How to do a Facebook Live

In my 9-5 life, I do a lot of social media. So much so, that my personal channels are becoming the proverbial mechanic’s car that never gets fixed. I’ve been meaning to write this post for while as I’ve had a number of people ask me “what’s the deal with Facebook Live?”

Short answer: Facebook LIVE is real-time video broadcasting… and it’s a BIG deal.

Longer answer:  It’s a big deal because it allows individuals, small business and brands to reach out and engage audiences directly – FOR FREE. While other streaming apps like Periscope and Meerkat have been around for longer, Facebook’s global reach is what makes this tool a big deal.

So here’s a quick overview on how to do a Facebook LIVE that even the most untechie person follow:

Three things you need to know BEFORE getting started:

  1. If you are a business, your page needs to be Verified verified button to broadcast.
  2. This feature is still rolling out, so you may not have it yet.
  3. Right now the functionality is available on Apple devices and just recently became available on Android.

How to start broadcasting:

  1. Open your Facebook app.
  2. Go to your own Facebook profile and open up the status bar as if you’re going to write a new post.
  3. Tap the “Live” icon FB LIVE icon, which looks like a human silhouette.
  4. Give Facebook access to your camera and microphone when prompted.
  5. Write a description for the broadcast. This description is public and what the video will be saved as on your Facebook page.
  6. Choose the audience that you want to share with before going live.
  7. Tap Go Live to begin your broadcast and ta-dah! You’re live.

That’s it.

Well basically that’s it. There are lots of extras you can get for your phone depending on your level of techie: directional mics, tripods and lenses. If you’re doing a live broadcast at a formal event, I recommend investing in a iRig Pre to patch in the audio board to get quality sound and ensure you have a secure dedicated Internet connection.

Here’s some things to know:

  • People who subscribe to your page, or are friends with you, will receive a notification that you are LIVE in their Facebook News Feed. As they engage with your broadcast (comments, likes, reactions, shares), THEIR friends will see it in their newsfeeds.
  • A live broadcast can be up to 90 minutes. To retain maximum viewership, aim to keep it less than 30 minutes.
  • During your broadcast, you’ll see the number of live viewers, the names of who are tuning in and a real-time stream of comments.
  • When you end the broadcast, it will be saved on your Timeline like any other video and you will have an option to save it to your device.
  • While watching a live video, audiences can tap the Subscribe button to get notified the next time your page goes live.
  • When the broadcast is shared, it’s still one single feed. That means that all comments will be captured in the broadcast comments section. (Easy for collecting data!)

Here’s the BIG ONE:

  • Once the broadcast ends it CANNOT be restarted. That means if you lose your connection anytime during the broadcast, a new LIVE broadcast must be started. So if you’re shooting something that’s a big deal, have a backup feed though another live streaming service that you can redirect viewers to.

So that’s basically it. Until the tool changes. But until then happy broadcasting!



50 Shades of Scandal

2014 has been the year of scandal for Canada. From the Canadian Senate scandal and everything Rob Ford to the current Jian Ghomeshi sex scandal. Canada is no longer the quiet neighbour.

While the Ghomeshi scandal has raised important discussions regarding sexual harassment, consent and sexual violence; so much has come to light in the past few weeks that it seems like eons ago that Ghomeshi posted his initial statement on his Facebook fan page announcing to his fans that he was fired from CBC because his private life was to risqué for them. Of course now our focus is on the multiple accounts of alleged assault, but his statement really stuck with me, or rather parts of it stuck with me. Yes it was eloquently drafted by a PR/crisis management firm, but what I can’t get out of my head is not his 50 Shades of Grey bedroom tastes, but this line:

“To recap, I am being fired in my prime from the show I love and built and threw myself into for years because of what I do in my private life.”

As a PR professional who worked in media for many years, what immediately came to mind was how naïve that line was. It worked well as a rallying cry to garner initial sympathy and support; but the hard reality is, as a public figure you’ve basically relinquished your right to a true private life. Tiger Woods lost millions in sponsorship deals when his private life very publicly exploded, so why did Ghomeshi think he’d be different? As a public face of an organization, you are a representation of its brand; and if your actions are no longer are in alignment with the brand, then it’s time to part ways. That’s just business.

I’m not saying that public figures shouldn’t be allowed to have a private life or privacy. But it does seem to be the cost of fame. Once you’ve put yourself in the spotlight; it’s going to shine everywhere – especially into those deep dark corners that you’d rather keep hidden. Suddenly everything is on display for public consumption in the form of entertainment news, tabloid magazines and gossip blogs.

We are a hungry society. We move from scandal to scandal, consuming every siliceous detail until we’ve outright bored ourselves; then we move on to the next big thing. It is then that a scandal has ‘blown over’ and people can start to bounce back. Think of where Robert Downey Jr was 15 years ago. Look at Martha Stewart… Of course now that legal allegations are in play, what’s to come of this particular scandal remains to be seen. But one thing is certain, regardless of the outcome, this too will eventually blow over.

Here’s some tips to channel your inner Kerri Washington if you or your clients are ever caught by the short and curlies:

Make a Plan BEFORE a Crisis Hits:

  • Develop a crisis plan by identifying the top threats and plan out in advance how they will be dealt with.
  • Establish a crisis communication team, which at a bare minimum should include an official spokesperson, a public relations advisor and a lawyer.
  • When dealing with sensitive situations, write down everything! A written record of what transpired is the best way to protect you and your clients.

