Facebook posts

Better management of your team’s Facebook posts

If your content strategy includes content curation (which it should!) it can be hard keep track of which pieces of content you’ve already shared. Add in a team of page managers and things really start to get crazy! So what’s a page manager to do?

Here at ActionSprout, we were running into this problem with our own pages. To make matters worse, even if we managed to remember that we’d posted the content, we couldn’t remember when we had done it. If we wanted to reshare a piece of awesome content for the second or third time, we had to jump into Timeline or Facebook to find out if it was too soon or not.

All of the clicking back and forth was driving us crazy, so we decided to do something about it. Now each piece of content in your Inspiration and Timeline feed comes with a “last shared date!”

This not only tells you if you have already shared a piece of content, but it will also warn you if it’s too soon to reshare it! (And you should definitely reshare high-performing content!)

Clicking on the shared date will also take you to the original post:

Facebook posts

If the piece of content is rockin and has been shared a few times, this share history will be displayed. Again, each time stamp links back to the corresponding post on Facebook:

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We hope this new feature makes it even easier to tap into the power of content curation, and collaborating with your team members! Never again should you wonder if and when a post was shared.

Happy sharing!

Supporter management

Supporter management on Facebook just got better!

What is the foundation of your Facebook page made of? It’s not a trick question. Your page is made up of people!

The problem with your Facebook page can also be people. They’re a bit of a double edged sword! You want to grow your following on Facebook, but once you do so, it can be easy to become overwhelmed.

Who are my supporters on Facebook these days? I’ve completely lost track! It’s hard to keep up with the comments and messages and know who I’m talking to. Who are my donors? Who are my volunteers? Who are my most active supporters?

Don’t feel bad! This happens to all Facebook pages as they grow. That’s why at ActionSprout, we’ve been hard at work on features and tools that make managing and knowing who your supporters are a bit easier.

Supporter Tagging

Tag anyone in your ActionSprout account with unique, custom tags. This tag follows the supporter throughout ActionSprout and your data exports. Now, no matter where you view the supporter, you’ll have an idea about who they are based on their tag(s).

You’ll always know if a person interacting with your page needs a follow up, further engagement, or possibly needs to be blocked (in the case of online trolls).

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Why would you use People Tags? The reasons are almost unlimited. Here are just a few ideas about who to tag to get you started:

  • Your donors
  • Your volunteers
  • Any known trolls or troublemakers
  • Your employees
  • Known influencers
  • Active Facebook fans
  • MVPs
  • Celebrities for your cause

Engagement Level

We know what you’re probably thinking: “Supporter tags are awesome…but what if I don’t know who they are to tag them in the first place? Then what?”

The answer: Engagement level.

Everyone in your ActionSprout account is given an Engagement Level score based on their interactions with your page on Facebook. Based on these scores, you’ll be able to tease out who your MVPs are, who needs further engagement and who’s almost there.

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The higher the score the more passionate and connected to your cause they are.

Engagement Scores are a weighted sum of your supporters likes, comments, actions completed and donations given. The weights are as follows:

  • Likes X 1
  • Comments X 5
  • Actions completed X 20
  • Donation amount given X 5

Thus someone who likes a lot of your posts may still have a lower score than someone who has donated to or taken action for your cause.

While not bulletproof, this score will give you a pretty good idea of who your supporters might be.

Existing supporter profiles

These two new pieces of information are added to the existing supporter profiles already inside your ActionSprout account. As you know, these profiles continue to grow in richness as your supporters continue to engage with you on Facebook.

Like we said at the top, your people are the core and foundation of your mission. At ActionSprout, we’ll always be working to give you the best possible tools to make reaching, engaging and growing your relationship with these people the best experience it can be.

Integrating with Google analytics

Integrating with Google Analytics: more supporters for your cause

If you use both ActionSprout actions and Google Analytics, you’ll want to set up the Google integration between the two.

The integration will begin to pull in page view data for each unique page of your action. Thus, just like your website, you’ll begin to see which pages are working and which ones are not. You’ll be able to identify weak spots in your actions and improve upon them (more on that later on).

Google Analytics is an amazingly powerful tool to shed light on otherwise mysterious situations. Tapping into this function will empower you to better convert supporters to contacts and gain new donors through Facebook.

If you’ve spent any time with us here at ActionSprout, you know we say everything depends on Facebook and it’s all trial and error. While that’s all true, Google Analytics integration minimizes that to a certain degree. Paying attention to the data will allow you to cut some of the guesswork and optimize the trial and error stage.

