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Facebook doesn’t have to be so overwhelming

The nonprofit sector is full of good people and good volunteers who are passionate about their causes and feel overwhelmed. There may have been a time when good will and hard efforts could change the lives in your community. And never before have we had such powerful means to communicate our message. But that message seems to fall on deaf ears. To make things worse, social media companies like Facebook, are always changing. For better or for worse. Though often it feels for worse.

It feels like that scene from I Love Lucy. She was working at the chocolate factory, and she just couldn’t keep up. What did she do? She became overwhelmed, started jamming chocolates in her pockets, bra, and mouth, and it made things worse. Why? Because she couldn’t keep up, and she didn’t know how to keep up. Right as things start to go downhill Lucy says, “Ethel. I think we’re fighting a losing game.” She knows what’s coming she knows that it won’t stop.

With the conveyor working against you, you can walk away or take a few minutes to reassess. Amy Breyer from The Animal History Museum in Los Angeles decided to reassess, and to learn from the success of others, and to leverage and build new relationships.

Let’s start with the outcomes. The Animal History Museum had no physical space. The purpose of having a Facebook audience was a proxy for having a real audience, which is now over 16,000.

Their posts would usually engage 50-150 people, often much less, and occasionally top 200. Now, three months later, their posts easily engage over 2,500 people and as many as 40,000.

How did the folks at The Animal History Museum work within the boundaries of the environment rather than get abused by them?

They reached out to larger organizations with related missions.

Without being spammy. Do a little homework. Find organizations that are large enough to help you by reposting your content. But not so large that they wouldn’t give you the time of day. Go to their website, search on Linkedin, find the social media manager and write them a nice, short, email. Tell them your story. You’re a small and plucky nonprofit trying to do great work in your community. You need to give them a reason to buy in. Just like you need to give your followers a reason to buy in.

It’s physically easy for them to repost your content. And it is frustrating when they won’t. But it only takes a few reposts for this strategy to be successful.

Use tools to make things easier.

Amy uses the Inspiration tab in her ActionSprout account to repost content that is performing well.

“Inspiration works very well for us,” Amy says. People are engaging with the content by liking sharing and even commenting much more. Posting great content has increased the brand awareness.

On top of that, The Animal History Museum is becoming a much more popular place to be.

Keep you audience in mind

One key strategy for The Animal History Museum is not using the Facebook page as a soapbox. When they designed their strategy they kept in mind why people are on Facebook to begin with. People use Facebook for leisure. People use Facebook to get away for just a few minutes. And no one wants to be preached to on their coffee break.

They understand that there will be other opportunities to be more museum-like, but now it’s time to give the audience what they want. The Animal History Museum knows their goals and moves slow toward them. They know that success on Facebook depends on how you define success. They know that Likes are a vanity metric, but Likes sway the board and donors.

Put everything aside. We are here to do good. We are here to complete a mission, to serve, to save. It can be overwhelming. Often we can get caught up a competition for attention. But we need to have confidence that other organizations are willing to lend a hand. Whether it is a teachable moment or a simple repost, our collective mission is to do good.

You can do it. The tools and the experts are here. You just need to ask for help. Our core focus is to help address your needs. So reach out.