When The Shit Hits The Fan:

  • Response time matters so implement your crisis communication plan within the first 48 hours.
  • Control the flow of information by establishing a spokesperson and a means for disseminating information early on so you can shape the story.
  • Evaluate available strategies to address the problem and take action.
  • Know your answers before the questions get asked. ‘Winging it’ is NOT part of an effective crisis management strategy. Identify the questions out of your worst nightmare and decide how you’ll address them.
  • Don’t ignore the elephant in the room. Ignoring the problem doesn’t make it disappear; in fact, in most situations it makes it worse.
  • While you are confronting that elephant have key messages in place. Address any mistakes. Emphasize that you have a plan. If you can’t comment for legal reasons, say that. Express compassion for any victims involved and display a commitment to correcting the situation.

WestJet Christmas Miracle

Over the years I’ve seen some good and bad  PR stunts. For example in 2011, South Australia’s Advantage SA sent 55 gold fish to media executives as part of a tour with the message: “Be a big fish in a small pond and come and test the water.” Cool idea right? Well, despite providing enough food for each fish for six months most fish were dead on arrival. Ouch.

Anyone else remember the fake fan site ( that Sony created in 2006 to create buzz for the PlayStation PSP? It didn’t end well…. Gamers found out and hammered Sony on legitimate message boards.

Well there are also some PR stunts that are done well. Very well. Iwanted to share this one from WestJet as it’s a great idea that was successfully delivered and shared. It focuses on giving back to their customers, and yes, while it’s a PR piece, it really did happen… Plus it made me teary-eyed and filled with joy…

Company Christmas Party Etiquette

office-party-buttAhhh the company Christmas party. Once upon a time, the company Christmas party was an office party with staff in Santa hats and Christmas sweaters guzzling spiked eggnog and behaving inappropriately in the photocopy room.

While most of us know the obvious things NOT to do at a company Christmas party, like lip-locking with our coworkers and photocopy our butts to give out as ‘presents’, the very nature of the company Christmas party has changed. Contrary to popular belief, your company Christmas party is NOT the time to let loose and party with your coworkers.

Here’s the thing. No matter how festive the occasion, a company Christmas party is still about business. And if you make an ass out of yourself, you could easily ruin your hard-earned professional reputation.

Barbie photocopies butt.I don’t mean to sound like a Grinch here, you can still eat drink, be merry and all that jazz, just in moderation. (Save the cutting loose for the after-party.) While it might seem like a good idea to saddle up to the bar a few times, you don’t want to say or do anything stupid that you’ll need to apologize for later.

Seems pretty obvious, yes?

For women, the eternal question of what to wear is more important than ever. Here’s a solid piece of advice from most career experts: A company Christmas party is NOT the place to strut your stuff. Do yourself a favour and leave anything short, tight, sexy and/or revealing in your closet. Ho Ho Ho! Don’t dress like a ho! Keep ‘the girls’ under wraps. Not saying that you have to dress like a nun, but think about what your wardrobe choice is saying. You’ve worked hard to create a professional image, and revealing clothes can alter your coworkers’ and manager’s perception of you as a competent professional.

So now you are dressed festively, but professionally. You had one cocktail and are ready to… MINGLE. Even though it’s a party, it’s a company party, so work the room. Chat with people you don’t typically interact with daily. Making conversation is the key to shining like a Christmas star at the office party. In fact, this is a great time to introduce yourself to the CEO and/or VPs. How often do you get the opportunity to chat with these people? You may be surprised to learn how much you have in common.

It should also go without saying to make sure to thank the people who organized the party. Not only is saying thank you the nice thing to do, but it also makes you stand out from the many employees who don’t.  And finally, don’t leave without saying “goodbye”. It’s not only polite but necessary.

I leave you with a survey about company Christmas parties:


What if Telekinesis WAS REAL?

What if Telekinesis WAS REAL? How would you react? Check out this hidden camera experiment set up in a New York City coffee shop that captures the reactions of unsuspecting customers as they witness a telekinetic event as part of a promotion for the movie Carrie.

While there has been some discussion as to how ethical it was to scare the b-Jesus out of random people, the video itself is amazing! In my books, THIS is an awesome PR stunt and officially added into my list of Most Memorable PR Stunts. Let’s all aim this high in our creativity!

Let me know if you agree.

Network to Success

Ask any career coach or successful business professional and they’ll tell you that to expand your business, you need to put yourself out there and meet new people. Despite the growth of online communication and social interaction tools, people still “buy people”, so by showing your face, people are more likely to remember you when looking for a service you provide.  So I have to ask, how often do you network?


Nyree Costello with eSAX organizer Jarrod Goldsmith.

Ottawa has a number of terrific networking events that target different demographics, industries and interests. One of my new favourites here in Ottawa is eSAX . The brainchild of local musician and entrepreneur Jarrod Goldsmith, eSAX – The Entrepreneur Social Advantage Experience, is an “entrepreneurial social networking group dedicated to creating connections, gaining applicable knowledge from featured speakers and promoting collaboration among Regional Chambers of Commerce.”  With different events that range from straight up mix and mingles, to speed networking events, eSAX seems to have something for every comfort level.

While sometimes it’s daunting, remember that networking is an important tool for every business owner and communications professional because, not only are you showing your face to these people, but you also get to personally talk about what it is that you do. Would it be easier to hide at home and interact through your online communities? Maybe. But is it as effective? No way! After all, isn’t the goal of online communications to directly reach new potential customers, suppliers and business contacts?  Networking is the fastest way to make this happen as you are making direct physical contact with new people.

Need a nudge to get started? Check out this great article on “How Business Networking Works” by Linda Brinson from my all time favourite site:

AND to make you feel better, here’s a funny networking oops! moment from’s Your most embarrassing networking stories.”