Action URLs

Each step of your action has a unique URL. Therefore pageviews on these URLs can tell you where your supporter got to in the process. If the “thank you” page has a lot of pageviews, that means a good portion of your supporters are fully completing the action. If, for instance, only the first page of your action or donation page have page views then you know they are getting stuck in that portion of your action and so on.

You get the idea!

Reading your action URLs

Unique Identifiers

Each action has a unique identifier baked into the URL. This appears as the 6 digits appearing immediately after .io/ :

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This is how you’ll find your different actions in Google Analytics:

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Loading the action landing page

Action URLs that end in /initial indicate that the full action was successfully loaded on the supporter’s device:

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This supporter was one of two groups:

  1. They continued on and completed the action
  2. They stopped here

The best way to tease out which group is larger (and thus if the first page is a weak spot) is to compare your page views here against your page views on the thank you page (described in full below).

If you have more page views on /intial than you do on the thank you page, this is a sign that too many people are getting stuck on the first page and not completing the action.

The thank you page

Action URLs that end in /thanks indicate that the supporter completed the action and any additional information you asked for. This includes completing a donation:

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Additional data page

Action URLs that end in /metadata indicate that your supporter made it to the additional page of your action:

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This means they completed your action by successfully sharing their name and email address with you. When presented with the next page, asking for additional data they left.

Special Situations

  1. Sproutlets follow the same URL rules as “normal” actions.
  2. If you’ve included a donation form at the end of a non-donation action, the URL to indicate they reached this form end in /thanks
  3. There is no URL indicator to tell you a supporter clicked on a donation button. This action launches a separate Stripe payment window.

Learning and improving from the data

Now comes the fun part! (or less fun part if you’re not a data nerd!)

Ideally you’d want your numbers to be heavy on the /thanks URL indicating most people completed the action. If that’s the case with you, congratulations! You have a great action. But for the rest of us, we don’t knock them out of the ballpark every time. (I’m including myself in this group!)

There’s usually always a spot or two to improve on, no matter who you are. Looking at the data should quickly tell you if you have weak spots in your action that are preventing supporters from finishing it. Too many page views on /initial or /metadata and too few on /thanks is a common pattern.

So how do we make this right?

Improving your action landing page

First of all, the fact that your supporters even saw this page is huge. Your post on Facebook was attention grabbing enough that they stopped scrolling and took notice. Kudos to you!

Let’s look at what we can do to improve this page to convert more interested people into full on, contactable supporters.

Review your call to action and button

Your call to action should be urgent, crystal clear and actionable. Your supporters should have no question what you’re asking them to do, and/or why or what difference it will make. The button on your action should match that sentiment. It should be short, simple and clear.

Review your description

The body of your action should walk your supporters through the problem, solution and action of your campaign. This should be concise, to the point and persuasive.

Review your agreement text and privacy statement

Depending on your audience’s privacy fears you may need to rework the agreement text and privacy statement that appears on your action:

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This example displays the default messages for each. If you feel this may be a concern for your audience, try reworking these. It can make all the difference.

Improving follow through

If your weak spot seems to be the addition data page there are a few things you can try to improve this.

Review the additional data you’re asking for

Best practice states that you should only ask for the data you absolutely need, which means cutting everything else. This is true for many reasons, but in the application of Facebook actions the key is time and effort.

Your action should be the simplest it can possibly be because the majority of your supporters are completing your action from a mobile device. They could be sitting on the bus, walking to work or killing time before a meeting. They don’t have the patience or desire to complete a long form of additional questions.

Asking for data because it’s interesting or would be nice to have comes with the cost of lower form completions, so keep that in mind.

Review if your additional data would be offensive in anyway

Depending on your audience and areas of cause, certain questions may come off as offensive. Common areas of concern are gender and age.

Put yourself in the shoes of your supporter base and see if this might be the case.

Improving donation forms

Your donation form can appear in two places, up front in a donation action or on the thank you screen in a non-donation action. Depending on your situation improvement may look a little different.

Donation actions

This one is similar to the action landing page outlined above. Your Facebook post convinced them to stop and view your action but they didn’t complete the donation. To improve this page, you’ll want to review the same points as above with just a few tweaks.

Review your call to action and donation buttons

Your call to donate should be urgent, crystal clear and actionable. Your supporters should have no question what you’re asking them to do, why or what difference it will make. Language like “pitching in” or “chipping in” tends to persuade more donors to give.

In addition, review the donation amounts you provided. It’s entirely possible you started to low or too high. Finding your sweet spot will take trial and error:

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Review your description

The body of your action should walk your supporters through the problem, solution and action of your campaign. This should be concise, to the point and persuasive.

