Each month thousands of nonprofit organizations use ActionSprout to improve their Facebook Page performance and to engage fans beyond likes, shares and comments.
My team works directly with a few dozen of these nonprofits to help strategize and improve the overall performance of their Facebook outreach efforts.
Over the past several months, we’ve started to see clear patterns among the most successful pages. One of the clearest patterns relates to which content does well on Facebook (organic/paid) and which content fails.
In a recent article, I explained that in order for content to succeed on Facebook, it must drive people to engage. It’s not enough to post high-quality content that informs your target audience. Nor is it enough to post content that your fans enjoy consuming.
In order for content to be successful, your Facebook fans and their friends must want to be seen consuming and sharing it!
- Clicking like, share, comment, or taking a deeper action like the ones ActionSprout powers, are all acts of self-expression on Facebook.
- When we engage with a piece of content on Facebook, we do so because we want someone to see us do it.
- Facebook users are keenly aware of the fact that by engaging with your content or taking any social actions, they’re communicating something to their friends.
As a page manager, your job is to create content that helps your target audience express themselves to their friends. In other words, when Facebook fans interact with your content, it becomes part of their image on Facebook; part of their personal narrative.
Before you post
Each time you sit down to create a post, I want you to ask yourself two questions:
- Question #1: By taking this action, what will it say to my Facebook fans’ friends?
- Question #2: Does it align with what I believe they want their friends to think of them?
People are far more likely to engage with content that expresses a positive image of themselves.
Just because someone appreciates or agrees with something you post doesn’t mean they’ll want that content to become an expression of themselves. Your job as a page manager is to make your supporters look good in the eyes of their friends.
Content that does well on Facebook not only helps your target audience tell their story through engagement, it also adds real value to their news feed and their friends’ news feeds.
Following are four strategies for creating content that people often want to engage with because it helps them paint a picture of who they want to be.
1. Post Smile-Worthy Content
Post things that make Facebook fans smile and helps them make their friends smile. We all love a good chuckle and want to make the people we care about smile.
Meanwhile, nonprofits often feel pressure stay serious . They fear making light of something will cheapen their brand. If you’re creating content for an organization with a serious mission, look for tasteful ways to inject humor and engagement will improve.
For example, who doesn’t smile when they see Calvin and Hobbes? This post performed nearly 3X as well as the average post on Fast Company’s page:
This post performed 3X better than the average ‘Super Serious’ post on Big Cat Rescue’s page. See? You can inject humor into almost anything without being distasteful.
2. Help Facebook Fans Inspire Their Friends
Who among us doesn’t want to be an inspiration to our friends?
As a Facebook page manager, look for content that inspires hope or other positive emotions among your fans. Inspiring content consistently does well on all kinds of pages because Facebook users want inspiring content to be part of their personal narrative.
One way to inspire people is to celebrate success!
The post below celebrated success and inspired hope. It provided fans with a way to inspire their own friends. It also provided supporters a way to complete an ActionSprout-powered action beyond Like, Share or Comment.
- The post performed well organically, so the Sierra Club chose to spend some money to promote it resulting in a very high return on investment.
- This post resulted in over 1600 people signing up for email communication from Sierra Club. Inspirational Content for Facebook Fans
This is another excellent example by the Michigan Humane Society celebrating success and spreading inspiration to their Facebook fans.
3. Help Facebook Fans Become Trusted Sources of Information
It’s long been known that one of the best ways to build a large and loyal network on Facebook is to be the trusted source of information on a topic which people care about.
On the surface, it might seem like this is because people want your news in their news feed…
Dig a little deeper though, and you’ll discover that the real magic is much more about your fans wanting to be the trusted source of information to their friends which leads them to share your content.
For example, this post, by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, outperformed average content on their page by nearly 200%! It also serves as an excellent example of content that helps the page’s fans show their friends they’re a trusted source of information about gun control issues.
4. Empower People to Make a Difference by Helping Them Empower Others!
At ActionSprout we’ve learned that roughly 10% of the people who engage with a meaningful Facebook post are willing to go beyond like, share or comment.
They’re willing to take an action that results in greater viral sharing and in the process sign-up for email communication!
- If you manage a Facebook page for a nonprofit or a political campaign, your fans almost certainly view your organization or candidate as working to bring about change they want to see. – Posts that use ActionSprout to empower people not only helps them show others who they really are, it also deepens their relationship with your work and results in them opting for more.
Sierra Club recently ran a series of action related posts that gave people a way to “Tell the EPA to take action to protect bees.”
A high percentage of those that engaged posts by liking, sharing or commenting went on to complete the “tell” action. In doing so, they joined Sierra Club’s email list. This is an excellent example of empowering Facebook users and giving them a way to show their friends what they care about.
It’s all about empowering Facebook supporters
You’re number one goal on Facebook is to serve your supporters. What will they enjoy? Be inspired to share? Make them look amazing?
It’s worth noting, too, that the most effective campaigns are ones that make your fans feel like they are doing their friends a favor by inviting them to participate!