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Facebook Live and YouTube for Nonprofits

People love video content. Why? It’s instant information, and it’s just easier to watch something than to read something.

John Haydon, nonprofit marketing expert says it best.  He says, “Unless you’ve been living under a rock with no Internet, you realize that the amount of video content on social media has skyrocketed over the past few years.”  

If you manage social media for a nonprofit, and you haven’t incorporated Facebook Live, Facebook native video (video directly uploaded to Facebook, not through a link), or created a YouTube channel, then read on-

First, let’s talk about YouTube. Where do we go when we need to learn how to do something? YouTube. Need to replace your kitchen sink? No problem, someone out there has made a YouTube video showing you how to do it step-by-step.  Therefore, if your nonprofit helps people struggling with addiction, why not make a YouTube video with one of your experts giving general information, ideas or resources, and upload it to your YouTube channel? According to YouTube, the platform has over a billion users–almost a third of all people on the Internet–and every day, people watch hundreds of millions of hours of YouTube videos and generate billions of views. Browse videos on YouTube related to your topic ideas and you will quickly see which videos get more views and which titles work best using the search bar “autocomplete” feature.

Next, let’s talk about Facebook. You know how hard it is to get your posts viewed. Well, guess what.  Facebook’s algorithm “likes” video content!  Whether you upload a video from your cell phone that you took another day, or you use the Facebook Live feature, your content is much more likely to get pushed out to your supporters’ timelines. I’ve tested this, and it does work. No paid boost required!

Here is an example of a local nonprofit using Facebook native video in a marvelous way. Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless uploads videos of staff ringing “the housing bell” at their offices each time someone is placed into housing and they are no longer homeless. Short, emotional, yet effective, these videos show their impact of housing people that were formerly homeless and drives this point home nicely. You can browse all of their videos by clicking here.

Facebook live intimidated me at first (like it does most people) but seriously, I’ve been really impressed by the impact of Facebook Live videos. Without having to pay to boost the video, the reach is really strong. It is even stronger if others are tagged in the video or if there are comments and high engagement. The neat part is that even if no one is watching “live” while you are live, the video lives on your Facebook page under “videos” and the number of views can just keep going up over time.  I’ve found videos on my own page somehow miraculously get more views long after the live session has ended.

Here is a short list of ideas for video or live content for nonprofits to consider:

  1. “Behind the Scenes” – staff celebrating a victory or working on a project, as in the example above.
  2. “Before the event” –  an announcement, “stay tuned, we will go live with our event soon!”
  3. “During the event” – interviews with honored guests or major donors talking about why they are there.
  4. “Out and About” – your impact in the community, shot out in the community.
  5. “Challenge video” – video of a supporter asking their friends to meet their challenge of a stunt or else they have to make a donation- better yet, do both! (A.K.A., the “ice bucket” challenge)

If you and your staff brainstorm, you will find endless creative ways to use video to drive traffic to your web site, encourage viewers to sign up for your e-mail list, and much more.

Here’s two articles I recommend for further reading – “Why Human Beings Love Video Content,” by John Haydon and Facebook Guru Mari Smith’s “Facebook Live – Top Tips and Predictions From Mari Smith.”

Finally, don’t forget the call to action – ask your supporters outright to “like” then “share” the video!

I’d love to hear from you about your experiences with video marketing for your nonprofit!