In the broadest sense, your nonprofit maintains a Facebook page in order to engage people in your cause. The execution and nitty gritty will be different, but how you get there will be the same: by posting engaging content on your Facebook page.
Posting engaging content is your number one job on Facebook and your primary means for reaching and engaging your current supporters, along with new, potential supporters. So how do you “post well” on Facebook and reach your goals?
There are two laws to follow when posting on Facebook:
- Post when your supporters are most likely to be on Facebook
- Post at least two to three times a day
This article will walk you through law #2. We’ll discuss:
- Why two to three posts a day is the optimal number to reach and engage as many supporters as possible
- Why you don’t have to worry about overwhelming or spamming your supporters with too many posts
- How you can create and find all this content
Why your goal should be 2 to 3 posts a day
To understand why we should be posting so often, we need some context on the Facebook environment. According to Facebook there are:
“More than 1.6 billion people [who] use Facebook to connect to the things they care about…On average, there are more than a billion stories posted to Facebook every day.”
That is a lot of people and posts!
What the folks at Facebook quickly learned was that showing every user every possible post, from the friends, family and the pages they followed, was out of the question. If they did so, every user would have to scroll through roughly 1,500 posts per day to find the posts and stories they really cared about. Thus, Facebook developed a powerful algorithm to decide which of these 1,500 possible posts each user receives in their news feed, and which are the most important to put at the top.
That means each time you post to Facebook, roughly 5% of your page fans, on average, will receive the post in their news feed. Based on their past behavior and browsing patterns, Facebook has decided these particular 5% are the folks most likely to enjoy and engage with the content you just published. In short, Facebook matches the right people with the right posts.
Now this brings us back to posting two to three times a day! Because such a small percentage of people receive each of your posts, it’s extremely unlikely that one single person will see all of the content you publish in a day, because the algorithm is matching up the right people with the right posts.
Thus, each time you post, that post is reaching and potentially engaging a new 5% of your supporter base that will be more likely to enjoy your post. This means that by simply posting two to three times a day you can increase your reach and engagement without paying for it through Facebook advertising.
Who doesn’t want that!
It’s really hard to spam your supporters on Facebook
Think about it, Facebook is more afraid of spamming their users than you are. Without its users, Facebook has nothing! Because of this, your goals and Facebook’s goals are aligned: engage people with awesome content and make them want to come back for more!
We already touched on this fact before: it’s extremely unlikely that one unique person will see all the content you publish in the course of a day. If they do see several of your posts, it means they have engaged with your content so often that Facebook has decided to show them more of it. This is a good thing, and definitely not spammy behavior on your part! They’re asking Facebook for more of your content through their actions!
But how does Facebook know who to deliver your posts to, and how often?
“The three main types of signals used to estimate a post’s relevance to each person are:
- WHO POSTED IT – The friends, family, news sources, businesses and public figures a person interacts with most are prioritized in their News Feed.
- POST TYPE – Whether it’s photos, videos, or links, News Feed prioritizes the types of posts that a person interacts with most frequently.
- POST ACTIVITY – Posts that have a lot of likes, comments and shares (especially from the people a person interacts with most) could appear higher in a person’s feed.”
By following these rules, Facebook does a really good job figuring out which users to show which posts. And, to reverse that, Facebook is really good at not delivering content to users who won’t enjoy it. Therefore your supporters rarely receive a post from you that they won’t like or might feel is spammy:
“The goal of News Feed is to show people the stories that matter to them most — by showing people the most relevant stories to them higher up in their feeds, we hope to create the best, personalized experience for everyone using Facebook. We do this by taking into account thousands of signals and ranking stories from most to least relevant for each person. Every time someone refreshes their feed, News Feed ranks all the stories they are eligible to see and delivers them in this order to their feed.”
That opens you up to post more often, take more risks with posting, and try new things. If a post doesn’t “work”, very few people will receive it, and you can fail gracefully.
How you can create and find this much content
Let’s quickly recap before we go any further. First, we now know that posting the optimal two to three times a day means we can increase the number of supporters we reach and engage on Facebook without spending any money on Facebook ads.
Second, posting frequently does not mean spamming your supporters. Facebook is really good at figuring out which posts to show to which users in order to make them happy and willing to spend more time on Facebook. And more time on Facebook means more time consuming your content!
So how do we come up with two to three posts everyday to publish on Facebook? Two words: Content Curation. 80% of the time, you will share images, videos and news created by others that relates to your cause. The last 20% of the time, you’ll create your own original content in house.
If this is setting off plagiarism warning bells inside your head, you’re not alone. Here’s why sharing other’s content on Facebook is not only encouraged, but built into the core design of the platform.
When in doubt, repost your own high performing content a second or third time to your page! According to Facebook:
“It is not bad to periodically re-post your top performing content. If you find that a topic or image gets a lot of engagement, try re-posting it. Because News Feed curates what each person sees in order to serve them the most relevant and interesting content, it is very hard to “spam” the people who have liked your Page.”
How you find this content doesn’t matter as much as the fact that you’re posting two to three times a day, when your supporters are most likely to on Facebook. That’s it. If you follow these two laws of posting you’ll be much more likely to reach your organizational goals on Facebook.