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3 Tips for Masterful Facebook Videos (Plus a Little More!)

If you’ve noticed lately, video has become a bigger and bigger feature on Facebook. That’s because video grabs your attention better than images and certainly better than text. Your Facebook videos don’t need to be long and expensive productions; in fact, they often do better when they aren’t.

So what makes a video great? Or shareable? It’s pretty simple really… there are three things you need to do:

1. Inspire Viewers

This is a great place to get your viewers excited about the great work that you do or about the need for the organization/campaign. Video is the greatest way to tell a story and create the emotional involvement needed to engage people in a real way. This is also a great opportunity to give some advice or to challenge people to do what they can in their lives and their communities.

Even better is if you can challenge them through the message itself, like Will Smith does in this short clip. (But you don’t need celebrity status to be successful at it.)

2. Educate Your Audience

People love to learn new things, especially when it’s something fun, interesting and there isn’t a quiz at the end. What matters is that the user is learning something in a simple and relatable way. Surely you’ve seen the recipe videos floating around on Facebook; if not, you should—they are awesome! These videos are a great example of educational content that nonprofits should be creating and posting.

Watch this and think about a few things as we drool over this tasty video. Even though there’s sound in the video, there’s no need for it, as most people don’t listen to the sound because they watch the auto-play on Facebook. It’s quick, easy to follow and entertaining, with great subject matter (and nonprofits have truckloads of great subject matter).

3. Be Entertaining

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First, the first two seconds of the video need to capture the viewer’s attention.

Second, you need to upload it to Facebook, not drop in a link from YouTube. Why? Because of auto-play. A video uploaded to Facebook will auto-play so that the viewer doesn’t need to do anything.

Third, and we can’t stress this enough, tell a story. Stories are the most powerful way to connect with people. Just check out this video from BuzzFeed. They just showed up at an event (probably asked permission first) and started shooting. It tells a story; it’s entertaining and inspiring; and it teaches us a simple lesson: “Don’t stand up your grandpa.”

That’s it. Just keep it simple: inspire your audience, educate them and don’t be boring. Most of all, have fun.

Bonus Tips

Create a playlist

Playlists are an easy way to group videos that have a theme. Viewers will often binge on playlists until they get bored or run out of videos. Once you’ve created a few great videos, string them together with a playlist.

Boost it

Boosting a video is an awesome and often cheap way to make a splash on Facebook. Keep your goals in mind though. Boosting a video is great for awareness, reach and engagement, not conversions. Image posts are better if you want people to click through.

Use 360 video

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Two things we can say for sure. Nearly 90% of all videos on Facebook are viewed on mobile, and fans love being a part of the action. 360 video covers both. It gives the viewer an immersive experience and is strictly for mobile devices. For this one, you’ll need to buy a special camera (they’re as low as $400 and coming down). The uploads are often very easy with little to no processing required. Imagine taking your fans on a walk through the community that you serve, through the forest that you protect, or to visit the animals that you’ve saved. Now that’s awesome.

Watch the data

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Facebook allows you to see when people stop watching the video. There will always be a drop at the beginning because people are just scrolling by. But pay attention to big drops later in the video. If viewers drop off in the first few seconds, then the video wasn’t catchy enough. If they drop later, they may have gotten bored, gotten the point of the video, or seen the ending to the story and didn’t feel the need to continue. One more reason to learn how to tell great stories.

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How to create an engaged community on Facebook

Founded in 2002, Daily Kos is the premier online political community, with 5 million unique visitors per month and 300,000 registered users. It is at once a news organization, community and activist hub. Well-known Daily Kos contributors have included President Jimmy Carter, then-Senator Barack Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and dozens of other senators, congressmen and governors.

But it is the community that really makes Daily Kos run. Hundreds of thousands of voters have used Daily Kos to amplify their voices, share information and organize for progressive change.

Faith Gardner has worked at Daily Kos since 2009. She currently manages their social media accounts.

