Standing Out on Facebook with Video: 5 Tips from ShelterBox USA

Emily Salshutz


This week we had the pleasure of speaking with Sarah Robinson, Director of Fundraising & Strategic Partnerships at ShelterBox USA, a disaster relief charity, on the fifth episode of Video Talk Live — a monthly Facebook Live series with Animoto’s Chief Video Officer, Jason Hsiao. ShelterBox USA strives for a world where no family is left without shelter.

Using Animoto videos, Sarah has driven donations and awareness for ShelterBox USA, and we’re excited to pass her tips along to you. Watch Jason’s full interview with Sarah below, and read on for 5 helpful tips that Sarah shared during the interview. These tips are great for non-profits, or for anyone looking to stand out on Facebook with video.

Tip 1: Share the freshest content possible

ShelterBox USA has teams on the ground all over the world, who are helping families displaced by natural disasters and conflicts. This informs the type of content that these teams are able to collect. “Oftentimes in a disaster power will go down, there’s not great communications, we may lose cell service, and so sometimes we’re getting these stories and videos whenever people can connect to a wifi connection,” said Sarah.

Editing videos in Animoto makes it easy for Sarah to “professionalize” the raw content the organization’s teams gather from on the ground and rapidly turn around stories in as close to real time as possible. Keeping the content current helps to encourage donations as the stories are actively developing in people’s newsfeeds.

Tip 2: You’ve probably got everything needed to get started

Sarah already knows the messages and photos that resonate with donors, so that’s where she started when first making videos. ShelterBox USA has a photo bank where they can pull images from to use in their videos so she could get started without having to pick up a camera to shoot anything new.

Tip 3: Still stuck? Look to others for inspiration

“As people are scrolling through their newsfeed they tend to go quickly, and so if you don’t have something that grabs people’s attention within the first three seconds of the video you run the risk of losing them,” says Sarah. To combat this, take some time to look at what other organizations are doing well. Then, learn how to adapt their video concepts to suit your needs.

Sarah suggests joining video communities, like the Animoto Social Video Marketing Community on Facebook, to see what others are doing. And don’t forget to get feedback from friends, who may even be the people you meet in communities on social media.

Tip 4: Use Facebook’s targeting tools

Targeting on Facebook is critical to reaching the right person with the right message at the right time. It’s also cost and time efficient. “Just taking a small amount of dollars and, instead of investing in a print ad or a more expensive form of advertisement, we can really target our reach and be able to get our message to supporters in a low cost and efficient way,” Sarah shared.

As for specific targets, Sarah has tried a few strategies. When a disaster occurs in a specific location, she’ll set the target by location to reach local Facebook users. If ShelterBox USA is looking for more volunteers, she sets the target to Facebook users interested in volunteering. If she’s running a college program initiative, she might only run the ad to Facebook users between the ages of 18 and 24. All of these targets have helped Sarah get specific ShelterBox USA messages to the right type of person on Facebook. Learn more about targeted ads on our blog.

Tip 5: Use text to stand out in the news feed

Sarah shared that, “85% of people don’t listen to sound [in Facebook videos],” so text is important for making ShelterBox USA’s videos stand out. You’ll notice that most of Sarah’s videos will feature text prominently, explaining the problem that ShelterBox USA is looking to solve, and encouraging viewers to help with the solution they’re providing.

A great example is the donor appreciation video that ShelterBox USA made to recap 2016. That video garnered over 8,000 video views and nearly 200 shares on Facebook alone, and inspired Sarah to keep making videos for ShelterBox USA. Click here to find out more about how ShelterBox USA is using video to drive donations and more.

Are you using video for your non-profit or business? Do you have any tips to add to Sarah’s list? We’d love to hear your story — and tips —  in the comments below.