Affordable investments for stronger social media

Social media and other forms of virtual communication have never been more important. That sentence was true in January. Now, it’s even more true, as many organizations are moving longstanding fundraising events (or important public meetings) to virtual formats.

Good virtual communication usually depends on good equipment and trained professionals. Not every organization can afford top of the line equipment right now, but if you’ve got a budget of $500 or less you can make some purchases that will have an immediate payoff.

1. Stability and calm: You can do a lot of with an iPhone, but the shaky hand-held quality to the video is not always the vibe you need. Simple stabilizers and tripods can be purchased for less than $100. A monopod – which is basically just a stick that attaches to the camera to help you hold it steady – is even cheaper.

2. Can everyone hear me? The nice thing about virtual events is everyone can turn up the volume to suit themselves. But unfortunately, just turning the volume up won’t completely make up for muddy sound or wind noise. Lavalier microphones for speakers enable you to get good sound while socially distant. There are also special outdoor microphones to cancel out wind nose. Each can be purchased for less than $100.

3. Make the world a brighter place. Even a small desktop ring light can make a huge difference in how you and others appear on camera. See the photo above – a $19 ring light brings you out of the shadows. Larger lights will of course work even better.

4. Let’s get graphic. Not everything is about the video and photographs. Graphic design can make even text more attractive on social media. (Imagine a nice looking invite to a virtual event.) Free programs like Canva won’t get you the same results as a professional graphic designer, but they will get you nice templates that you can update as appropriate.

— Beverly Bartlett

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