How has your strategy / options about Facebook changed over time?

We used to post staff content only. We now post a lot more frequently and a lot more community content and some graphics. New tools like ActionSprout have widened our options and enabled us to reach our audiences in new and different ways.

What do you find most challenging about your job and the cause(s) you support?

No matter how much data you have or how much you think you’ve learned, your audience always surprises you. A story you think will get shared, based on all the evidence you have, will bomb. And sometimes a story you think won’t be shared at all will take off. It’s often unpredictable.

Another challenge is translating online activism into real-life activism. It’s so much harder to get people to show up to a rally or political event than it is to get them to sign a petition.

How do you use social Actions, from ActionSprout, compared to traditional form-based actions on your website?

We use them pretty similarly, but select only certain actions for the Facebook Page that seem appropriate for that audience. Sometimes we create Actions for Facebook only. We focus a little more on the image or graphic with ActionSprout Actions since it appears much larger on the Page, sometimes creating a shortened shareable meme that people can share as a picture rather than a link. Also, we don’t do targeted Actions on ActionSprout—actions that target a specific congressional district based on the signer—as the platform isn’t really made for targeting.

Tell us about a successful Action(s). Can you tell us what went into creating the Action(s)?

After news broke that Bill O’Reilly lied on numerous occasions, we put a petition together asking Fox News to suspend him. We thought this would be a good action because Brian Williams had recently been suspended from NBC for basically the same thing. The petition would not only target Fox News and Bill O’Reilly, but would point out the hypocrisy of Fox in continuing to let O’Reilly remain on the air after so many outright lies. We put together the petition language quickly while the news story was still big, found a good image for it and shared it a few times over that week or so, when the news story on O’Reilly was still being widely shared and talked about.

What did you learn from this success more broadly? Is there anything you do differently now?

It’s important to listen to your audience and take note of what stories they’re discussing and sharing most so that you can find actions that resonate with them. If a story is big in the news, it’s a good idea to ask yourself how to create a successful action around it.

It also confirmed that pointing out hypocrisy and double standards is important to our readers.

Do you have any advice for other nonprofits based on your learning?

Take note of what subjects and stories currently resonate with your audience and build actions based on that. If something doesn’t work, don’t consider it a failure—consider it a learning opportunity!

Top ways to share your cause on Facebook

My team and I at ActionSprout love meeting our customers. We have the honor of serving some of the most inspirational, hard-working nonprofits on Facebook. Most recently, we had the pleasure of getting to know Rachael Zoe Miller, co-founder of the The Rozalia Project for a Clean Ocean. We first got connected with Rachael and her organization through our Facebook ad credits project last November.

The Rozalia Project for a Clean Ocean has the mission of cleaning, protecting and ensuring that our oceans are thriving for a long time to come. Their work consists of cleanup, research, educational outreach, teaching, expeditions and more. For eight weeks out of the year, Rachael captains the American Promise, collecting data, cleaning the coastal waters and performing outreach.

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She and her team’s work is truly amazing. So how does all that translate into Facebook and digital strategy? We asked for her take on the ad credits, Facebook, ActionSprout and overall social media strategy.

How did the ad credit project change the way you approach Facebook?

This was a huge help and turning point for us. Being part of the ad credit program taught us about targeted audiences, the difference between curated and original content (and their places), and of course what tools are out there to help raise our odds of success and make the dollars we do have for social media count as much as possible.

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What inspired you to start using ActionSprout?

Two-thirds of the way into the program, I attended a program webinar that made me realize that ActionSprout would help us make our goals easier to reach and our progress easier to track. As soon as I started, I realized I should have started earlier!

How has using ActionSprout changed the way you use Facebook?

I am a data person and ActionSprout’s data is excellent. It has made me more efficient—with the ability to very quickly see how our own posts are doing in the Timeline section and see how others are doing in the Inspiration section. Seeing this post data has made a difference in the way I use Facebook, in that I am proceeding more deliberately and certainly in a more data-driven way rather than always guessing about the best times and strong content to post. After learning more about Facebook’s algorithm, I am also confidently posting more often, knowing that spamming people is hard!

