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Telling a Survivor’s Story on IGTV

21 August 2020

The NSPCC’s social media team told Emily Victoria’s story of surviving childhood sexual abuse using IGTV. Along the way they ran into challenges, learned some lessons and experienced the power of video.

As the social media team at NSPCC, we’re aiming to engage new and existing audiences with our work. As part of our strategies we show how the organisation is fighting for #EveryChildhood, this is our brand mission. When we first heard Emily Victoria’s powerful and moving story of survival, we saw an opportunity to use video, specifically Instagram’s IGTV. It is a prime example of the difference our work can make from a first-hand experience, to those children and young people who have, or are sadly experiencing sexual abuse.

Why IGTV, why then?

Video content performed poorly on Instagram, so we decided to stop posting it on our feed in 2018. But we thought IGTV could be an opportunity to use video content on our Instagram to tell stories in longer-form content. So we spoke with Facebook’s creative team who suggested using IGTV to post documentary style content that told the story of our cause.

The film team already had the perfect content ready to go. They’d been working on a series of videos that told Emily Victoria’s story and as she went on to explore our different services around the UK. This was an opportunity to create engaging content, to learn and improve our strategies.

We set ourselves a brief

Planning was vital to this project’s success. We wanted the content to remain a priority in our team, so we treated it like any other campaign brief. We set roles and responsibilities, created a project plan, researched, booked in edits and subtitling, reviews with stakeholders and set deadlines. This gave us ownership over the content whilst other campaigns were live.

Project Plan

Planning a ‘Social first’ video edit

The content needed to be made for social media, so it was important we storyboarded. Scripting the narrative, reviewing footage and making edits helped make it social first, by ensuring we created an emotive and intriguing narrative, as we knew this would hook viewers within the first three seconds.

The video edit for Episode 1

Testing was key

We test all new creative ideas for all of our platforms before going live. As this was our first IGTV series, we needed to test:

  1. the upload quality
  2. subtitle positioning
  3. the preview length and formatting in the Instagram feed

We did this on a private test account, allowing us to review the films on Instagram. Anyone reviewing the content had to watch it on a smartphone, with the sound off, in a busy area. Something as simple as presenting your content how it will be consumed can help the review process and educate other teams.

Some of the many test posts!

Working as a team

It was vital that Emily Victoria trusted us with her story. We involved her in our ideas, ensured she knew we cared and she always signed off on content. We used Emily Victoria’s account dedicated to sharing her story and helping other children and survivors, to promote the videos and reach more people. Emily already trusted Andy, from the film team, after producing the original films, so we used his in-depth knowledge to help build the content. Working as a team, using everyone’s experiences, helped us make strong content.

What we learnt

  • Intros to the films are important. We gave these a lot of consideration!
  • The thumbnails which are used as a preview on the Instagram feed had to stay consistent with the rest of our content.
  • We learnt that if you have the right kind of content – it’s worth the risk of testing a new format.

A quick snapshot of our experience of creating an IGTV series

Pros to consider:

  • IGTV allows your brand story to be shared in another medium – limiting stagnant content.
  • You’re able to tell more of a story with longer-form content.
  • Uploading through desktop meant the resolution quality wasn’t compromised.

Cons to consider:

  • It’s resource heavy.
  • You can easily end up with too many aims because it’s longer-form content.
  • Don’t expect to get it right the first time!

Success and beyond

Posting on IGTV for the first time, without a paid budget, was a risk. However, we saw an amazing result! All four videos reached 25,000 people on Instagram (and remember this is without a budget), averaging a 5% engagement rate. This is up from an average of 2% for traditional video on Instagram. The feedback from our online community was positive, with many thanking Emily Victoria and sharing their own stories. It’s hard to know how many people this content will have helped, but by Emily Victoria bravely sharing her story, she has helped educate 25,000 people on childhood sexual abuse.

As a team we learnt about IGTV and it has strengthened our Instagram strategy. We’ll think about using IGTV in future campaigns with paid budgets to help the organisation protect more children and prevent abuse.

If this has inspired you to watch Emily Victoria’s Journey, you can find it here


Image: lalo Hernandez on Unsplash

Poppy Stalker

Social Media Moderator , NSPCC

Poppy has worked within social media marketing for 3.5 years. She’s now a Social Media Moderator at NSPCC, and works on developing the organisation’s organic social media strategies, to help reach and engage new people using audience led insight.

Amrit Sembhi

Social Media Producer, NSPCC

Amrit is a Social Media Producer at NSPCC and works on developing campaign content for the NSPCC’s both Paid and Organic social channels. She’s worked on delivering for #PANTS #WildWestWeb and #NetAware and has a background in Film and Video production.