Review your agreement text and privacy statement

Depending on your audience’s privacy fears, you may need to rework the agreement text and privacy statement that appears on your action:

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Non-donation actions

If your donation form appears on the thank you page of an otherwise non-donation action, (petition, poll or demand) you’ll want to review the points above in addition to the overall action and cause you’re tying this donation form to.

Is this the appropriate action to include a donation form on? Are the people who are likely to complete this action the folks who are also likely to donate? How you set the stage in the first half of this action will influence the success of this donation form.

Conclusion

We hope you’re now ready to take full advantage of the power of Google Analytics for your ActionSprout actions. If you have any questions feel free to chat us. We’re always here to help.

facebook content

Your Facebook content gets better with data

The Timeline tab in your ActionSprout account is your main source of Facebook page metrics through the ActionSprout tool. This tab gives you both a rolled-up high level view of how your page is doing as well as a very granular view on a post by post basis. Recently we added even more data to this section of the app. Now when you select a post in Timeline, a right hand drawer opens displaying even more data for you and your team.

Using this tab is a great way to get into Facebook metrics if you’re not a numbers person or to simplify the metrics process and save time.

timeline drawer gif

Let’s take a look at all this new data in turn: what it means, what you should do about it and rules of thumb.

Engagement rate and virality

At the very top of the drawer you’ll find your first two pieces of data, Engagement rate and Virality:

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Engagement rate: The Number of people engaged with the post over the number of people reached.

In the example above, 22% of folks who saw the post in their timelines also engaged with the post. Anything over 11% is good for an engagement rate. Engagement is one of the most important metrics you can track on Facebook, so be sure to pay attention to this one! Engagement, more than anything else, will move the dial for your cause. Whether digital or physical, engagement is most closely related to action. Engagement should always be your number one goal on Facebook.

Virality: The percentage of reach that was viral compared to the percentage of reach that was organic.

In the example above, 35% of the post’s reach was viral. That means 35% of people who saw that post, saw it because a friend liked, commented or shared it. A few factors help make a piece of content viral:

  • Someone shared your post on their timeline. This meant the post reached their network in addition to your own.
  • When supporters engage with your post, by liking or commenting, their networks can sometimes see this activity in their feeds as well. If someone saw this activity from a friend and then also engaged with the post, that’s viral engagement.
  • Without you paying for reach or your own doing, the link gets out anyway beyond your normal audience.

Post performance

Next you’ll find the overall performance of your post compared to the average of your last roughly 500 posts:

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This is how your post compared to your past content not the content on Facebook in general. In other words you’re racing against your personal best, not anyone else’s.

This section will appear in a few different colors for quick reference. In the example above, the post is above average by 34%. All above average posts are green.

The following post is at average, or 100%. You’ll see it appears grey:

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The last post has performed below average and is thus red:

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This section acts as a quick reference to show you the overall success of your post. The more green you see the better; grey means you’re being consistent or plateauing; red is not something you want to see too much of.

A quick note on underperforming posts: this is something that can be minimized but not completely avoided. Facebook and your audience are always shifting and changing. Sometimes a post is too new to have much engagement yet. What worked one day won’t work the next. You may have bad days, post at the wrong time or be overshadowed by a tending story outside of your cause. This is all normal and should be expected. As such, there will always be an element of trial and error when using Facebook. Having underperforming posts isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

When you should be alarmed is if you notice an ongoing trend of underperforming posts with little else. If this goes on for more than a week or so you’ll want to reevaluate your posting strategy.

Engagement summary

The second to last section is your Engagement Summary. This is a much more broken down, granular look at the post’s engagement than the percentages above:

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The first row of data are your likes, comments and shares. These metrics are pretty straightforward. Depending on your goals and mission, you and your organization may weigh one higher than the others.

In general likes reflect the lowest effort and expressed interest from your supporters. A like is better than nothing but is overall the least effort to give.

Comments come next. Comments take a lot more time than likes and require more thought, attention and interest to your cause. They also reflect the fact that the supporter(s) in question don’t mind weighing in publicly on the issue. This is a biggie on Facebook, as users are hyper aware of this fact and how they act on the platform.

Lastly are shares. While sharing a post takes less effort than commenting I would argue it’s the most valuable of the three. Sharing means the person connected with the post in such a way that they wanted to be seen sharing it by their network. They wanted it to be linked to them as an individual and appear on their personal timeline.

The next two metrics, People engaged and Views/Clicks are a bit less commonplace.

People engaged is the raw counterpart of the percentage at the top. This is the raw, unprocessed number of folks who engaged with your post in any way.