What have been your biggest “ah ha!” moments over the last few months?

Three things:

  1. To only boost posts that have momentum, and to not do it too early.
  2. Adding my own thoughts and Rozalia Project’s values and philosophies (though not on every post) seems to be generating more interaction in the form of increased comments.
  3. 2–3 posts per day is the goal!

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What have been your biggest moments of success over the last few months?

Having our most liked, most commented on and most shared post with the biggest reach we’ve ever had! And, overall, having more interaction with our posts and seeing a 38% increase in Facebook likes and 41% in Instagram.

Anything you’d like to add?

Just a big, huge thank you to ActionSprout and Facebook for making this happen, sharing both generous funding and well-presented expertise! I hope you’ll send me an ActionSprouter or two to join us on board as a social media maven and as part of the crew for some cleaning and protecting the ocean this summer!

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We’re humbled to have played a small role in Rachael’s work and success.

So, how can your nonprofit replicate this kind of success?

  1. Aim to post 2–3 times a day on Facebook.
  2. Don’t be afraid to mix curated content with original content. Many Pages shoot for the 80/20 rule (80% shared and 20% original).
  3. Use the Inspiration tool to quickly find and share this content. The scheduler chooses the most optimal times to post.
  4. Use Timeline to know what’s working and what’s not. Make informed, confident choices with data!

Remember, always be your awesome self and bring your passion to the table. Facebook is a social network. Have fun, engage and don’t be afraid to try something new.

STAND Adds 700 New Names to their Supporter List

STAND, a nonprofit environmental group committed to protecting North America’s forests, has been a long-time ActionSprout user. Recently they enjoyed a very successful month in terms of supporter email acquisition.

In one month’s time, their team added 700 new email addresses to their supporter mailing list. We were so blown away by this success that we decided to sit down with STANDS’ Online Campaigner, Ashley Allison, who was a driving force behind their success.

This is what she had to say on her success, social media strategy and understanding your audience:

How has your strategy / options on Facebook changed over time?

When I started doing social media at the arts organization, we were actually still using Myspace (time warp!), so I moved us over to Facebook. We were primarily using it to promote our own exhibitions and events, and without full-time staff, were relegated to being infrequent posters.

When I joined the Sierra Club in early 2010, I began advising the Club’s local Chapters on social media, and eventually began integrating it into my work to promote local public lands and wildlife campaigns. I rarely ever had access to the pages; I was kind of a backseat driver.

As one of the founding members of the Club’s Digital Innovation Team in 2014, we got the chance to launch our own unique program within the Club—called SierraRise—and with it our own social media pages. That was the first time I got my hands on my own page and really drive a social media presence. It was also the first time I got to try testing: both curating content and producing unique content, and using our Facebook to drive advocacy with native tools like ActionSprout.

Tell us a bit about the STAND Facebook page. (What’s the audience like, what kind of content do you usually post, how do you measure success?)

STAND’ campaigns are in both the US and Canada, so our Facebook audience really reflects that. We’ve got an almost even split between the two countries, with a smattering of folks from Europe, South America, Asia and Australia.

We generally do three posts per day. I try to provide a nice mix of content, from both the US and Canada, so that we are catering to our core constituencies where we are organizing on the ground. The content is generally a mix of news articles, share-graphics (never underestimate the value of an inspirational quote), and ActionSprout actions. The Canadians are very fired up about democracy issues and the Harper government’s collusion with the fossil fuel industry. With the Americans, it is a little harder to judge where their primary interests are.

I don’t have any hard numbers for how I gauge success. For the big picture, I usually look at how our page is performing in Reach and Engagement on a week-to-week basis, as opposed to the day-to-day.For individual posts, I look at whether people are liking, sharing or commenting. There are definitely issues that I’ve found that work well (pipelines, Harper, wildlife) and others less so.

