As of 2018, Facebook has 2.41 billion users worldwide. If your parish has an active and dynamic Facebook presence, many members may already “like” your page. When the social media platform launched Facebook Live in 2016, it offered users a way to more immediately connect with their audiences. As years progress, it’s only natural that churches have now started using this feature to connect with members and nonmembers alike. Below are a few ways your parish can get started.
What Can We Livestream?
- Weekly Masses
These are a good option to livestream for the faithful who can’t get to church because of age, illness, or injury, lack of transportation, and other struggles. (Although it should be made clear that a livestreamed Mass does not count as your Sunday obligation!)
- Special Masses or Feast Days
Maybe your parish school has an All Saints procession, where students dress up as saints, or maybe you broadcast first Communion and Confirmation Masses. These offer the dual benefit of engaging the parish on social media, and also allowing families to watch if they can’t attend in person. Other options could include a May crowning or a Eucharistic procession.
- Other Interesting Things
If your parish puts on a vacation Bible school each summer, broadcast a short preview of it to drum up interest. Or if a priest offers a lecture series, announce it in part via a Facebook Live video with a brief preview of the content or topic. If your parish is getting a new priest, allow him to introduce himself to the congregation on Facebook Live. If your parish produces any kind of podcast, you can livestream video of it, as well.
What Will We Need?
- A webcam
- Wi-Fi connection
- Tripod or other way to mount the camera
You will need to decide whether you want a single-camera setup or if you want multiple cameras in your space. Also think about where to put the cameras. Do you want to mount them in a permanent space or use something movable, like a tripod?
How to Get More Views
Sprout Social has a list of tips for your Facebook Live efforts — below are a few noteworthy things to consider before you begin.
- Plan when you will go live with your content. Try to time it when you think the most people might be able to watch it live.
- Announce the livestream ahead of time on Facebook and other social media channels so parishioners can make the mental note to log on and tune in.
- Test your equipment ahead of time — make sure your cameras are in good working order and check the lighting, angles, and sound of the space where you’re streaming from. This is important because if the lighting or sound are a bit off, it will make the video less watchable.
- Check your metrics afterward. Knowing these numbers can help you make changes to future livestream events and get more viewers.
Caveats and Cautions
Be aware of Facebook’s Terms and Conditions for livestreaming. Sometimes pages or people have had their streams taken down if the website thinks any music is unlicensed or if there are other copyright violations. Learn the guidelines to prevent any issues with your own livestreaming efforts.
How has your parish used Facebook Live? Let us know!