When it comes to communicating online, you can’t leave things to chance. This section of the toolkit will help youconsi demystify social media, choose the best platforms for you, and guide you through the video-making process from idea to upload.
Don’t know where to start?
Take our Social Media Self-Assessment Quiz to determine where to put your focus.
Goals: Think of your social media as a means to achieve your goals. Your online platforms are meant to drive your audience to do something, whether that’s buying a product, attending an event, or streaming content. Your goals should be present across your platforms, and should all lead back to your hub.
Your Hub: Look at all your different platforms (website, social media, newsletters, etc.) and decide which is your main platform – this is your hub. Your hub is where you direct your audience and have your action items. For example, if your website is your main hub, you want your social media to direct people there. This can look like reposting content from your website to social media using plugins such as Revive Old Posts, or directing traffic to your site with links.
Focus: If you have several accounts on different platforms but don’t have the time to manage them all, focus your energy on the platform with the highest engagement (likes, follows, etc.). You may choose to keep up the content you already have on your less popular platforms, letting your followers know that those pages will be defunct and redirecting them to your main platform. If people are still interacting with the defunct accounts, think about deleting them so as not to take away traffic from your hub.
Be Consistent: Use your logo as the header or icon on all platforms and use your mission statement as the description. Be consistent with your voice, imagery and also schedule.
Content Creation: Looking for content ideas? Start with researching special days that can drive awareness and engagement. For example, if you’re an arts organization focusing on writers, you can prepare a post for National Poetry Day. Charity Village has compiled a list of regional, national, and international awareness days that’s a great place to start.
Keep Your Friends Close: If you’re looking for engagement on Instagram, create a ‘close friends’ list of the target audience for your stories. This will help you share specific offerings to different groups at different times. People are often more inclined to look at your stories if they are on a close friends list!
Pick Your Platforms: There seems to be a new social media platform popping up every year, which can make it difficult to decide what will work best for you and your audience. Here’s a brief list of the most popular social media platforms today and who they generally cater to. Remember to keep in mind your organization’s mission, audience and social media strategy as you read through.
- Instagram. This photo-sharing app has over 1 billion users and is a great place to sell products or promote events. If you primarily serve younger people or are in the visual arts, Instagram might be the place to grow your audience.Make sure to interact with other similar accounts and your followers, and include clear and relevant captions for all of your posts.
- Twitter is focused on sharing short content and linking to articles. Twitter is known for having many different sub-communities, making it the perfect place to find an audience if you have a niche focus. If your audience is mostly focused on writing and connecting with others, then Twitter might be the place for you. Again, consistency and engagement is crucial to build a Twitter audience.
- Facebook is one of the oldest and most widely used platforms, focusing on photo sharing, longer form content and videos. Facebook is a sort of catchall, where you can find an audience for almost every demographic. Facebook is a great way to promote and keep track of attendees for events, as well as creating private groups.
- Pinterest is best used for those focused on creating physical or visual art, including ideas and tutorials for crafts, fashion, painting, jewellery, and more. Pinterest allows you to share images with short captions, so can be used to promote goods for sale and to build your brand. It’s also a great spot to collect interesting internet finds, and to share these items with collaborators. In some ways it functions like a search engine which is pretty unique in terms of social media.
- TikTok is an app to share short videos, and is extremely popular with young people and is growing in popularity with other demographics. TikTok is extremely choosy in it’s algorithm and which videos get shared with whom. We recommend trying out TikTok only if you are focused on video-based content or if you have extra capacity to spare.
- YouTube is well-known for launching many online careers and is a great place to share videos or tutorials. Check out their Creator Studio which has a built-in video editor, music library and monetization tools. You can also use YouTube as a place to store your video content.
- Twitch is a streaming platform used by artists and gamers to livestream their work for several hours at a time.
- Discord is an instant messaging and digital distribution platform designed for creating communities and is popular with gamers. It can work hand-in-hand with Twitch to build a dedicated audience of fans that can receive perks through closed Discord chats which you create.
Outreach: Piggyback on other networks to build your own. Share opportunities on community boards such as Art Reach and Work In Culture. Reach out to other organizations to be featured in their newsletters and offer to reciprocate. Consider how outreach can be used to promote equity. Which communities are you currently not reaching and how can you involve them? Diversity goes beyond ethnicity to include age, gender, sexuality, ability, language and more.
Partnerships: Build your following through partnerships such as social media takeovers. This is when you give another organization or individual access to your social media for a day (or vice versa), linking your two audiences and boosting engagement. Be strategic about timing to maximize effectiveness, such as on the day of an event or a special occasion.