What did STAND do to add 700 new people to their email list with social actions?

When I joined FE in May 2014, they had an ActionSprout account but hadn’t really had the bandwidth to use it to its full capacity.To amp up its use, I made it a standard practice to begin making a corresponding Action for every one of our online campaigns.I also began a small social listening program, where I would look for breaking news around the issues we worked on, and would develop an action around those. I recruited our organizers and campaigners, asking them to give me a heads-up if they saw any interesting news around their campaigns.

A good example was when a story broke about how the mainstream media in Canada was not covering the constant oil spills in Alberta’s tar sands. We turned around an Action in an hour and started posting it. 678 liked or commented and 507 took the action.

Frequency has also been hugely important. We post Actions 4‒5 times a week, if not more if we have the space.

For context, what is your usual monthly average?

When we post an Action linking to one of our Action alerts (built in our CRM), the growth is minimal to nonexistent. I began my more aggressive ActionSprout program in November, so I would say before then, with infrequent posting and just using.

ActionSprout actions built from our campaigns (not the breaking news stuff). I’d say we would add about 200 new email addresses per month.

What did you learn about your audience from this experience?

  1. Our Canadians are probably slightly more willing to take ActionSprout actions than our US folks.
  2. We don’t do a lot of wildlife-specific action in our real-world organizing work, but our Facebook audience responds very well to those issues. Food for thought as we plan campaigns and decide on how we frame those.

What did you learn from this success more broadly?/ Is there anything you do differently now?

I’ll admit, at first I wasn’t sure about posting Actions almost every day. I was worried the engagement on our page would fall because I was sacrificing valuable real estate that I would normally be using for slideshows, articles and graphics that I knew would have high engagement rates.In the end, those fears have proven unfounded.

Do you have any advice for nonprofits that would like to use Facebook to help grow their email lists?

Be conscious of how you onboard these new email addresses. You don’t want to put all the work into getting these folks, only to lose them because they unsubscribe from the first email you send them. We actually have a templated welcome email that we use for these folks, and I change out the first sentence to reference which action they took with us and where they took it.For example: “You recently took action with STAND on Facebook to demand Canadian media shine a light on Alberta’s toxic oil spills…”

The unsubscribe rates from these emails have been very low—lower than I saw before we started adding that customized first line.

5 Effective Facebook Strategies for Museums

Museums have more of an advantage on Facebook than any other segment. Why? You have unbelievable content—more content than you could hope to post. And content is king on Facebook; nothing can topple or compete with content.

Despite the rumors, though, Facebook is not pay to play. If you’re taking advantage of your awesome content, you should be enjoying a healthy reach and engagement without the help of ads. What is true is that Facebook’s algorithm serves users content that the user finds most interesting, is likely to interact with, and that is of high quality. These five tips will help you hit all those buttons.

Use Video

Facebook is increasingly video-focused. Take your fans on exclusive tours and give them all the facts in a fun video. Better yet, use 360 video so that viewers can get an immersive experience. It doesn’t need to be a big production either; in fact, it’s often better if it isn’t.

For more on video.

Share, Share, Share. Post, Post, Post.

You can’t post too much on Facebook. Posting 3–5 times a day is plenty. What is really important is that the content is relevant to your audience, of high quality (interesting and put together well), and posted when your fans are online.

It doesn’t have to be all original content either; in, fact it’s better if you share from other museums and media so that you can compound the traffic. This is called content curation.

For example, if you’re an art museum, this is great content to share:

For more about content curation.

We also offer a scorecard of museums on Facebook. This is a great place to find content to share, or to find museums to emulate and learn from.

