Online communities exist in an endless variety of form and shape and nonprofits are sitting up and paying attention: these communities offer new ways to engage lots of potential donors. Facebook and Twitter are huge, but some people fail to recognize that YouTube is also a social networking website. In fact, YouTube is a much bigger phenomenon than either Facebook or Twitter and is second in world web traffic only to the Google behemoth.
Video clips offer media we can see and hear and in addition to engaging these senses, YouTube also has comments sections for each video. Here users can communicate with each other just as they would on Facebook. Audiovisual media offers nonprofits a vehicle for their narratives: telling the stories of what they are and what they do. Employing YouTube is a splendid way to build a brand.
Here are three reasons you should be using YouTube for your nonprofit:
Easy on the brain: For many people, web content in the form of text requires too much time and attention. People just don’t want to expend so much effort. Video is more digestible than text for most people. It does the work for you. You sit back and relax, and the video tells you all you need to know with color, light, and sound. Popcorn is optional.
YouTube is free: While you may want to hire a videographer to craft something special on behalf of your nonprofit, YouTube itself is free. There is certainly the possibility of making something decent to roll on YouTube with very little effort and no out of pocket expenses, assuming you have a video camera (come to think of it, you could use your smartphone, if it comes to that!). As an example the car donation charity, Kars For Kids, used sock puppets and a bright red fabric backdrop to create a YouTube advertising campaign at very little cost. This effort was creative, inexpensive, and was all but certain to reach a wide audience.
Viral possibilities: It’s rare to hear of an article or a white paper going viral. But we hear of viral YouTube clips all the time. That’s a lot of people that can be reached by a single video clip that costs nothing to upload. If you craft something intriguing, your audience will do the rest of the work for you, no muss, no fuss, spreading your clip to all and sundry. Even if you get 2,000 views, you gotta figure you’re ahead.
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