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The Importance of Video on Social Media

Candid Facebook post with a video embedded in itAs the popularity of social media has risen over the last few years, marketing campaigns have seen a shift as well. Traditional print or media advertisements have made way for videos on social media, aimed toward consumers of content. And the shift makes sense: videos encourage engagement through click-throughs, shares, or donations for nonprofits. Many users find videos helpful when finding causes to support or places to volunteer. People are more likely to choose video over text, and 95 percent of viewers remember a video ad rather than a blog or text ad.

As a nonprofit, your goals aren’t necessarily the same as other businesses, which aim for conversions (or landing a sale). To get the most out of your social media strategy—which is incredibly useful in marketing a nonprofit—however, you can use video to connect with and understand your audience.

Video is a far-reaching medium

There are more than one billion users on YouTube, which makes up nearly one-third of total internet users. On top of that, more than 500 million hours of videos are watched on YouTube each day. That’s a staggering statistic from 2017. Video use isn’t just limited to YouTube, either. Over 80 percent of Twitter users watch video content, and more than 500 million people watch videos on Facebook every day.

And the United States doesn’t even have the highest percentage of internet users who consume video. In Saudi Arabia, 95 percent of internet users watch online video content on any device, followed by Turkey, China, New Zealand, and Mexico. (The United States had the 11th highest percentage as of January 2018.)

What does this tell us? The number of internet users who consume video content on social media worldwide is incredibly high, and online marketers are jumping at the chance to take advantage of it: 87 percent of online marketers use video content.

Video makes an impact on viewers

How can video use and consumption help your nonprofit? In other words, why does it matter? In general, video content causes users to take action.

Consumers tend to:

  • Take action after viewing an ad, such as navigating to a website or clicking a link.

  • Retain 95 percent of a message when viewed in a video, compared to 10 percent when read in text.

  • Spend 88 percent more time on a website with video.

  • Share social videos more often than text and images combined.

  • Make a purchase after watching branded social videos.

For nonprofits, the benefits of using video on social media are plain. Your audience is more likely to take action after viewing your video. After sharing your video to their own networks of friends and followers, they may navigate to your site from social media to support or donate to your cause. If your site has more videos that explain your nonprofit’s mission or share stories about your organization’s key members, users may spend even more time on your site. Finally, they’re more likely to retain your nonprofit’s message if they watched it in a video, compared to having read it in an ad or print form.

Use video to tell your story and build your brand

Out of all age groups, millennials watch the most online videos, and men spend 40 percent more time watching videos online than women. If that 25 to 34 age group is one of your key target audiences, using video on YouTube and other social media sites is a good way to reach them. Upload a video talking about your organization’s mission and how supporters can become involved. Share success stories with followers and viewers. Give your viewers a sense of the people behind your nonprofit; it puts a face to your brand and makes your brand more authentic and personable.

To add more excitement to videos, you can even take advantage of livestreaming on social media. Facebook Live, YouTube Live, and Instagram TV are great tools for livestreaming an event or interview. You can also use livestreaming to broadcast an exciting announcement, demo a product, or host an interactive Q&A session. There are several ways to be creative with video storytelling.

Although it helps if you create videos with great HD quality, compelling and engaging content is more important than technical perfection. Videos that capture your audience’s interest will make a bigger impact, hopefully enticing viewers to take action.

To create meaningful videos for your nonprofit, you should:

  • Tell a story. Luckily, as a nonprofit, you’ll probably have numerous success stories or stories from the field under your belt. Tell an authentic story, and your viewers will connect with and understand your organization.

  • Have a purpose and strategy. Avoid creating videos just for the sake of having videos on social media. Develop a strategy and expect to need to tweak it through trial and error.

  • Start videos with a bang, but keep them short. After the first 10 seconds of a video, people are highly likely to click away or scroll down. After 30 seconds, the stats drop even more. After one minute, nearly half of viewers have stopped watching. The total length of videos depends on what platform your audience is using. Facebook’s most popular videos are under 2 minutes, but YouTube videos can range from 4 to 10 minutes without significant differences in engagement. Again, trial and error will help you figure out what your viewers prefer in your videos.

Nonprofit video on social media

Incorporating video into your social media strategy will take marketing efforts for your nonprofit to the next level. There are millions of internet users worldwide who are active on social media and frequently consume video content. Create compelling, authentic videos about your nonprofit, and you’re sure to see positive results.

Latasha DoyleLatasha Doyle (@latashamdoyle) is a content writer who focuses on helping charities, as well as nonprofit software and services, find the right words. When she’s not writing, she can be found reading or playing with her six pets. She lives in Denver, Co., and can be found on the internet at

Topics: Live-Streaming Video Nonprofits and Social Media Nonprofit Videos