Social media is not just about posting interesting news anymore. Social media gives your nonprofit a chance to broadcast live video of yourself, any time you want. Services like Facebook and Instagram make this super-easy to do.
Even though it’s easy, you shouldn’t abuse it. Instead, you should think carefully about how and why you are going to go live on social media.
However, you should also know that lots of nonprofits, especially larger ones, have gone live, with good results.
How does going live benefit your nonprofit? Well, for one, it’s more or less a proven fact at this point that live videos are given preference by networks like Facebook. Your live video is more likely to turn up in your fans’ social media feeds, as these platforms crave promoting video, and especially live video. Your chances of engaging people with these videos is much higher than it would be with a “traditional” post.
That’s the “algorithmic” view. There’s also a human touch to going live that can’t be ignored.
For one, it promotes authenticity and transparency. It’s one thing to follow a nonprofit’s social media profile, but another to actually see and hear people involved with the nonprofit in real time. This immediacy is a premium experience for social media users, and it immediately humanizes and legitimizes your nonprofit even more among your social audience.
In the end, it all depends on what would be appropriate for your individual nonprofit, and what would be compelling and helpful to show when you go live. Don’t just turn the camera on without giving it some thought.
A good exercise is to think about all of the things you would like to communicate to your audience with live video, and then figure out how you would like to do it. Your live videos don’t have to be major motion-picture productions… a smartphone will suffice. People don’t (yet) expect high production values for all live video. But you can, perhaps, build a little set in the office with your logo in the background. Identify your “talent”… the people who will be going onscreen. Think of several ideas for live videos. Rehearse them. Even more importantly, schedule them. If you don’t, your staff will likely get distracted by the mountain of other work they have to do and nothing will ever go live.
Some ideas for live videos: You can broadcast your latest financial information, news announcements, updates on donation levels, go live at an event you’re running, or just give a look behind the scenes at the office and the people who work there. You can interview people you have helped, talk to policymakers, donors, or volunteers, or just tell interesting stories. You can even do something like a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” segment where you answer viewer questions in real time (yes, going live can be extremely interactive if you have an audience!).
Above all, consider what you can do that is original, at least to your audience. Put yourself in their shoes: What, as a donor or potential donor, would convince you to tune into your live video… and STAY there for the whole show? Look at the live videos other nonprofits are doing on their feeds; maybe they’ll help get the ideas flowing.
To sum up, going live can be a huge opportunity to bolster your nonprofit’s mission and bottom line. Definitely check it out!