Views/clicks will be unique to the format of the post in question. In the example above, you can see we’re looking at an image post. This view count reflects the number of times folks clicked on the image to view it.

In the case of link posts clicks reflect the number of times someone wished to read more:

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People Reached

The last section you’ll find is People Reached. Reach comes in three buckets reflected in this section.

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Organic reach is any reach you earned without paying for it or earning it through virality. You simply posted a piece of content to Facebook and your audience engaged with it.

Viral reach is similar to organic in that you didn’t pay for it. The difference is you reached well beyond your “normal” audience base. Someone shared your post or the activity on the post was seen by others. The key here is the post was seen by many people outside of your fan base.

Paid reach means you gave Facebook money to reach more people with your post. You may have clicked the “boost post” button on Facebook, created an ad or used ActionSprout and SmartAds to boost your post.

Conclusion

This data is in no way all of your Facebook post metrics. Instead it is a rolled up, condensed view of your need-to-know information. These metrics, at a glance, will give you the information to make better posts and learn from your mistakes.

The New Profile Image Campaign Builder from ActionSprout

We have seen Facebook profile overlays used to support a variety of causes and used to show solidarity is the face of tragedy. These profile campaigns are a great way for people to show their support to the world. Now you can create your own profile image campaign for your organization, mission, event and more!

How is this possible? With the new Profile Campaign Builder in ActionSprout Labs!

Check it out now at Profile.ActionSprout.com.

What’s more, it’s super easy. We have included a set of images at the bottom of this post for you to follow along, if you like.

Let’s create a campaign! The Tool The tool itself is relatively simple. It consists of four parts: the Profile Overlay, Share Info, Preview and Share Link. Let’s go through them in turn.

The Profile Overlay

Profile Overlay

This section consists of two parts. First, the header; this part is not included when someone applies the overlay to their profile. It is only a “banner” of sorts to make the application page look snazzy (customized to your needs) when your supporters see it. It can be your logo or a banner about the purpose of the overlay. Whatever you do here, make it specific to your organization and your goals, and make it fun! If you are following along, click “Choose File,” and select the “Banner.png” file.

The second part is the overlay itself; this is the part that will show up as your supporter’s profile picture. It is a square (450px X 450px), and it is where you get to show your creativity. Keep in mind that this is a situation where simpler is often better. A busy overlay looks cluttered and, worse, you may not be able to distinguish the overlay from the original image. If you are following along, click “Choose File,” and select the “Star overlay.png” file.

Profile Campaign Files added

The overlay has two additional features: grayscale (just for aesthetics) and an opacity adjustment. The opacity adjustment is, by default, set to 50. For the moment, leave it there—you can use it to fine-tune in a minute.

The Share Info

Profile campaign share options

This part is specific to sharing on Facebook. These are the elements that will pop up in the Facebook post when you share the link. You’ll see what I mean in a minute.

The Share Title and Description are as they sound. Make sure that your title is short, catchy and lets your supporters know what’s going on. The description is where you can add a bit more detail, such as what the mission is and why it’s important.

The Share Image is the image that pops up when you share the link on Facebook, next to the title and description. A good idea here is to share an example of what the final profile image will look like, or the overlay image alone. You can add whatever you like, but showing the finished product is an excellent way to add a bit more context. If you are following along, click “Choose File” and select the “Share Image.png” image.

Profile campaign share options files

The Preview

Profile Campaign Preview

The preview shows a generic avatar silhouette with your overlay. To see an updated preview, click the blue “Save” button. If you are following along, now is a good time to save.

Campaign Profile Example

For a more contextual preview, click the “Share Link” above. A new tab will open and show the overlay on your current profile; this is what the page will look like when your supporters click the share link. Your profile won’t change until you click the “Update Profile” button at the bottom of the page and the “Confirm” button on the next page.

Profile Campaign example

If you want to make changes, close the tab, make the changes you like (different images, grayscale, opacity), click “Save” and try the share link again. Repeat until you’ve dialed it in.

The Share Link

Share link example

To share your new and awesome Profile Image Campaign with the world, copy the share link and paste it into Facebook, Twitter and email—have a skywriter scribble it in the clouds if you like! Want to see what it looks like as a post? Paste our test into Facebook and have a look.

Done!

Technical specs: Use .png or .jpeg files Banner dimensions: 1028 x 180 Overlay dimensions: 450 x 450 Share image: 1200 x 628

Need design tools for free? Try these: Canva.com Pixlr.com

Assets (right click then “Save Image As”:

Banner Star overlay Share Image