Show the Build

Everybody likes to see the setup. It is super interesting to see the exhibits come together and the care and artistry required to make them so spectacular. You can use commentary or a simple time lapse. Again, it doesn’t need to be a big production. Here are two great examples from The Exploratorium in San Francisco:

Think Mobile First

Almost all Facebook use is through mobile. Thus, you need to think mobile when creating content because that’s where your fans are. Upload videos directly to Facebook rather than using a link, so that content plays automatically. Make consuming the content as easy as possible (few if any clicks needed). Use 360 video (which is exclusively mobile) to make the experience immersive and fun. This also means that the content needs to grab the viewer’s attention right off the bat and it needs to be condensed. Not short per se, but powerful and condensed down to the points with the most impact.

Tell Stories

This strategy is a perfect fit for museums, as you’re in the business of storytelling! Telling stories pays your bills and turns the lights on! So it’s time to bring that power to Facebook. Stories, as you know, are the most powerful way through which we humans communicate with each other. Stories are significantly more memorable than any other form of communication. If you’re an art museum, tell the stories of your artists. If you’re a history museum, you’re nothing but stories—and epic ones at that. If you’re a children’s museum, show some great experiments that people can do at home and tell the stories of inventors. The list goes on and on.

Facebook was made for you. Your organization has nothing but content and stories to share with the world. Turn them into beautiful videos, images and articles.

Your organization was created to rock Facebook… you just need the strategy to do so!

Facebook reach

10 Easy Ways to Increase Facebook Reach and Engagement

Has your reach been declining? Have you been getting fewer likes, shares and comments? That’s when you need to channel your inner Rocky and bounce back in the later rounds. You truly can do it! It just requires attention, consistency and a bit of persistence. Let’s dig in.

Be Yourself

Remember to let your personality come through. Also remember to use guidelines to direct your responses to comments. That way, you show that you are a real person who is passionate about your mission while retaining a certain level of professionalism and consistency.

Call to Action

A call to action (CTA) compels your supporters to act. Asking them to perform an action gives them something to do other than walking away after consuming your content. Facebook has given nonprofit Pages a donate action for this very reason.

Use Images and Videos

Facebook is a visual place for storytelling and, just like movies and picture books for kids, nothing tells a story quite like imagery. Text matters for sure; images and videos, however, grab attention as your supporters are scrolling through their News Feeds.

Behind the Scenes

Social media is super popular for a reason, because it shows what goes on behind the scenes. There’s no need to ham it up—what you’re doing is interesting even if you don’t think so. Show the steps to your next great event, or the drama as you save a puppy.

Stay on Topic

You’re trying to highlight your mission and work. Your efforts should get people enthusiastic and inspired to pitch in, in any way that they can. Make sure that your content maps back to what’s important every time. And, remember to have a little fun too.

Curate Content

You should be sharing content from your fans, related organizations, media and thought leaders. You should even be reacting to your opposition. Sharing content raises all ships and make your Page the source of great news. Don’t forget to tag like this: @Org Name.

Keep it Simple

Overthinking and overwriting lowers engagement, period.

Schedule Your Posts

Scheduling posts allows you to set posts up and double check the copy before it launches. This gives you the chance to come back with fresh eyes so that you can catch that missing comma or flip folpped word. It’s also an opportunity to set up posts for the weekends and holidays.

Timing

If a post appears on Facebook and no one is there to see it, does it make a sound? Nope, so post when your supporters are online. Otherwise, your content vanishes into cyberspace. Look at your Facebook Insights or use the ActionSprout.com Smart Scheduler to help you.

Develop Evergreen Content

Having evergreen content in your back pocket for the lean times is always a great idea. This is content that never gets old (hence the name). Can’t think of what to post today? Pull out an evergreen post and repost it. Done!

Notice anything?

Did you notice something about this list? Each section is the average length of an optimized message on Facebook. Facebook will truncate any message that appears after this point, so the first few lines matter a lot! But see how much information you can pack into such a short message? Try it out yourself the next time you post 🙂

How to Grow Using Facebook? Do it with Purpose.

