in the questions? Have what you need within easy reach.
   Look good! Think about hair, clothes, make-up (if you wear it). Maybe dress up - a sun hat for a summer book or a Santa hat for a Christmas book, for eg.
   During the FBL, keep inviting the audience to ask questions in the comments section. Say the question aloud before you answer, so everybody knows what you’re talking about.
   Make it fun for those watching. Try not to be too solemn.
   If something goes wrong, laugh it off. FBL isn’t meant to be too polished and a dropped prop doesn’t matter.
   If you can get someone else involved to operate the device, it can help.
   If you’re going to FBL when there are others around, tell them what’s going on. You don’t want one of your loved ones barging into your study to talk to you while you’re broadcasting. Especially if they tend to chill at home in their underwear. Or birthday suit.
   Remember that if you swear a lot of people could hear you!
   Sharing an FBL with someone you know and trust can feel more natural than being alone.

A couple more thoughts:

   Facebook Live is a free service. There might be connected costs though, such as travelling to a venue.
   The video remains on the Facebook page even when you’ve finished the live broadcast so you can continue to use it for promo.

A quick overview of what to do:

Fancy doing an FBL of your own? It’s quite easy. Go to your Facebook page. Click on Start a live video.

You may need to allow FB to use your camera and microphone.

Then fill in the relevant boxes. This is an opportunity to hook people in.

When you’re ready, click Go Live. A countdown appears on the screen and then … Go! You’re live. Talk! Smile! Watch the comments section for questions.

When you’re ready to end, say goodbye and click End Broadcast.

That’s it! Now, that wasn’t hard, was it?

I can’t guarantee book sales but it’s a great way to engage with readers and be accessible to them which, to me, can only be a good thing.

Good luck!

Anita: Thank you, Sue for taking the time to write this wonderful post, which will be very helpful to anyone thinking about dipping their toe into the scary world of Facebook Live! Find out more about Sue below:

Sue Moorcroft is a Sunday Times and international bestselling author and has reached the coveted #1 spot on Amazon Kindle. She’s won the Readers’ Best Romantic Novel award and the Katie Fforde Bursary, and has been nominated on several other occasions, including for the Romantic Novel of the Year Awards.

Her short stories, serials, columns, writing ‘how to’ and courses have appeared all over the world.
Twitter  @suemoorcroft
Instagram @SueMoorcroftAuthor
Google+ +SueMoorcroftAuthor 
LinkedIn suemoorcroft

Other posts on this blog:

Other guest posts by Sue Moorcroft:

About me (Anita Chapman):

I'm a freelance social media manager with clients in the world of books. I run my own one day social media courses for writers in London and York (28 April, 19 May, 6 October 2018), and I'm a tutor at Richmond and Hillcroft Adult Community College (Surrey), where I run 10 week courses, Social Media for Writers and Bloggers #neetsrhacc (next course starts 26 April 2018). Find out more with booking info via my website. You can follow me on Twitter @neetsmarketing, Instagram @neetswriter, and my neetsmarketing Facebook page is here


  1. I have done two videos for my blog audience, using only my iPhone camera. When it was finished, I posted it on my blog, and later posted my blog on my Facebook page. I'm wondering how this is different?

    1. Facebook Live video is done directly through Facebook, and it is live. Not sure, but think you're saying you make your video, then post on blog then post the blog link on your Facebook page? I guess live means more that it's happening now (adding excitement) and you can answer questions whilst filming.

    2. Hello. I think the main difference is the interactivity, as Anita mentions. While you're broadcasting on Facebook Live people viewing can ask you questions via the comments area and you can reply to them live. You can ignore any questions you don't fancy, of course. I was asked where I lived and whether I went to church. I ignored those!

  2. This is a great piece, Sue. Thanks for sharing your experience and your videos. Even though I've stood up in front of hundreds of children in my life as a teacher, and also in front of readers a few times, the idea of doing this still makes me nervous! Well done to you for getting stuck in :)

    1. Thank you, Julie. For the first one, I decided that, worst case, I could end the broadcast and delete the video! It was all totally within my control. But definitely involving someone else worked best for me. You can largely forget the camera. Good luck with it!