How Facebook Live’s new features can be used for public events

Man wearing hat and glasses
Will.i.am taking part in Conversation on Innovation on Facebook Live

Facebook Live may be aimed at individual users – live streaming themselves to friends – but that hasn’t stopped it becoming the streaming choice for lots of large, public events.

Now Facebook has added a couple of new features that could offer niche uses for events – particularly in the hands of a skilled community manager who wants to foster engagement from participants in real time.

Facebook Live – live chat with friends

Live chat with friends is Facebook’s latest attempt to offer an alternative to the reams and reams of unrelated comments on a live feed creating… chaos. But, because this is Facebook, it’s also a clever way of creating more engagement for erm… Facebook.

That said, the feature – which simply allows two or more (facebook) friends to start a private live chat within the live stream – looks interesting for anyone thinking about holding a collaborative event online. As Facebook says, in their official release:

“Live Chat With Friends lets you invite friends to a private chat about a public live broadcast. You can invite friends who are already watching or other friends who you think may want to tune in. You’re able to jump back into the public conversation at any time, and you can still continue chatting with your friends via Messenger after the broadcast ends.”

Now, this is a user-focused rather than broadcaster focused feature, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be worked into any strategy for a livestream. It offers the opportunity for groups of viewers to talk to each other in small, more manageable groups.

So it’s not such a leap to imagine those same groups having chats that can then feed back in managed ways to the stream itself – through the existing live chat feature, if users want to. How will this develop? We’ll have to wait, but I’m sure more features are on the way.

Live with – add a stream to Facebook Live broadcasts

The second feature announced was the ability to split-screen with another stream – bringing (as Facebook puts it) two friends together on a live stream.

“Now available for all profiles and Pages on iOS, Live With lets you invite a friend into your live video so you can hang out together, even if you’re not in the same place. Sharing the screen with a friend can make going live more fun and interactive — for both you and your viewers.”

This is obviously a great way to bring together something a little like a Google hangout – or a live link up. The effect is two people, talking, on screen from two streams. This can be achieved with lots of live streaming products already but bringing this together with all the social functionality that Facebook has – not least the large audiences that can be achieved there – is great news.

If you’re interested in using Facebook Live – we can help you produce professional events online. Just contact us for help and pricing.