Launched in April 2016, Facebook Live allows the most-used social network’s users to share up to eight hours of live video with their followers and friends. According to a Facebook spokesperson, the vast majority of these recordings come from people instead of public figures and publishers, and the number of people broadcasting live at any given minute has grown by four times since its launch. Further, users comment over 10 times more on Facebook Live videos than on regular videos, demonstrating that broadcasts engage users with their real-time reactions and comments.
Many colleges and universities have already begun integrating Facebook Live into their social media marketing schemes. Out of the 45-school Alumni Monitor coverage group, 36 schools have hosted at least one Facebook Live event within their main university or alumni-focused social media page. For those schools looking to begin (or expand on) their current Facebook Live presence, here are six ideas for engaging alumni using Facebook Live.
1. Interview professors about current events
Schools can take advantage of trending topics to garner attention for a Facebook Live broadcast related to current events. Most commonly, higher education Facebook Live broadcasts featured faculty members commenting on the 2016 election, including the debates outcomes and election night expectations. George Washington University, for example, has primarily focused its livestreams on the election, such as a Q&A discussion with a professor about the Republican and Democratic parties.
2. Capture sporting events
After graduation, alumni frequently connect to their alma mater through athletics. Facebook Live can be used to broadcast both major and minor sporting events, such as games with rivals or playoff matches, to encapsulate the event atmosphere and highlight student athletes’ performances. Syracuse University’s Alumni page, for example, broadcasted a Facebook Live event highlighting the momentum and school pride of Syracuse Alumni when their men’s basketball team made the Final Four in the 2016 NCAA March Madness Tournament.
Syracuse University Alumni’s NCAA Tournament Broadcast.
3. Bring homecoming to alums
Though homecoming welcomes alumni back to campus each year, not all alumni can make the trip. Schools can eliminate any “FOMO” (fear of missing out) feeling by livestreaming events throughout the weekend. Common trends among universities’ homecoming-related Facebook Live broadcasts include homecoming parades, pep rallies and luncheons. Cornell University even broadcasted a Homecoming Prize Cab video, which showed alumni answering Cornell trivia questions on their way to the football game in exchange for prizes.
(Next page: 3 more ways to engage alumni)