Ephemeral content has become an important tool for improving nonprofit communications in 2020.
Exemplified by Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram Stories, ephemeral content includes photos and videos that are available for only a short time.
While most social media timeline posts exist forever, Stories are set to disappear in 24 hours. Even channels like Twitter and TikTok are now developing their versions of Stories.
Ephemeral content allows nonprofits to generate new content regularly, thus boosting awareness and engagement — and you can add top stories to your highlights section.
Of course, it is important to remember not to create too many stories within 24 hours — in fact, you don’t have to post every day, only about three times per week, as this Hootsuite study found.
With that in mind, let’s explain how nonprofits can leverage ephemeral content to increase their views and fundraise.
Authenticity has become a key factor in driving social media content — photoshopped visuals and decadent lifestyle imagery are now being forsaken even by celebrities.
Instagram marketing, including stories, is focused on putting real people in the limelight — staff members, volunteers, people you are helping—and making the content more personal.
Ephemeral content in Stories gives followers a sneak peek into life in an organization and puts a human face to a brand name.
Show people your office, a day in the life of your organization, behind the scenes work on fundraising events, or inject a bit of humor into your story.
This humanizing of the brand makes the nonprofit more appealing to audiences—they feel connected to the company, which encourages them to engage further and to donate.
Ephemeral content should primarily be used to entertain and educate followers
These posts don’t need to be polished—Instagram and Snapchat Stories are designed to capture a moment — making them excellent tools to fundraise on social media.
Not only can you stream live from anywhere — as long as you have WiFi or data — but Stories also offer augmented reality options that add an element of fun.
These filters and stickers give your nonprofit brand personality — and if you can create your own, you make more interactive opportunities for yourself.
You can hold Q&As with key members, volunteers, and thought leaders — use the Q&A sticker or insert a poll to create an interactive environment for followers, as the Innocent Project did.
Also, consider creating and using hashtags in your Instagram stories — though clicking on the hashtag may not always show your content, the potential reach is still huge.
To create such targeted content and AR filters, nonprofits can use several social media tools, many of which are free or offer reduced nonprofit plans.
Ephemeral content can’t just entertain — it needs to be actionable. Creating well-worded calls-to-action or CTAs is a necessary step when strategizing social media plans.
Within your ephemeral content, you can include a text CTA, encouraging viewers to visit your website, attend a live event, or to send a message, as in the example below.
On Instagram stories, if you have over 10K followers, you can include the option to swipe up to click on the CTA.
Not all nonprofits have so many followers — for smaller followings, you can include a prompt to click the link in your bio.
Most platforms now offer other CTA options like fundraising stickers and buttons, which makes it easier for followers to click through to donate to your nonprofit.
Let’s get this out of the way — advertising does require monetary investment, which a lot of nonprofits do not have.
But, advertising through ephemeral content like stories can get you views that you wouldn’t be able to reach organically.
First, you will need to create a Facebook advertising account to create campaigns on Facebook and Instagram.
Once you do, you can set the necessary metrics such as how many days you want the ad to run, on which platforms, and how much money you are planning to spend.
Facebook allows you to get granular with your target audience — you can choose as wide or narrow an audience as you want and it will show you the approximate reach.
It is best not to aim for too wide a reach for your ad — you will get the views you’re looking for but won’t be able to draw in qualified leads.
On the flip side, going too narrow could leave out whole swathes or targets. There’s a middle ground that you need to decide on for the best results.
Ephemeral content is a powerful tool for increasing reach, but you need to consider your nonprofit goals when creating these posts. Also, keep these points in mind:
Now you have the tools you need to use ephemeral content to spread awareness and fundraise.
Ronita Mohan is a content marketer at Venngage, the online infographic maker and design platform. Ronita regularly writes about nonprofit marketing, sales, and small businesses.