Instagram is a progressive social media platform that has grown exponentially in the last couple of years. The platform encourages the sharing of images and videos to tell a visual story. The fact that Instagram has gained hundreds of millions of users in recent years is proof of its potential.

Another growing online trend is live video. All major social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Snapchat have placed bets on live video as the next big trend. This is not without good reason, as live video can have a powerful psychological effect that can increase the number of targeted prospects and boost engagement.

Why Live Video?

Live video spurs curiosity and generates interest for your content in the following ways:

It is Raw

The popularity of reality TV demonstrates how people are always curious about what is happening behind the curtains. Anything can happen on live video. The content has not been edited and people can see what is happening in real time. There is a sense that it is not based on a rehearsed script, therefore it offers a more natural and honest presentation.


Watching a recorded football game does not compare to the experience of watching the game live. Live video has a similar effect in that it prompts users to watch the video to find out what is happening in real time. This makes it the perfect medium for launching new programs, making news announcements, sharing music events as they happen in real time, amongst others.


Difficult to Curate

Content curation has become commonplace on social media. As soon as you post an interesting piece of content, it can be lifted, edited and then shared on a competing channel. The nature of live video makes this impossible to do.


On live Instagram instant connection and instant feedback is possible between the content creator and those following the channel. This is beneficial for both the creator and the audience. The audience can ask questions about activities, events, and/or newly launched programs, and get instant feedback. The creators may use the medium to have more personal interactions with the audience.

Video Consumption is Growing Rapidly

The consumption of video has been growing exponentially in the last few years. This is particularly true among millennials as revealed in reports by content platforms like Animoto. Watching events unfolding in real time can create more suspense and generates views. Video content has yet to be fully utilized to generate interest for nonprofit causes and events.

How to Use Instagram Live to Promote Causes

Now that we’ve established that streaming video content can have a powerful psychological effect on your audience, we’ll now look at how you can enhance your live video content on Instagram to promote your causes and reap the greatest impact from your efforts.

Focus on Quality Storytelling

It is possible that as a nonprofit you are accustomed to sharing glossy images and recorded videos of your programs and activities. However, quality storytelling is just as important – if not more so – for live video. Streaming events in real life can generate a lot of interest if done right. You and your team should prepare in advance working on the different aspects of the content to make sure the narrative unfolds smoothly. Avoid interruptions and long pauses to avoid irritating your audience or making them lose interest in what you are sharing.

Develop a Strategy for Your Cause

Even though you may see the use of social media as raising awareness for worthy causes, you need to have a clear strategy so your message can have the intended impact on your target audience.

Start by mapping out who your audience is. Determine how you are going to share images and videos in a way that communicates your mission and goals. Taking time to map out your strategy that can be reflected in your story that encourages engagement and sharing of your content.

Once you’ve determined what your message should be, you can create a campaign using posts and hashtags. On Instagram, you can use up to 30 tags on your post. Your posts can generate a lot of traffic by integrating live video since they receive a lot of prominence on the newsfeeds on Facebook and Instagram. Avoid too many hashtags – not more than 10 – to avoid making your post look like spam.

Plan to Keep Up with the Momentum

You may have planned your content strategy, but have you taken the time to determine what you are going to do once the momentum picks up or slows down? Having a single popular post may not translate into attracting new users of the platform to follow your cause.

Besides having a basic strategy, you need to plan how your content will be shared going forward. You can maintain interest in your nonprofit’s programs by sharing progress and keeping your audience updated. Also, consider informing your audience what you intend to share in the near future to keep them interested.

Maximize the Use of Mobile to Fundraise

Fundraising using mobile-friendly tools remains underutilized by fundraisers on the internet. Mobile fundraising requires understanding your target audience and crafting the content in a way that will compel them to take action. Since Instagram is often accessed via mobile especially by millennials, it can generate a lot of engagement and support. You can make use of mobile fundraising in one of the following ways:

  • Text-to-Give: This involves sending a text to a previous or potential donor. These individuals can respond by submitting a donation.
  • Mobile Friendly Website: Once you capture the attention of your audience, you can send them to your website where they can get more information about your featured programs. Having a mobile-friendly website means that more people can take action without changing devices.
  • QR Codes: You can also use QR codes to send users from your post to a landing page where they can take some specified action.


Using live video on Instagram can generate a lot of interest if done properly. Invest the time to understand your audience and seek to clarify your message to maximize your impact.



Charles L. Watson is an online marketing writer and writes for:

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