For entrepreneurs with anxiety there may be nothing worse in the world than the idea of Facebook Live. The whole internet is preaching about how live video is the way to move your business forward, and all you want to do every single time you think about broadcasting is crawling back in bed and trying again tomorrow. So how can you overcome your anxiety and get your pretty little face in front of the camera?
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I have some tips for you, but first, here’s the experiment I ran just for this post!
Over the past few days, I decided to do a couple of live videos in my Facebook group and record how my anxiety played a role in each video. The first video was extremely under-planned. Admittedly, I’ve actually done videos like this before (though not quite so poorly planned). It went something like this:
- I didn’t pre-announce the video to anyone. I just popped on. This means that only the people who happened to see the notification that I was live were able to join me.
- There was no outline. I just kind of chose something to talk about, ran over it once or twice in my my head, and then turned on the camera. This definitely resulted in an anxiety spike because I wasn’t really sure what to say next and felt like I was fumbling for words, and I ended up repeating myself a lot.
- The video ran for about 4 and a half minutes (in 2 different pieces actually, because my stream got disconnected!)
- I didn’t ask my audience to take any one specific action. I randomly mentioned the splash page on my new website as an afterthought.
- The video caption was added after the video was officially posted. This means that nobody who might have joined me live knew what they were clicking into. It was a mystery video while it played!
Readers, this is NOT how you should be doing your Facebook live videos! Especially if you live with anxiety.
This is a recipe for your video not getting many views or any interaction. And when it comes to doing live videos, we get anxious because we’re afraid that we won’t get any viewers, that no one will like our content, that no one will respond to us. Winging a video like this is a self-fulfilling prophecy waiting to happen.
Alas, hope remains! Because there are much better ways to prepare for Facebook Live videos to really get the most out of them.
This is what I did for the second video:
- On the same day as my crappy Facebook live video, I sent out an email to my list announcing that I would be going live in my group on Sunday and telling them what I’d be talking about.
- I wrote out my script in paragraph form and read it a bajillion times (hey, anxiety), and then cut it down to bullet points. Try not to read it that many times - but enough to get comfortable with the material! This way, when you cut it down to bullet points, you won’t have to rely on your notes, but you still have a guide in case you get lost.
- Provide #AllTheValue! What is something your audience can connect with? I actually chose to take this opportunity to get really real with my people since I haven’t been feeling a huge response from them lately. I told them all the real, ugly reasons I got into business in the first place, touched on my mental health issues, things I’ve been carrying guilt around for, and practicing self-love and forgiveness.
- I aimed to stay on the live stream for about 25 minutes (but I talk fast and ended up only being there for 14:41. Hey, goals! And it was a whole 10 minutes longer than my other video!
- At the end of the video, I intentionally linked all of these things to a specific call-to-action and asked them to sign up for my course.
- And I captioned the video BEFORE I started it so that anyone who joined me 3, 5, 10 minutes in would know what the heck I was going on about.
You can check this one out here.
I will tell you that my stomach was actually in KNOTS for this video. Way more than the short one. However, I firmly believe it was solely due to the subject matter. Becoming that vulnerable makes me really uncomfortable. (For anyone who is into astrology - my planetary aspects actually make me fear vulnerability more than any other aspect in the zodiac. Yikes!)
Here’s why this method IS the way to go...
Once I got on the live stream, I knew exactly how to talk about each bullet point in my notes and I found words much more easily than I did on the first stream. I got about twice as many views as the other video, and for the first time in days my audience actually got on and responded to me in a truly authentic way! Even though this video took up more of my time, this is what I’d always like to strive for in the future and you should, too! With lighter subject material, this will easily cut down on anxiety levels because I felt way more prepared.
The cool part about adding Facebook live videos to your social media presence is that once they’re over you can repurpose them! You can download them and add them to your YouTube channel or embed them in your next newsletter for anyone who didn’t catch you live.
Here’s a step-by-step guide for how to grab your video off of Facebook:
Go to the group or page where your live video lives and click play.
Once the video has started, right click on it and copy the URL.
Paste the URL into your browser, and then replace ‘www’ with ‘m.” So the link would look something like: m.facebook.com/ instead of www.facebook.com/ The purpose of doing this is to get on the mobile version of Facebook.
Start the video again, and then right click.
Select “Save video as” from that drop down menu.
Then you can use the video however you’d like!
And finally, here are some coping skills to talk your anxiety off a ledge so that you can show up on camera for your audience!
- The #1 thing I learned from this experiment was that planning and outlining is key. Going live on Facebook IS public speaking, after all! Like I mentioned above, write your entire conversation out in paragraph form to make sure you’re not missing any key details that you should talk about. Then cut it down to bullet points. This way you won’t rely on reading your notes word-for-word (thus, eliminating eye contact), but you won’t get lost in your content either and you’ll have prompts for moments when you might forget what comes next.
- Prior to the live stream, get on a video call or have a chat with one of your best friends (significant others are also great sounding boards), and just tell them what you’re going to talk about on your video. “Hey BFF, I’m so nervous because I’m doing this Facebook live video in a couple of days for my business group. Yikes. Here’s what I’m going to talk about, let me know what you think,” and then start telling them. This is a good way to put yourself at ease and help you realize that you DO know your content. PLUS you’ll be able to get a little feedback on areas that might be confusing before actually putting it in front of your people.
- Spend a moment with your eyes closed picturing your video going super well! Go over everything in your mind in vivid details, from prepping your notes, to looking them over, how confident you’ll ideally feel, and then the actual live stream from start to finish, in total perfection. This will trick your brain into calming down!
- Remember that your audience is following you because they already love you. Even if you’re nervous, they’re going to be sympathetic. This is not like being a politician walking into a room full of lobbyists and trying to convince them of anything. Your tribe is already convinced. So just go in there and love on them.
- Take 3 deep breaths before pressing the Go Live button. Pull the breaths all the way down into your belly. This works because deep, slow breathing sends a message to our fight-or-flight brain (which is activated by anxiety), that we are in a safe place. Think about it, if our prehistoric ancestors were being chased by a sabertooth tiger, they would NOT be belly breathing! Our adrenaline thinks Facebook live is a charging wooly mammoth. It is not, so breathe deep ;)
- Smile before you start the recording. This is another trick to put you at ease. Plus, even though you might not have viewers the second you go live, you WILL have replay watchers. Don’t let them see your furrowed brow or lip biting habit.
- And finally, shift your focus. We get nervous about going live because we allow ourselves to feel like the spotlight is on us. But remember that everything in your business is not about you, it’s about THEM - your audience! So focus on how your message is going to help them. Remove your internal focus from yourself and shift it to them. You may begin to notice your shaky hands relaxing right away. (P.S. I am sooo not immune to shaky hands, even knowing all of this stuff! I nearly drew an eyebrow right across my forehead while getting ready for my long video until I started practicing some calming techniques!)
Comment below if you found these tips helpful and let us know what your next Facebook live is going to be about!
Jamie-Lynn is a serial entrepreneur living in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. She is the owner of Joy and Coffee - a virtual assistant business helping heart-based entrepreneurs manage their online presence through social media and email marketing. She is passionate about educating other women in online business and inspires them to follow their dreams while launching VA careers!
She has helped her clients grow their email lists from zero to hundreds in a matter of days, has launched dozens of digital products, and currently runs an online training program for aspiring Virtual Assistants.