ith more than 81%of desktop and mobile audiences watching live video content, it is imperative for nonprofits to incorporate pressing the “LIVE” button into their marketing plan to reach and engage audiences.
Between 2015 and 2016, the world experienced a massive explosion of live video. From the phone of a “Swiftie” screaming at the top of her lungs in second- row seats of a Taylor Swift concert, to the viewing of press conferences at the White House, individuals and brands alike emerged with a newfound freedom to connect in real-time at the tip of their fingers.
While household names like YouTube have silently held down the live streaming fort since 2011, platforms like Periscope, Facebook, and Instagram, are beginning to make their footprint in creating tools that feed into society’s insatiable appetite for instant gratification and feedback.
Where do nonprofits fall in this transformative way of sharing content? Often, behind. New technology, particularly in the area of social media, is frequently built with the interests of consumers and for-profit companies in mind.
An immediate marketing solution may not always be apparent when examining newer tools like live streaming, because there are a small number of organizations in the industry (outside of colleges and universities) who are top contenders in using live streaming and using it well.
Although these live stream contenders may be on top of their game, they often have to readjust and pivot to meet the changes that come with the territory.
Between 2016 and 2017, Facebook made more than ten changes to its platform, with two that directly affected live streaming. Live streaming is quickly becoming a necessary branch of content marketing, a strategy that 92% of nonprofit professionals employ to engage audiences, according to a recent joint study conducted by the Content Marketing Institute and Blackbaud.
In addition to the rapid growth of live streaming platforms, nonprofit organizations commonly run into the lack of talent and workforce to plan and manage live stream as a content marketing strategy. Mainly, with smaller organizations, marketing is all too often one of many hats that are worn by a designated member of an organization who may have some experience with marketing -- the ability to live stream well is often a toss-up.
While many nonprofits are on streaming platforms, they lack the skill or information to move forward to plan or execute regular live streaming success.
According to data from Cisco, a networking hardware company, by 2021 live streaming is projected to represent 13% of all internet traffic. Live streaming shows no signs of slowing down and is becoming a standard preference for individuals to enjoy their content. As of 2016, a growing 80% of internet users would rather watch live video from a brand than read a blog, and 82% prefer live video from a brand to social posts.
Live streaming provides raw, instantaneous, and real-time opportunities for individuals to interact with their favorite brands or causes.
In turn, this makes it hard for nonprofits to stay behind the curve, given the potential positive impact that live streaming can have on its awareness and fundraising goals.
While adding live streaming as yet another component of a nonprofit's marketing plan can be intimidating, here are a few ideas that can help organizations determine what they should consider before they go live:
Determine Which Live Platform Works Best for Your Organization
As live video becomes ubiquitous with most social media platforms, it is essential to consider which platforms are the best fit for your organization.
First, understand which social media site your audience typically engages on. This is a precursor for where you may want to spend most of your time and energy. While it may be tempting to hop on every platform, focus on the platform that your audience uses the most. Even if your organization is looking to grow on a platform, make sure your audience is there first before you invest time and resources in going live to an empty audience.
Find a Memorable Spokesperson
Is there someone in the organization who shines in front of the camera? Introducing a regular, familiar face can help build rapport with your target audience if you plan to go live on a regular basis.
A spokesperson does not always have to show up in the form of a CEO or top leadership; find employees who are brand advocates that can clearly articulate the mission and vision of the organization. Each time your spokesperson goes live, allow them to interact with the audience -- they have the critical job of building relationships with those who are watching.
Show Live Content That Adds Value
Hosting a workshop? Doing a live demonstration in the community? Take your audience into your world to show them the valuable work you are doing in the field.
Pre-existing Donors: They can see their donations are being put to good use. There's a difference between reading about the impact you made in an annual report and seeing it live. Seeing your work will reaffirm that the donor made the right choice by giving to your organization.
New Donors: People who may not have heard of your organization before or not seen your work in action, may be compelled to learn more about your organization and want to donate based on the content viewed.
The People You Serve: Giving a teaser of what your nonprofit does is transformational publicity to the audience you serve. A potential individual of the audience you desire to attract may not have known your services existed and your live stream can be the start of a positive relationship with your organization.
Repurpose Your Recordings
Determine how you can extend the lifespan of your content. While the "real-time" element may be over once, the stream is complete, use the replay video as an opportunity to build your content library, especially if you created a video that adds value to the viewer.
Consider housing your content on YouTube --with the right combination of keywords and tags, your videos can be a great way to build SEO when people look for causes or organizations similar to yours.
Determine Which Content is Best for Livestreaming
Each time your organization goes live, the content should be attached to a purpose and show the depth of what you have to offer.
There are a multitude of "event types" you can broadcast, which includes live interviews, Q&A sessions with leadership, fundraisers, behind-the-scenes view, a day-in-the-life of an employee or someone your nonprofit serves, commentary on current events, a "first look" at a new program or service, breaking news from your organization, partnering with local figures or celebrities to advocate your cause, and creating a live series that addresses common questions.
You are not limited to one of these ideas; in fact, it is encouraged to try multiple approaches to see what resonates best with your intended audience.
Create Success Metrics for Your Content
As you begin to create a plan for live content, consider building metrics to track your progress. You must first define what live streaming success looks like for your nonprofit organization before you can attain it. Consider these questions to guide the process:
1. What is our goal for live streaming? (brand= awareness, fundraising, etc.)
2. How often will we go live?
3. How far in advance will we promote= upcoming live videos?
4. What is the call-to-action that we will= incorporate into the stream?
5. What is the best time for our organization= to go live?
6. How many new followers did we acquire= after the stream?
7. Did audience members actively react and= comment on the video?
8. Who watched our live stream?
9. Which live content performed the best? (views, engagement, etc.)
10. Which performed the worst? (views,= engagement, etc.)
While live streaming may seem overwhelming, it is a powerful tool to connect with audiences. Allow 2018 to become the year that your organization uses live streaming as a vehicle to spread your mission to the right audiences online -- with a strategic plan of action that captures the heart of your message.
Whitney has been able to reach hundreds of women through multimedia content that focuses on helping them become the best versions of themselves through her blog Skinny Black Girls Code and her visual branding business Speakerazzi. Over the last three years, Whitney has achieved this goal by interviewing women with compelling stories and partnering with organizations to cover events dedicated to featuring influential women such as Black Tech Weekend, Brand Chicago, and local women’s empowerment events in her hometown, Columbus, Ohio.