Intro to Instagram IGTV For Nonprofits

Megan Donahue
Megan Donahue

If you or your nonprofit uses the photo-sharing social media platform Instagram, you may have noticed a new TV screen icon pop up on your screen where there wasn’t one before. It’s a new feature: IGTV.

IGTV is an app for viewing long-form, vertical video that launched on June 20, 2018. Previously, Instagram only allowed minute-long videos. Now, IGTV allows users to upload longer videos through the app, or watch other user’s videos on Instagram. The average IGTV user will be able to create videos up to ten minutes long, while bigger and verified accounts can create up to an hour.

Why Is IGTV A Big Deal?

So we can watch longer videos on Instagram now. Why is that such a big deal?

  1. Trends In Mobile Video Consumption
    People are watching more video on their phones–over half of video content is viewed on mobile. In light of this, IGTV is designed to be viewed on phones, with a vertical interface. This is different than how mobile viewing apps have worked before.
  2. Instagram’s Growth
    Along with IGTV, Instagram announced it has reached 1 billion users. This makes it the third largest social media platform, after Facebook and YouTube. That’s quite an audience.

Creators can distribute long-form content to their followers, in an app the audience is already using. No, “click here to see our video on our website or Youtube” needed. It’s instantly viewable. The videos start playing automatically in the IGTV app, just like turning on a television.

What’s The Big Deal For Nonprofits?

Your nonprofit is on Instagram (if you’re not, why not?!?). And, now IGTV offers nonprofits a new venue for sharing their stories in a social way. It provides a potential audience for your message and a platform for distributing it.

Video Storytelling

Storytelling fuels fundraising and opens hearts, and video is a powerful storytelling medium. It allows you to take your audience into new worlds, show them behind-the-scenes, and introduce them to people and issues.

At CauseVox, we’ve seen the difference video can make for nonprofits. When we looked at the top-performing CauseVox campaigns, we weren’t surprised that the majority of them used video to tell their story.

Check out this video from Story Pirates, a nonprofit that encourages writing skills by turning kids’ stories into shows.

It would be impossible to bring every supporter along to a Story Pirates show, but with a video we can get up close and see their crew in action, go to school with them, hear their songs, and watch kids respond to their programs. We know who they are, what they’re about, and why it matters.

Make Video Social

What makes video really effective for nonprofits is that it’s so shareable. With just a click or two, someone who loves your cause can share it with their social networks, or send it to a specific friend. “Hey, watch this!” is an easier ask than, “Please read this.” It’s quick and simple.

IGTV takes the social aspect a step further by bringing the content directly to the people who follow you, instead of requiring them to seek it out. They can open the app, and start watching your videos.

Social video is an opportunity for your audience to engage with your content, and for you to engage with your audience. They can comment, like, or share your video via direct message. This turns watching your content into an interaction instead of a transaction.

How Should I Use It?

Since IGTV content is created by Instagram users, there isn’t one set way to use the technology. Still, some good ideas are quickly emerging.

Clean water champion charity: water has posted a series of videos on IGTV in which they take viewers on a journey to Ethiopia to see their programs in action.

charity:water IGTV posts

What Works About This?

  • Engaging // These videos take the viewer on a literal journey. We get to learn about Ethiopia, meet some people, see a coffee ceremony, and more. charity: water donors get to see what their money helps accomplish. While you may not take your viewers to Africa, you can give them a direct look at what your organization does.
  • Episodic // Just like TV, charity: water is creating episodes of content that they release every few days. That means they can build excitement, reach the same audience multiple times, and stay fresh. Consider releasing your videos in a series or on a schedule.
  • Short // These videos aren’t long, but they pack a lot in. Just because you have ten minutes doesn’t mean you have to use them. You can be entertaining, educational, and effective for shorter periods of time.
  • Repurposing Content // These videos already existed, but they’re finding a whole new audience on Instagram. If you already have video content, look for ways to use it on IGTV.
Audience response to charity:water IGTV
They really love it.

Is It Worth It?

Everytime something new comes out, there’s pressure for nonprofits to jump onboard. With limited time and resources, adding another thing to your social media to-do list isn’t always appealing. IGTV is worth considering, though.

Since IGTV is new, there isn’t data yet on how people engage with it. However, considering the upward trend of video and Instagram, it seems like a reasonable technique to experiment with.

If IGTV seems overwhelming, remember, you don’t have to create an entire TV show! You can dip your toes in before you commit to an entire social video strategy.

To start small:

  • Consider the videos you already have
  • Use your phone to capture snippets of programs, events, and general happenings at your nonprofit.
  • Interview someone
  • Create a video tour of a project site

What Do You Think?

Are you going to give IGTV a try? Wait and see how people use it? Are you using it already? We’d love to know.

For More, Check Out:

Is Instagram Right For Your Nonprofit?

6 Nonprofits On Instagram Who Are Getting It Right

[Webinar] How To Set Your Nonprofit Up For Social Media Fundraising Success

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