How to Use a Facebook “Watch Party” to Strengthen Your Online Tribe

By now, you’ve probably built yourself a good following of clients and prospective clients using Facebook. Like many other online trainers, you’ve also likely created a private Facebook group where you can support your clients along the way.

But, one of the most common questions I hear from online trainers is:

How do I get better engagement within my Facebook group? Nobody seems to be interacting.

Maybe it's time you host a Facebook "Watch Party." If you're not sure what that means, don’t worry, just keep reading...

Facebook Watch Party

What is a Facebook Watch Party?

A Facebook Watch Party is a fantastic way to interact with your followers in a Facebook group. It’s exactly what it sounds like – one big viewing party for your videos!

It allows you, as the administrator, to live stream a video for all the members in your group to see. During the Watch Party, members can comment and interact with you and other users.

It's like an evergreen webinar. Your main content is pre-recorded so that you can act as the host and stir up lots of engagement.

Watch party

Facebook Watch parties are a great way to share content and foster group engagement within your Facebook group

Here's just one example of a way that you could use a Facebook Watch Party... 

I'm sure you've had some of your clients complain that they're having difficulty with a particular exercise routine, right?

Record a video demonstration of the routine, complete with your best tips and tricks, and then you can just share this video as a Facebook Watch Party so that your clients get an interactive experience with you.

Why Should You Definitely Get Into Facebook Watch Parties?

Aside from the fact that Facebook Watch Parties are super cool and fun, they’re also a great way to interact with your clients, which is crucial for any personal trainers looking to build an online business.

As we already mentioned, Facebook groups can become quiet after the initial interaction and introduction. You clients might feel disconnected or demotivated by the lack of interaction, and the burden falls on YOU to re-engage them.

Watch Parties are a great way to re-energize your Facebook Group members and get them interacting with you again.  

Just like real-life watch parties, Facebook Watch Parties are fun way for your Group members to interact and feel part of a community.

Watch Parties also give your Facebook Group members a sense of community. If you can find one thing that most of your group members have in common, or a similar area of interest, you can tailor your Facebook Watch Party to suit their collective needs.

This should be easy to do if you've properly niched down your online fitness business.

This way, they’ll have the chance to learn alongside fellow clients, and talk to these other clients about their common goals. A sense of community is a great motivator; you might find this helping your clients to stick to their programs a lot more.

Watch Parties are also a great way of adding value to your client experience. Instead of just regular blog posts or videos, hosting a Watch Party allows you to supply your clients with interesting relevant content in a very hands-on manner.

How To Set Up Your Own Facebook Watch Party

So now that you know all about Facebook Watch Parties and why you should begin testing them out, it’s time to set up your own.

1. Create your content

The first thing you will need to do is create or choose the video that you’ll be featuring at your Watch Party. Facebook allows you to play any publicly available Facebook video, which gives you a couple of options:

If you’re starting from scratch, plan out and film your video based on the topic. Let’s say, for example, you’ve noticed a number of clients mention that they don’t have time to follow the diet plan included in your program. You want to teach your clients how to prepare healthy balanced meals in 30 minutes or less.

What's the best way to do this? Set up a 30 minute demonstration. You can do this in real time, or film a tutorial beforehand and edit it to fit your time slot.

If you're new to video creation, watch this tutorial that gives you a few tips on creating engaging Facebook videos. 

You also have the option to use a video you’ve already uploaded, one that you've watched, or any video that’s been uploaded to your Facebook Group. You even have the option of searching on Facebook for an appropriate video to use.

For your purposes as a trainer, using your own videos is your best bet. You can use your clients’ comments to create an experience that directly targets their needs.

2. Set up your party

Once your video is ready, upload it your Facebook page. Next you’ll need to set up your Watch Party post.

To do this, you first need to check that you have the option to set up a Watch Party. Open the “New Post” box in your Facebook group. This should give you a number of options, including “Watch Party”. 

In the description box, state exactly what your Watch Party will be about, and give a brief description of the video. Your group members should know right away whether or not they want to join the party.

Watch Party Button

You can set up your watch party from the "New Post" box in your Facebook group

Once you’ve finished the description, you’ll see the pop-up window change to announce your Watch Party. Click “Post”, and a black screen will appear saying “Your watch party is about to begin.”

Next you’ll need to choose your video source from the options:
Search, Pages, Watched, Group, Live, Saved, Suggested

Remember in our case, we would have uploaded our 30 minute tutorial video to the Facebook page. So we’d just need to click “Pages”, find the video on the page and select the “Play Now” button to get the show on the road! 

Facebook gives you a number of different options you can choose your video from.

3. Monitor your playback

As the administrator, you are responsible for controlling the video playback. You can fast-forward, skip, replay or add videos at any time during the viewing.You can also add multiple videos to your Queue for a longer Watch Party. Just remember, that everyone in the group will see what you see.

The panel to the right of your screen allows you to control and monitor your Watch Party playback. This is helpful when you want to stop to answer questions in the chat box

4. Get people to join in the party!

What good is a party if no one turns up??

Before you start the party, you’ll want to create a buzz by doing some promotion beforehand. Post the time and date in the Group, and otherwise on Facebook, to catch viewers and make sure they make time to tune in.

You can add members of your Facebook group directly to your party

Once your Watch Party has started, you can invite more group members to join in. At the bottom of your screen, you’ll notice a number of Avatar circles representing you and members of your group. You can hover over an avatar to see the name of the group member.

Click the circle the further left of your screen to open the “Invite Others” screen. Here you can select users to invite to your Watch Party by clicking the blue “Invite” button beside their names.

5. Be the life of the party

It’s important for you to interact with your group members during the Watch Party. Otherwise, it’ll be no different from simply posting your video on your page.

The panel on the right also allows you to chat with your clients in the comments

There’s a panel to the right of your video that gives you a number of options, and also includes a Comment Box. Use the comment box to chat with your viewers and invite them to ask questions and give feedback

Your clients will definitely appreciate the real-time interaction with their trainer and other clients who may have the same concerns.

6. Shut down the party

Don’t just abruptly leave your viewers when the video has ended. Give your group members a warning a few minutes before the end of the show and thank them for coming. Make sure you get any information you need from your viewers privately, because the conversation disappears after the party has ended.

Click the “End Party” button on the right side of your screen and you’ll see a black screen with a message “Your watch party has ended.” You can still view the list of attendees, but you won’t be able to see the comments.

One last thing...

How do you know if your 30-minute meal tutorial was a success?

After the party you can get feedback from your viewers about their opinions on the Watch Party and ideas they’d like to see in future videos. Your clients will feel invested in their training programme and are more likely to stick around.

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About the author

Dave Smith

Dave Smith was chosen as Canada's Top Fitness Professional for his innovative online fitness coaching found at Make Your Body Work. He now teaches other fitness professionals how to build their own profitable online businesses. Learn more at the Online Trainers Federation.