According to Facebook, users spend as much as three times more time watching live videos than traditional videos. However, live video has its own set of hurdles and key tactics to keep in mind - from finding an internal or external personality to technology and AV. One destination that has been at the forefront of this is Florida Space Coast. The destination has generated tens of thousands of views on each production. We got to speak with Jeanna Wood, Content Manager at Florida Space Coast, to understand why Facebook Live became a focus and what best practices they’ve learned during their experience.
Sightseer: To kick things off, can you describe what the Florida Space Coast team is currently doing with Facebook Live?
Jeanna: One unique thing about Florida’s Space Coast is that we are home to Kennedy Space Center where rockets are launched into orbit just about every month. Our team saw this as an opportunity to create a pre-rocket launch show that highlights the Space Coast destination. Space Coast Live covers everything from the rocket launch mission and beach information to highlighting user generated photos and trivia to encourage engagement. Towards the end of the segment, we embed the rocket launch live stream so the user at home can watch the launch taking place that day.
S: What initially drew you to livestreaming and Facebook Live specifically versus other platforms?
J: When livestream capabilities were first introduced on Facebook, our team noticed other destinations utilizing this feature and accomplishing high engagement. We tried YouTube Live as well as Periscope, but our main digital audience is on Facebook, and it’s where we saw the biggest engagement.
S: What are the logistics of creating a live event?
J: Space Coast Live is a 10 to 15 minute, fully produced show that is executed by a production team. The pre-show prep starts about three weeks in advance. From planning the location and scripting the show to video graphics, our internal team of three works in tandem with our production team.
About one day prior to showtime, we will schedule a Facebook Live event to let our fans know when we’re going live. On the day of the show, our production team arrives a few hours before show time to set up all the camera equipment including stage lights, teleprompter and camera equipment.
Our executive director named me as the host of the Space Coast Live instead of hiring talent, which has worked out since I am a Space Coast native and know our product really well. I typically arrive on set with my hair and makeup already done one hour prior and complete at least one run through with the crew. Once the show goes live, my colleague, Danny, is on Facebook monitoring comments and feeds me any information I need to know while the various segments air. Sometimes I mess up my words or miss a cue, but we roll with the punches. We don’t aspire to be a top news network, but we do want people to feel the fun, authentic side of our destination.
S: What were your goals for the platform starting off?
J: User engagement and destination awareness. Many people are unaware that rocket launches are still taking place here on the Space Coast. After the Space Shuttle program retired in 2011, many believed that Kennedy Space Center shut down; instead there are more rocket launches taking place now and the space program has a bright future ahead of them. Space Coast Live has afforded us the opportunity to get that message out.
S: Looking forward, how do you hope to grow or evolve your live programming?
J: Right now, we try to do one show a month centered around a live rocket launch event. That doesn’t always happen as launches can be at 1 a.m. or they get scrubbed. In the future we hope to have a live event bi-weekly that centers around other tourism-related products and events.
S: Finally, what advice would you give a team hoping to begin using Facebook Live?
J: Start simple. Create a content strategy that your team is comfortable with. It’s easy to pick up a phone and go Live, but before you film anything, I’d recommend you have a story to tell. A majority of the content we produce is inspirational, so some days going Facebook Live looks like showcasing a gorgeous beach day while other days, it’s a full production and 10 minutes long.