There aren’t a million ways to tell a story. But there are quite a few, and at See3 our experts are spearheading three initiatives that use video in innovative and strategic ways to engage audiences and get results for our clients. These projects represent deliberate investments by organizations in solutions that strongly position their ideas in the digital marketplace and move their audiences to action.
As Buzzsumo recently reported, “The one format that is driving significantly higher shares on Facebook is videos.” As Facebook moves to update its algorithm to more prominently feature content from friends rather than third-party sources on news feeds, video is even more important. All three of these video initiatives from See3 have integrated social media strategies designed for clients to expand and engage with key audiences.
1. Intense and intentional: How foundations can use video to build movements
A few weeks ago we wrapped filming on our latest round of ELI Talks, a series of video monologues designed to inspire Jewish people to become more involved in Jewish life. Funded by the Avi Chai Foundation in New York, ELI Talks has examined, from a Jewish perspective, issues such as organ donation, interfaith relationships, and innovation.
Think of ELI as TED’s younger, Jewish cousin. While TEDTalks has grown in popularity to become the idea juggernaut that it is today, we at See3 are discovering TED, when focused on specific issues and community, can serve as a model for capturing ideas and engaging influencers.
So what are the keys to ELI’s success? First and foremost, good ideas. ELI crowdsources ideas from its primary audience, mainly younger Jews looking to engage with their faith. Quality of presentation is also important. ELI speakers go through a three-month fellowship program designed to hone their ideas and the to ensure they’re comfortable at production time to express their ideas effectively and dynamically. Finally, we reach out online to ELI’s audience and engage on social media to further the dialogue.
If your organization is in search of new, innovative ways to engage with your key audiences, particularly in a way that builds momentum for your issues, then you should think hard about investing in a talks-style video strategy. ELI Talks reflects See3’s experience creating compelling content, using that content for targeted or broad outreach and engagement, and ensuring strategies are aligned with programmatic goals.
2. In the moment: Multi-platform documentary content for impact
Our nonprofit film production partner, Kindling Group, had four mediamakers on the road capturing the experiences of post-9/11 military veterans and their challenges integrating back into civilian life. See3 is working closely with Kindling Group on the digital strategy and implementation of the media being developed from this project, called Veterans Coming Home.
The project is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting with 10 PBS station partners, and tells stories, challenges stereotypes, and explores how the values of service connect veterans to civilians. The project is designed to help bridge the gap between civilians and veterans. It is a rare investment by the Corporation in digital-only content, and we see it as a Platform Agnostic Campaign, meaning the content is produced and the platform for distribution is selected based on the consumption preferences of the audience.
Short documentary films are released as they are completed. Some are funny, some are upsetting, but they are all thought-provoking. See3’s social media strategy had us building the online community while the project was still in production, building a national conversation and a movement of understanding between veterans and their civilian peers.
While ELI Talks represents a planned, deliberate approach to sharing ideas, Veterans Coming Home is designed to capture experiences in real time with the intent of helping the audience connect with the veterans captured on film.
The Veterans Coming Home project is a more spontaneous, journalistic approach to producing video content and an effective way to build a movement of support for a specific issue. Hitting the road and capturing faces and voices and experiences of people where they live can move hearts and minds to take action.
Organizations that need to communicate about urgent issues that directly affect the lives of individuals and families should strongly consider an online video strategy that allows those impacted to tell their stories. Whether the issue is veterans, health, civic engagement, immigration, or any other issue, an aggressive social media outreach strategy that uses content to engage with a larger audience can serve as a foundation for creating a social movement.
3. In-depth focus: Full-length documentary engagement
Elements of these two strategies are at work for a third major initiative. No Small Matter is a full-length documentary and engagement campaign that challenges preconceived notions of “how kids work” and highlights the importance of early learning opportunities for younger children.
As the documentary is in production – it is being produced by the Kindling Group and Siskel Jacobs Productions and is due to be released in 2017 – the website and a video blog have been developed to generate support for the film and to energize educators and parents to become advocates for early childhood education and the film.
While the traditional approach is to make the film and then use social media to market it, we are building a community right from the start.
No Small Matter is funded by a coalition of private foundations that are committed to raising awareness about the importance of early learning and increasing opportunities for children. It reflects one way that foundations can collaborate on an effective communications strategy that uses well-crafted video in the short- and long-term to achieve a collective programmatic goal.
While feature-length documentary films require significant resources to produce, they can capture the complexities of many issues in which nonprofits are engaged, and provide an authentic human perspective on issues of impact. The social component is all about movement-building, and is valuable on its own, in addition to building energy for a film throughout its production and cultivating an audience for the film’s release.
Documentary films are a highly strategic way for foundations to collaborate on shared interests and build a credible case for their perspectives.
In addition to demonstrating how video offers a wide range of opportunities for organizations to create outreach and engagement efforts aligned with their missions, these three projects also highlight the three areas of See3’s digital expertise – strategy, web development, and video.
Video is an incredibly powerful tool to capture the stories that can change the way audiences think and act, even more so when it’s part of a deliberate and well-thought-out communications strategy. If your organization needs a fresh and effective way to engage its constituents through strategic video and web development, contact us today. We’d love to hear from you.
Note: A white paper that provides a more in-depth view of these video strategies will be available in mid-summer.