Facebook, Oh Facebook – love it, or hate it, we think it’s here to stay and with more than 1 billion active users, Facebook is the largest social network in the world.
Facebook is an online social media platform founded on 4 February 2004, by Mark Zuckerberg with his college roommates and fellow Harvard University students Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes. What started out as an online platform socially connecting students between universities in the USA, grew to include high school students, and then expanded exponentially including individuals, across many countries.
Remember there are some 50 million regularly active pages on Facebook, all vying for ‘Likes’, comments, and shares, and you are also competing with social content which is primarily why people are on Facebook, so you need to stand out and be noticed! The potential opportunity Facebook has for nonprofit organizations is enormous, however as mentioned above, it is vital to have a clear strategy and to know what you are doing.
In this article, we’ll look at establishing a basic strategy and guidelines for your Facebook page. We will unpack these concepts in future articles.
Your Nonprofit Strategy
Your Facebook strategy should be:
An objective of using your Facebook page to “raise awareness” is not an objective at all. Raising awareness is not an end in itself. However, if your objective was that you wanted to raise traffic to your website where people can learn more about your cause by 25% over 6 months, this would be a specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound objective.
How to be seen
Not everyone who ‘likes’ your Facebook page sees all your posts. Facebook uses an algorithm to determine which of your posts are seen by which followers.
Keep this in mind if you change your Facebook strategy suddenly – many people will simply ‘hide’ your updates from their newsfeed if your posts are not interesting to them so although you may not see a decline in ‘likes’ on your page, you may see a decline in how many people viewed each post.
Some quick tips:
- Videos and photos are more likely to be seen in more newsfeeds.
- Keep posts between 100-250 characters
- Create a dialogue with your fans by responding when they comment, post questions, or commenting on their page.
- Speak in the first-person narrative
- Facebook places a higher priority on posts with comments than with ‘likes’ – so write posts that encourage people to interact with you.
Promoting your content
If you are running a campaign or trying to generate more interest in your page, it is worth investing some money in Facebook advertising. You can set a budget as small as R500 and see some results. Facebook allows you to target your ads to very specific demographics, including just targeting friends of people who are already connected to your page. You can also create ‘sponsored stories’ which appear in your fans’ newsfeeds when they interact with your page.
Facebook posting guidelines
A useful guideline for posting is the 70:20:10 rule. 70% of your content should inform your audience about the issue; 20% should be shared content from other organizations; 10% should be promotional content (eg. advertising events, your newsletter, and content that promotes your organization specifically and not necessarily your cause.)
Many organizations try to manage their Facebook pages like they would manage their personal Facebook profiles. Although you can post more casual content on your page, remember that it is still a professional space that represents your organization. When you’re posting hard news and issues on your page, it is incongruous to do so next to pictures of a staff party or people having fun around the office!
When you look at your Facebook page, are you comfortable with the image of your organization that is being portrayed?
Post at least 5 times a week, but be careful not to post too often and overwhelm your fans’ newsfeeds.
Studies show that posts on the weekend or after hours receive more engagement.
Facebook provides detailed statistics about your fans, their demographics, and their engagement with your posts. You can use these statistics to help you plan future posts, and help you understand what kinds of content your users respond to.
We will be looking at each of these factors in greater detail in future posts, and sharing tools and resources to help you improve your Facebook presence.