While I do not pretend to be up-to-date on all the latest software and hardware features available today, I do try to find best uses for some of the more prevalent ones.
On a recent post on Thom Rainer's blog by Jonathan Howe, he recommends that church's consider using Facebook Live throughout the summer to stay connected by sharing highlights of camps, mission trips, and other events.
Facebook Live is Facebook's video feature and gives users live video presentations through Facebook that pops up on followers' timelines as well as gives notifications of broadcasts. We have used it at times (when our wifi was working) for mid-week Bible studies and found that we were able to connect with many who were unable to join us or were in other states or nations.
I have had a few pastors ask how to set it up and I have preferences, so I'll share what we have done, and just so you know, it's cheap, so if your church does not have a technology person or a large budget, you likely can still do this.
While Facebook Live is available through the desktop version, we've found the mobile version is the easiest to use, based on venue and portability. Be warned, if you use Facebook Live on your mobile device, you will eat up your data unless you use wifi.
So, here are some step-by-step instructions.
- Get a mobile smart phone with either a large data plan or use wifi. Sorry, Captain Kirk, that flip phone won't work.
- Set up a church Facebook page. You can do the live from your personal page, but in my opinion, it is best to do this from your church page. This may also be the time to ensure your church's Facebook page is a group page, and not set up like an individual person. Step-by-step instructions here.
- Download Facebook Pages App. This is the step many who have sought to use Facebook Live for their church miss. Facebook has an app solely for your organization pages. We have numerous pages for our campuses and ministries on Facebook and through this app, we can view and manage each separately without being bogged down with timeline updates or accidentally posting something on the wrong page. Facebook Pages Manager is available in the Google Play and on iTunes app stores. One of the reasons it's an often missed step is because the icon doesn't look anything like Facebook. It's white with an orange flag on it.
- Open your page and click the "Live" icon.
- TURN YOUR PHONE FOR HORIZONTAL VIDEO. Okay, this is just a personal preference. Stop videoing vertically. Turn your phone so the image is horizontal. In other words, think how the video will appear on other's phones and on computers. Watching a video in a vertical setting is like opening a door slightly and peeking through. It's weird. Everyone has been trained since birth to watch television and movies on a horizontal screen. So, turn your phone so the image looks "normal."
- Type a Title for your Live Event in the "Describe your live video..." section.
- Click "Go Live." It's that simple. A countdown begins and then you're live.
In addition to these steps, we have purchased a small desktop phone tripod. This allows us to set our phone on a shelf, or on the sound booth ledge to video our services. It's small and portable and keeps you from either duct taping your phone to the wall or having someone hold it the entire time. Now, if your video is at camp or short, just hold it. It's natural and works. But, if you're recording a service, the tripod works well. Click the image below to open Amazon. This is the tripod we bought and have found it works perfectly. We haven't used the remote control "selfie" feature, but you may like that.
Of course, there are better ways to do all this. If you're going pro, get a larger computer with better camera and set it up semi-permanently.
Hope this helps.
There are numerous other uses of social media that can help you stay connected with your church and community. Check out the full article on Thom Rainer's blog here.