Analytics: Analytics are an effective way to track your online impact and assess areas for improvement. Click on the links below to find out where to begin your journey into analytics. We recommend diving in only after your social media strategy is in place, and only if you have the capacity to take it on.
- Beginner’s Guide to Google Analytics
- Major Social Media Analytics and Where to Find Them (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest)
SEO: Search Engine Optimization is the process of improving the quality and quantity of traffic to a website from search engines like Google. When your audience is browsing the internet, they want to achieve one of four things: do something, know something, buy something, or go to something, often searching in 70-second bursts called “micro-moments.” Use these micro-moments to draw people into your site by considering your audience’s intent and compiling a list of keywords they might use when searching. Use the list of keywords to see if the copy on your site and social media is well-aligned. Update your content and keywords often, as search engines use algorithms that prioritize freshness. You want people to stay on your site rather than bouncing off immediately, so try to make sure that the information they are likely looking for is easy to find.
Check out this Beginners Guide to SEO to learn more about SEO and how to set it up on your website. Keep in mind that SEOs can take a lot of time and know-how, so think about playing the long game.
How To Make A Video
In your daily operations or program offerings, you may find yourself needing to make a short video. This is an art form of its own. If you can, consider hiring an experienced director and editor. Consider including these funds as a line item on your grant applications so you have funds to allot. Your video could be instructional, promotional, artistic, expressive, educational or for documentation. A two minute video can be much more effective than pages of text.
Budget: How much money do you have to invest in your project? If your funds are limited you may want to put them towards:
- A videographer to capture sound and video, allowing you to focus on the messaging and vision.
- A video editor to bring a critical eye and experience in putting together a slick final project.
- A little extra equipment like a small lighting kit, a portable microphone to plug into your tablet, a gimbal or tripod to stabilize your smartphone or a green screen background (you can also buy Chroma Key paint for your wall! Hyperlink photo of greenscreen behind desk in Communications folder)
The video-making process comes with challenges and joys. This step-by-step guide outlines each stage of the creative process and how to use tools that are free and accessible on most smartphones. Don’t do it alone unless you have to! Whenever possible, share your vision and each draft with your community or co-workers for feedback.
Brainstorming: Write down your hopes and intentions for this video. Let all of your ideas out before you dismiss them. You never know what is possible. Things to consider: What’s the message/goal/intention? Think about locations, wardrobe, music, narration, lighting, effects, what team do you have or need? Remember that film-making is a collaborative art form for a reason – don’t try to do it all yourself. Do you have a data storage system? What’s your deadline? Consider using online facilitation and design tools to collaborate with others.
Storyboarding: Once you’ve distilled your ideas down to an achievable list, create a storyline or arc of the video. This is a linear map that details each stage to guide you through the process: beginning, middle and end. It could also include specific angles and visual compositions you wish to see. There are plenty of storyboard templates online.
Shot List: Use your storyboard to create the list of shots required to bring your project to life. Note the details that are important for each shot, such as location, audio, wardrobe, lighting, framing, angles, props, etc. Make sure that if you are doing an interview-style video that you plan lots of B-Roll footage that you can use for cutaways in the editing process.
Script: If you’re going to capture audio and video at the same time you’ll need to write your script, or outline for improvisation, in advance. If you’re just doing voiceover, your audio can be part of post-production, recorded after your video shoot has concluded. Your video will be more engaging if you have memorized your script and can look into the camera as you speak. If you have to read, be sure to place the script in a place where you can see it while having your eyes looking towards the camera. You can also get free teleprompters online.
Audio: If you’re capturing audio and video at the same time on the same device, make sure to test the sound to ensure that the quality will be good enough for your final video (more info on How to Do a Voiceover below). If you’re recording audio and video at the same time but on separate devices, remember to capture your audio at a sample rate of 48 khz and to “clap” on camera before you begin your take. This allows you to accurately line up audio and video during the editing process. Good audio can be recorded in a quiet location with a tool as simple as the Voice Memo app on your phone.
Location Scouting: Research the locations where you’ll be shooting. Consider the weather, permissions needed, background noise, what lighting is in place, what other things you’ll need to make the space work. If possible, do a site visit ahead of time at roughly the same time of day you’ll be shooting. There are online resources to help you find locations to rent.
There are many online tutorials about videography, types of camera shots and ways to be creative with composition and easy DIY effects. We’ve included some tips and resources that will help you get started and hopefully allow you to prepare for the best shooting experience.
