My wife and I live in Madison, WI. Madison is our chosen home — neither of us have families in town. My parents and her mom were able to join us in person. But that still left a lot of loved ones who couldn’t make it in for the occasion.
In the days leading up, my brother asked if I could Skype him in for the event. I said sure. Then one of my cousins made the same request and I realized that Skype was not going to work.
I wanted to stream the celebration for my family, but I didn’t want it to be open to the general public.
So here’s what I did: I created a private Facebook event and invited in those we wanted to join us remotely. This included family and friends in New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Florida, Washington, California and even Germany. It included two grandmothers in their 80s/90s who were both thrilled about becoming great-grandmothers!
Once RSVPing that they would attend, I instructed the invitees to head over to the event page at the appropriate time. I then used Facebook Live to stream the entire ceremony directly into the private group.
They could all access it, and I didn’t have to worry about anyone else joining in, or someone sharing it to their networks and it becoming a public affair (I set the privacy settings to only stream to those “attending” the event).
The stream was one-way, but not the conversation.
I set up the phone on a tripod near our in-home guests. When everything was over, I went back and looked at the video. There were about 15 cyber-guests, but they had left a combined total of 99 comments! So after everyone had gone home and the kitchen was cleaned, we got to re-live the event through their comments.
One of my cousins even let me know that she wasn’t able to make it to the event in real time, but that she was able to watch it later that day on her own time.
As can I and any of the other invitees!
What’s The Point?
If you read my blog regularly, you probably realize that this isn’t a typical post for me. It’s a bit more personal than I normally delve. That said, the point of this post isn’t really to tell you about my intimate family affair. The real point of this post is the importance of understanding the tools in your digital toolkit.
My brother and cousin wanted me to Skype them in. Which would have worked for one or two people… but not a dozen!
Facebook Live would have been great for those we wanted to join us, but it would have been hard to keep it intimate and private.
A private Facebook event was a perfect solution to bring in the family, without having to broadcast it to the world.
Everyone who attended raved about how “fun” it was and how great it was that they got to be there. Never mind the fact that they were all thousands of miles away. They all had a front row seat, right alongside our parents and our local guests. And not only that, they could chat with each other throughout, without worrying about disturbing the ceremony.
In the words of one of my aunts: “This is all so cool that we can be so connected!”
While this story is about how I brought my family together, ask yourself when such tools might be helpful for bringing together your audience or community. Maybe you have an upcoming meeting you want to share with top volunteers. Or you want to announce a new product line to your VIP customers. Perhaps you want to give access to some of your fans, without opening up your conversation to the world. Our smartphones and social media platforms are full of amazing tools. Understanding them might just be the difference between bringing your community together… or not.
Want to start using Facebook Live, but not sure how to get started. Check out my free Facebook Live Checklist.
Not sure which digital tool might be right for your upcoming event. Be in touch and let’s figure it out together!