Next Level Social Media: Understanding Instagram Video

Last week’s instalment of our Next Level Social Media series explored the rapidly growing world of TikTok and the many ways nonprofits can leverage the reach and potential of this video-centric platform. Today, we are going to focus on another app which has been expanding its video offerings at impressive speed: Instagram. 


Instagram’s New Video Frontier

Many nonprofits have joined Instagram to promote their organization and its mission––and with great success. But Instagram and its new, video-based features are still largely unexplored by many of them. As Instagram itself estimates, by 2021, mobile video will account for 78% of total mobile data traffic, so video will become more important than ever to help nonprofits build community, engage their audience, raise funds, and gain visibility. 

In this section, we break down Instagram’s key video offerings and offer suggestions for how to leverage them to gain new followers and potential donors. 


  • Video: this feature is an expanded version of the now-retired ‘IGTV’. It allows you to create and share longer video content, now with full-screen option, that can be easily personalized and shared. This is also the section of Instagram where you can discover and watch content from creators that you’re interested in, giving you the ability to like, comment, and share their videos with your followers.

  • Stories (and Stories Highlights): Stories are a quick, easy way to share moments and experiences enhanced by text, music, stickers and GIFs. Each post is 15 seconds in length and can be published individually or as a multi-clip Story that appears in sequence on your profile. You can also add fun with effects like Boomerang and Superzoom, found directly in-app. Stories appear in a different part of your profile, and they can be saved into ‘video albums’ called Highlights. They are also interactive, allowing you to add polls, Q&A stickers, and more. If you missed it, make sure to check out our previous post in this series devoted entirely to Instagram Stories

  • Live: This feature is a live broadcast that allows you to connect with your followers in real time. Once a live broadcast has ended, you can share a replay of it or access it in your Live Archive. What’s more, you can schedule a live broadcast anywhere from 1 hour up to 90 days in advance to connect with your followers. Creators also have the option to share their upcoming live broadcasts with a new Stories sticker that allows people to sign up for reminders. If you missed it, make sure to check out our previous post in the series devoted entirely to live streaming

  • Live Rooms:  this feature gives you the ability to go live on Instagram with up to three other people to, as Instagram puts it, to “open up more creative opportunities — start a talk show, host a jam session or co-create with other artists, host more engaging Q&As or tutorials with your following, or just hang out with more of your friends.” Live Rooms also gives creators even more ways to earn money. Viewers can buy badges for the hosts and use other interactive features like Shopping and Live Fundraisers to support them.

  • Reels: this feature allows you to create, watch, and share short, entertaining videos up to 30 seconds. You can upload videos directly from you gallery or shoot them live, adding text, filters, and audio (which consits of songs from Instagram’s music library, original audio you record, and voiceover.) Through Remix, you can also record your own video next to someone else's, adding your perspective, collaborating with your community, and offering your take on a current issue.

  • Collabs: this feature allows users to co-author Instagram feed posts and Reels, an opportunity to reach even more audiences. As Later explains, “essentially, you can co-author content with a fellow Instagram user, and the post will show up on both of your profiles.”

And don’t forget that you can post videos on your feed as well! For standard posts, users can now enjoy editing features such as trimming, adding location tags, and more, in addition to being able to create 60-second previews for longer-form content.


Fundraising on Instagram

Instagram has also been working on new features that could open up possibilities for your organization to raise funds for its work. One example is its Shopping page. If your organization has a\ store or merch to sell, Instagram could now be another channel through which to reach potential customers.

What’s more, you can also leverage Instagram to raise money for your nonprofits directly through Instagram Live. As Instagram explains, “to use Live Donations, tap the camera in the top left of Feed or swipe right in Feed. Tap Live at the bottom of the screen, select Fundraiser and choose a nonprofit to support. Once you begin your Live broadcast, you can see how many people are supporting your fundraiser and the amount of money raised in real time”.

Its Search & Explore feature is also a great way to be discovered by users passionate about a specific topic or cause, which could in turn convert into more leads and potential donations!

And make sure to maximize the app’s many other options to be discovered and gain supporters! 

  • Sign up for a Business profile: You can use Instagram for Business to register your organization as a nonprofit. This way, any user coming across your profile will instantly know more about your mission. By adding your contact information, you’ll also have the chance to direct them to any active fundraising campaign or other drive through a simple link. And with Business, you can access valuable data such as like impressions, engagement, and reach on all of your posts and stories.

  • Place a 'Link in Bio': If you have blog content or are launching a new fundraising campaign, a ‘link in bio’ is a great way to centralize information that is posted on your feed. You can choose from many different options, most of which also allow you to track analytics.

Further Reading

10 Instagram Best Practices for Nonprofits (NP Tech for Good)

Monetization tools application (Facebook)

Instagram Video: Best Practices and Tools for Creating Engaging Content (Hootsuite

The Ultimate Guide to Instagram Reels (Later

How to Repost Instagram Feed Posts, Stories, IGTV, and Reels (Social Media Examiner)

6 Easy-to-Implement Instagram Video Ideas for Your Nonprofit (Hubspot)


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