Camera Set-Up: Spend time getting your camera set up and oriented. Tripods may not be at your disposal, so consider how your camera is going to stand in a way that captures you at the angle you’re hoping for; check out these great DIY Tripod Hacks, especially if you’re working alone. It’s unlikely that your front-facing (selfie) camera will be powerful enough or have a high enough resolution to capture your features the same as the rear-facing camera; this means you may not be able to look at yourself while recording, so it may take some trial and error to make sure you’re properly framed. Having someone help you can make things much easier. Remember you can also film interviews over the internet using platforms like Zoom or Instagram Live.
Camera Orientation: When recording video on a phone, make sure to hold or secure your phone in a horizontal orientation (landscape). This orientation will work most effectively across most streaming platforms and ensure you don’t have a narrow image with black bars on either side. Note: If you are making video for instagram (stories or reels), Tiktok, or Patreon Lens they will want you to record vertically or your video will get distorted.
Testing: Consider doing some short tests. If you’re speaking into the camera you may need to finesse the camera placement so that it’s capturing what you want: framing, lighting, angle, etc. Also ensure that the microphone is at an appropriate distance to capture your voice. You may wish to delete these tests as you go to keep your storage space maximized, and you’ll have less footage to sift through during editing. (Tip: Don’t just delete, delete your trash as well or it will still be taking up space). Alternate takes are great, but remember that it takes time to revisit all of that footage, so be decisive in the moment!
Storage: Video files are typically quite large. Ensure that you have storage set up (cloud, Google Drive, laptop, external hard drive) as you may fill up your smartphone storage capacity quickly. If you are using photos make sure that you download the high resolution versions, not the thumbnails.
Importing Media: Add your photos and video clips into your video editor (it may be easier to crop and rotate your images before you add them to the editor).
Aspect Ratio: If given the option, choose an aspect ratio of 16:9 (horizontal rectangle, also known as landscape). This will present your images the clearest across most platforms.
Crop and Rotate: You can re-frame and rotate your images so they look the way you want. Your images are more easily seen when they fill the frame.
Timeline Sequence: Order your clips so they play in the order you intend.
Trim / Split Clips / Modify Duration: Eliminate parts of the video clips that you’re not using. Select only the parts you will use by trimming the beginnings and endings of your clips. Sometimes you will split the clips to use portions of a clip at different times throughout the video.
Volume: Eliminate sound from any video clips where the audio is unused; turn the volume of the individual clip to “0” or “mute clip audio.”
Transitions: Consider how clips or images will transition: will they fade, swipe, or simply cut? Note that sometimes Transitions are called Animations.
Effects: Get creative with Green Screen/Chroma Key effects, overlaying/blending images, creating Diptychs/Triptychs (collages of 2 or 3 images), or using filters. All video editing software provides access to different options; you can sometimes mix and match various editors to maximize your options.
Voice Overs (VO): Most video editing software will have the option to record your voice directly into your project. Otherwise, you can record from a different device and import the VO clip into the timeline. You can then trim/cut and move the VO clip once it is in the timeline so that it lines up with the video as intended. Maybe you know someone whose voice you’d prefer in the VO and who would like to support your project. More info below under “How to do a Voice Over.”
Text: You can add text directly onto or in between the images. Make sure to keep the text on screen long enough for people to be able to read it. Get someone who is not you to check it by reading it out loud. You will go faster than your audience would because you know it already.
Titles and End Credits: Give context to your audience about what they will see by giving your video a title. Get your logo on screen and early in the video. Your end credits should include:
- A credit of who did what to create the video (acknowledge that labour!)
- Your logo (again)
- Any funders (and their logos)
- Your social media handles, website, etc. (make them hyperlinked)
Music: What is the purpose of music in your project? If you’re using music intentionally, consider if you have the budget to license a song from someone in your community, or ask if they might barter with you. Or if you’re a musician, add your own! If you’re not a musician, you could learn some fundamentals of digital composing (check out these KSA how-to videos). Otherwise, you may find music in the video editor’s sample library, on YouTube’s Creator Studio or using a site like AudioJungle or any number of other sites. Unlicensed music may not pass the Facebook and YouTube filters and your video may be removed. It also follows that whoever purchases/licenses the music must be the one who posts the video.
