A Picture (or 6 second video) is Worth a Thousand Words: A Practical Guide to Vine and Instagram Video for Nonprofits

George Castanza Cool StoryBy: Megan McMillan

You’ve heard it time and time again, “tell your story.” It’s become the mantra for nonprofit promotion and as such, it’s becoming harder and harder to stand out amongst the many deserving causes looking for support. So take a cue from the communications professionals and go one step further – show your story with Vine and Instagram – two easy to use (and free!) social media networks.

Why Should You Consider Instagram or Vine for Your Social Media Mix?

Mitigate Risk – Because you can only upload to these apps using a smartphone you don’t need to invest in expensive equipment or hire a videographer. As long as someone in your office can keep their hand relatively steady for anywhere between 6 seconds (for Vine) and 15 seconds (for Instragram), you’re good to go.

Time is on your side (for once) – Because of the 6 and 15 second time constraints you’ll be challenged to think outside the box. More importantly, even if you’re not a professional marketer, these limitations will actually focus your efforts on bringing the most important message to the forefront (something even seasoned experts struggle with from time to time). Last but not least, in today’s fast-food world, this is just the right length of time to pique someone’s interest before their attention wanders to the next bit of stimuli.

Get mini-serious – If you’re truly struggling with the time limitations, consider a mini-series (see what I did there?). Not only will this allow you to diversify or expand on your message, it also encourages repeat visitation to your page.

The Stats – For a complete list see Digiday’s 15 Stats You Need to Know About Vine and Instagram Video. For the highlights, keep reading:

  • Instagram has roughly 130 million users and Vine has over 13 million
  • Two-thirds of the world’s mobile data traffic will be video by 2017
  • Instagram videos receive two times more engagement than Instagram photos
  • Five tweets per second contain a Vine link
  • A branded Vine video is four-times more likely to be seen than a regular branded video

How Should You Be Using These Platforms? Here are Some Suggestions to Get You Started:

  • Create a “Thank You” message to share with your donors.
  • Share the results of a recent campaign or initiative (or better yet, use video as the modern day “fundraising thermometer” and post each week/month about how you’re progressing with your capital campaign.
  • Promote events/blog posts/contests/wishlists/merchandise etc. and link to your website.
  • Film a brief message from one of your supporters.
  • Get a celebrity endorsement (not easy I know, but a 6-15 second commitment is easier to grant than a day-long video shoot). And don’t forget your local celebrities – you never know who might resonate with a prospective or current donor.
  • Do a video tour of your facility/build site/event/etc…
  • Film your good work in action (for example a video of an adopted pet meeting their new owners for the first time).

For even more inspiration, check out Beth Kanter’s roundup of 7 Fabulous Nonprofit Videos on Vine and Instagram.

I was recently involved in my first promotional video for iWave (warning, it’s longer than 15 seconds) which may have inspired me to consider Vine or Instagram for our social media mix. Do you have a favorite nonprofit Vine or Instagram video? If so, post them to the comments below.

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