Should nonprofits use Facebook Live video?

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Should nonprofits use Facebook Live video

Social media video live streaming is the new engagement trend. Since it appeared in social media with Periscope, it has been in the front of the recent improvements in the major players of this sector. You can’t ignore the fact that live videos have 10 times more comments than standard videos, if you want people to connect and engage with your cause or project.

Even though some of these live streaming options are still in their early stages of development, catching this trend now, will give you not only the boost of being new, but will also give you the knowledge on how to make the most out of it in the following years.

Facebook Live

I’m focusing this article on Facebook Live, but be aware that there are also other social media platforms with a lot of success using live video. Snapchat, for example, is known to be very effective in creating the social necessity to create, share and view live videos compulsively, among younger people. Facebook, on the other hand, seems to be transforming itself more into a TV network, where live video has a different social role and focus more in useful content to the final user.

Although this new trend has a lot of potential to engage viewers in a really interactive and sticky way, you have to admit that live video streaming, in Facebook, tends to be boring. Due to the democratization of content production, everyone feels they can be a content creator in any medium and platform, but that’s just a fallacy. While live video is new in Facebook, it will have success. But as soon as it gets known by users and used by everyone, it has high probability to lose interest.


So, should nonprofits use Facebook Live video?

It depends…

First of all, you need to know to whom you are communicating and why you are communicating this way. Again, this goes back to the Communication Strategy and Marketing Plan your nonprofit should have. There you can find the main stakeholders, the messages you want to get through to each one of them and how you should do it in a general sense.

You can’t just use Facebook Live because it’s fun and everyone is using it. You have to understand if it fits your goals and target audience and how it should be done.


What can you do?

Only having all that into account you can decide what type of Live Video you want to make. Here are some examples:

  • Live Events: Facebook Live is a great way to broadcast events to your supporters that are unable to attend. Having staff or volunteers showing the viewers the event, responding to comments, showing the backstage preparations and talking with honorees and guests is a great type of content that might fit your intentions and goals.
  • Questions and Answers: it’s a great way to connect supporters to other stakeholders, like volunteers, directors, celebrity ambassadors and so on. Having some presentation and questions in hand, this could be a great way to show how who you are and what you are making. Plus, you could have real-time feedback, in the comment area of Facebook Live, allowing the supporters to ask questions or post commentary. A good tip would be to make a Facebook Live series, like “Meeting the staff”, that could help to create bonds and trust in your nonprofit, and make the supporters more likely to engage and meet you in the real world.
  • Field Visits: the possibility to allow your supporters and donors to be able to interact with the beneficiaries or to see the nonprofit in action, if done right, it can help a lot to build trust and to promote action.
  • How-to Videos: Facebook Live could also be a great alternative for videos that explain how to do something – how to recycle, for example. Specially due to the live feedback that allow you to answer live any more questions that the viewers might have.
  • Crowdsourcing: Again, this can be a good option when you want a quick feedback about a new project or initiative, for example. A good tip here would be to apply it before a Crowdfunding – it is a good way to iterate and see if the project resonates with your supporters and it can also be a good pre-promotion for the crowdfunding. Plus, if you actually listen to the viewers and have into account their suggestions, it will give them the sense of ownership of the project, and therefore make them more likely to engage with it.

As you see, there are endless possibilities and good uses for Facebook Live, as long as they fit your Communication Strategy and as long they are done right – remember, it can become really boring! In future posts I’ll give you some practical tips on how you can make the most out of live videos.


Meanwhile, I’m interested in those how already work(ed) for a nonprofit. Have you already done any Live Streaming? How was it? Where you able to measure the real impact of that effort? Do you feel you had enough knowledge or resources to do it? Fell free to comment bellow!  🙂

Checklist to help you decide whether to make a live video or not

  • Who are you targeting? What’s your particular audience? Why do you think they will hear and engage with you there?
  • What is your message and why do you think it fits live video?
  • What is your final goal? What do you want people to do?
  • Is it long enough to be in a Live Video? 10 minutes or more?
  •  How can you guarantee it wont get boring? How will you create a dynamic video?
  • Do you have the material resources? A good camera or smartphone with a good camera, maybe a microphone to connect to the smartphone?
  • Do you have the human resources? A volunteer or employee to film and another one to respond to comments in a laptop nearby?

I want to highlight the final goal here, because Live Video can be tricky to nonprofits. It can give the feeling to the viewer that what they are experience is more real, that they are there fighting or participating in the real world – but they are not! As an nonprofit you want them to go one step further and actually act and do something regarding your cause. So, here it is really important to have a specific goal and a call to action during the live video and also in the communications before and after the video.

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