Subtitles: Adding subtitles is super effective if your video is going to live online where people often watch videos on mute (at least to start). It also increases the accessibility of your video. Wait until the video is finalized before doing this. It should be the last thing you do before your final export. Most video editing software/apps make this easy, but it is time consuming. Some Transcription services charge roughly $1.25/minute.
Exporting: Export your final video using the highest quality settings possible.
Video Editing Software
There are multiple video editing apps that are specific to iOS and Android devices, PC and MAC, and some that are compatible across all devices. Some are free or have free trials (with limited features, time limits and/or watermarks on your exports). Some are easier to use, but may offer less sophisticated tools, which may be a factor if you envision a polished final product. You can always work in an app or software that feels comfortable for you and leverage the features of other editors for specific pieces of your project, such as doing titles and credits in an editor with more attractive font options.
These are some relatively easy-to-use video editors for smartphones, tablets and computers:
Searching: Most software and apps offer online tutorials. When learning an app, make your search specific, ie: “how do I __________ on (insert app name here)?” As new options are always being marketed, search out options online using keywords that are relevant to your technology and access to funds (ie: free video editing apps for Android).
Posting Tips: Consider YouTube’s policy around content, you may need to age-restrict your video. You can also use YouTube to create chapters in your video, which breaks it down into sections, each with an individual preview. These chapters can help viewers by allowing them to find the content they’re looking for.
How To Do A Voice Over (VO)
Image Prep: Once you have all of your clips/pics in order, play your video from the beginning and read your script. Are you able to read the lines while the clips are on the screen? Are the durations of your clips too long or too short? Make some adjustments to the duration of your images so that they roughly fit with the speed at which you want to read your lines; alternatively, adjust your script.
Space Prep: Try to eliminate any background sounds and too many reflective surfaces (hard walls, windows, tiled floors).
If you can, avoid spaces that:
- Have other people working, talking, etc.
- Have low hums that you can hear, ie: furnaces, air conditioners, washer/dryers, wind, traffic sounds, loud fridge, computer fans, etc.
Instead, try to:
- Work in an isolated sound space, like a closet or a room that sounds quiet to you.
- Negotiate with your people to be quiet for the time you need to record.
- If you can turn off a source of loud noise for the time you need to record, do so.
- A room with a rug, cushioned furniture or a blanket hanging on a wall can eliminate reflections of sound bouncing around, creating a more pleasant, softened sonic quality.
Which Device?: It will be easiest to record directly into your video editor; no need to upload or import from another device.
However, consider that:
- Computers and laptops can have fans that make a loud sound. Often the microphones on these devices will pick up the loud fan.
- You can use a set of headphones with a microphone on it. This will give you some distance from any fan noises coming from your computer.
- You can record on a mobile device, like a phone or tablet, especially if that is where your video editor is, or just because that gives you a chance to move to a quieter space. You can then send the voiceover recording to the computer that holds your video editing software.
- You should be about 15 – 20 cm (6-8 inches) away from your microphone while you’re recording. If you’re speaking loudly, you may need a little more distance. Play with this by recording takes at different distances and listening back to determine where your voice sounds the best, and where external sounds are minimized.
- Speak in shorter phrases. Put periods at the end of your sentences. Consider how each piece will link with the next; your tone of voice, vocal colour, and emotion can help or hinder you later during editing.
- Try a few different versions, or takes, with some variations of tone and pacing. Save a few versions and choose the best one; you can even pick and choose the best lines from each version. Again – consider having someone direct you, an outside eye and ear can be very helpful.
Audio – Any sound related elements.
B-Roll – Additional video taken. Visuals used to support the message of your interviews, or to cut away to in a narrative film.
Duration – The time it takes for something to continue or happen, i.e. the speed or length of your clips.
Media – Your photos and video clips, audio etc.
Opacity – The extent to which something blocks light. You can change the opacity of layers, filters, and effects so that more (or less) of the underlying image shows through.
Playhead – A vertical cursor in the timeline that represents the position, or frame, of the material that is currently being accessed (moves from left to right when you press “play”).
Post-Production – The stage when the filming is wrapped and the editing of the visual and audio materials begins, ie: cutting and assembling raw footage, adding music, voiceovers, sound effects, etc.
Take – A scene or sequence of sound or vision photographed or recorded continuously at one time.
Timeline – In a video editor, this refers to the area where you can sequence and arrange all of the elements of your project: visual media, audio clips, transitions, text, effects, etc.
Transitions – The way your video clips or photos are combined, moving from one shot to another, ie: fade up, fade down, cross fade etc.
Voice Over (VO) – A recording of voice heard over your images.