Q&A for Online Sessions II: Livestreaming Setup Checklist

This is the second in a multipart series of Q&A* about the burning question of the hour in the Corona Kerfuffle. How can we sing together on the internet?! 
  • Part I covers the core question of why lag (latency) is a fact of life and what, if anything, we can do about it. 
  • This Part II provides a Livestream Setup Checklist of how to use Zoom and Facebook Live together to broadcast a houseconcert with a remote host and manage a smaller group of singers/workshop participants with a larger group of listeners.
  • Part III provides tips and tricks from recent experience on how to create and cultivate community for feature artists, singers, and listeners online.

Refresher: What Gear Do I Need?

  • Check your internet with speedtest.net to make sure you have enough bandwidth for livestreaming. See my post "Is It The App, or My Internet?" for details.
  • Check out this excellent post on Recommended Equipment from DIY Video for Bloggers. Don't be afraid to start with what you have.
  • Review my post on Going Live on Facebook for details on gear and how to use it.
  • Remember, it's not about the tech. Anyone can livestream these days.

How Do I Schedule and Advertise My Online Event?

Facebook Events, Pages, Groups, and Livestreams all work together with Zoom to give your audience a great online experience from awareness to applause.

Start from your Facebook Page rather than your personal profile, as this gives you more options for events and livestreams. For example, a profile cannot co-host an event with a Page, but once your Page has an event, you can add personal profiles (artist, tech, group admin) as co-hosts.

Create a Facebook Event to Gather an Audience

  1. Create a Facebook Event as soon as you have an artist and date lined up. While you can schedule a livestream only a week in advance, you can schedule the event first and then add the livestream closer to the go-live time. 
  2. Note that you cannot change details of individual instances of a recurring event, like the header image or the description. For greatest flexibility, create each event separately so you can change individual instances.
  3. Add the artist and any cosponsors as co-hosts, and invite edits. See my post "Set Up, Schedule, and Announce a Livestream" for details.
  4. In the Location, put "Zoom and Facebook--see Description." You'll come back to this.
  5. Consider including a link to this article on improving your security when using Zoom.
  6. Earlier versions of this post gave instructions on how to link directly to the URL of ascheduled livestream. This process doesn't scale well and will break if you need to recreate a livestream at the last minute (for example, if you get Zoombombed as we did). We now recommend including only the link to the Live tab on your Facebook page, for example https://www.facebook.com/digitalheritageconsulting/live.

Create a Mailing List for Non-Facebook Users and Secure Zoom Links

The Zoombombing we experienced had a silver lining, as it reminded us that there is a large audience for livestream events beyond registered Facebook users. Setting up a mailing list is a separate topic, but we strongly recommend building a mailing list of known users and NOT sharing meeting links on the web or on social media. 

Publicize the Event to Get a Rough Headcount

  1. Now that your Event includes a link to your livestream, share the event widely to Groups, Pages, and friends and ask them to share as well. Send invitations, post it to your wall, do everything that you would normally do to publicize an event.
  2. While you can share a livestream announcement directly, and people can click Get Notification, an Event lets you see how many people are Interested and Going. This helps you gauge how much additional publicity you need to do to meet your audience target.
  3. Livestream links are fragile and easily lost. We recommend sharing them only immediately before and during the event, and directing people to the Live Videos tab of your page.
  4. Events are also popular with audience members because many of them have their Facebook events integrated with their calendars. It's an easy way for them to check if they have a conflict, or if they're free to attend your event.

Help Your Artist Get Paid

Ask your artist which of their payment links you can include in the event details. 

How Do I Set Up My Online Event for Participants?

Schedule a Zoom Meeting for Session Singers and Feature Artists

If you are running a series, we recommend scheduling your Zoom meetings in a batch, and then creating and connecting the livestreams within a week as required by Facebook Live. Anyone can join a meeting without a Zoom account, but you will need one to host a meeting. Here's how. 

  1. Free accounts can host meetings up to 40 minutes and 100 participants. If you want to host a meeting for longer than 40 minutes or with more than 100 participants, see Plans and Pricing.
  2. Read this article on how to host a Zoom meeting
  3. Watch this video on how to schedule Zoom meetings.
  4. Review this article on how to prevent Zoom bombing and follow the recommended settings for hosts. 
  5. Go to Personal>Settings>Advanced and enable the following features:
    1. Allow users to select stereo audio in their client settings
    2. Allow users to select original sound in their client settings
    3. Show a Join From Your Browser Link
    4. Allow livestreaming meetings
    5. Custom streaming service

Create Safe Online Space by Sharing Zoom Links Securely to Participants

Once you have created the week's Zoom meetings, prepare and send a weekly email newsletter that includes the Zoom invitations as well as the Facebook event descriptions. This provides publicity beyond Facebook and helps keep the meeting info secure.
  1. Go to Zoom>My Account>My Meetings and go to the meeting you want to publicize.
  2. Copy Invitation to the clipboard.
  3. Go to your mailing list app (we use Mailchimp) and paste the meeting invite into a text block in the newsletter. 
  4. Delete any unnecessary text, for example long lists of phone numbers if you do not have dial-in users. 
  5. Use the Facebook header image and description you have already created to complete the newsletter article for each event. 
  6. Schedule the newsletter at least 24 hours in advance of the first event in your week. Since our sessions are 2pm on Sundays, the newsletter goes out at 2pm Saturdays.

Schedule a Livestream in Facebook Live Producer

  1. Seven days or less before the event, you can schedule a livestream in facebook.com/live/producer. Use the same details, description and photo you used for the Facebook event. Follow this helpful article for details.

Connect Your Zoom Meeting to the Livestream

  1. Follow the instructions in this article on streaming a meeting on Facebook Live. You will want to use Custom Livestreaming to connect to a scheduled livestream using the stream key from each of your scheduled Live events to its Zoom meeting. 

Next up in this Q&A series is Part III: Managing Artists, Singers, and Listeners During an Event.