There is a lot of chatter about Facebook for businesses, particularly small businesses like local bike shops. Large organizations have money to hire creative staff and digital media managers, but an LBS, club team or cycling advocacy group will often struggle from a lack of experience, resources, time and money. We plan to change that.

We’re not going to discuss ads here (that is for a later article—and yes, they do work). A little bit of effort is required, but it’s only a little and the basic tool, Facebook, is free. The goal here is to smooth out your Facebook strategy and give you some tools to throw the hammer down on a very, very powerful marketing platform.

But first, a few starting points. You may not know it, but this is the foundation of your Facebook strategy:

Set intentional and serious goals for your efforts. It’s just like going on an interval training ride; approach it with purpose and you’ll see results. Facebook is a platform built for sharing and telling stories, of which you have no shortage. Images and video rule the landscape. Be a part of the community, off and online. Same as the weekly ride, if someone from the shop isn’t leading the ride, it will fizzle out because you aren’t taking part in it. Like anything, cycling included, if you don’t take it seriously, your level of performance will be low. That doesn’t mean you need to work really hard at it. In fact, it’s a lot easier to lead the pack on Facebook than it is to close the gap after being dropped.

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Goals

Broadly speaking, as an LBS, cycling advocacy group or club/team, you want butts in saddles and rubber on the roads and trails (or track, if you’re lucky enough to have one). That means more people on weekly rides, commuting and so on. To get there, you need a community that is energized about riding. And you need to be the source of that energy.

Without going too far into marketing theory, what you need is inbound marketing. Inbound marketing doesn’t mean being an annoying, interruptive salesperson. It means giving people what they want—sometimes they don’t even know they want it!—and letting them come to you because you’re the place for more great content. As it turns out, this type of marketing is longer-lasting and creates a stronger loyalty base.

This raises two questions: 1) What do they want? and 2) How do we deliver it?

They want stories, tips and tricks, new tech, and fun times. Look to some of the organizations that are doing really well on Facebook already: see the scorecard here. Start by following them and sharing their content (more on that in a moment).

For the delivery, Facebook is the way to go. There are nearly 2 billion users and they spend an average of an hour every day to get away, relax and share stuff that they care about (like cycling, of course). What this means is that Facebook is something that you should be taking seriously.

So let’s meet them where they are and give them what they want, in a way that they can understand and enjoy.

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Content

Your shop, advocacy group or club/team should be sharing content from every cycling-related organization that it can, three times a day, every day—at the very least. Follow Pages like GCN, Cycling Weekly, Cycling News, Velosurance, Bicycle Magazine, Slow Twitch and others. When something is awesome, share it, say something about it in the post, and tag the source and anyone else who may be interested.

This part of the strategy is called content curation, and it’s an easy way to hit the three-a-day minimum without a ton of effort. And to make it easier, we’ve put together a scorecard of nearly every bicycle-related Facebook Page, here.

You should also be making your own fun and informative content. This is called content creation. And it doesn’t have to be a big, expensive production. In fact, we often see an inverse relationship between the amount of time put into the production and the result. Just take fun pictures or a video with your smartphone on the weekly ride and share them. Use a bike-mounted camera and grab some great action video. Take video from around the shop—maybe have a mechanic do a quick tutorial. Host a spin session, record it and share it as an on-demand workout. Take a note from GCN and do some local Top 10 Videos; Top 10 Routes; Top 10 Pit Stops, Top 10 Hills, etc. The ideas are endless, and you’ll probably be able to come up with some more. If not, let us know and we’ll lend a hand!

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Community

You take part in the local rides―maybe you host one or two already—or have an annual race. This is the start of a great community. Offline, you should be helping people, especially youth, who can’t get into the sport for whatever reason. Be an advocate in your community for better roads and a better relationship between cyclists and drivers. The bigger your community gets, the more drivers will be cyclists or, at least, know someone who is.

Online, you should be taking part in the community too. Engage with people in the comments, share and like posts, and make a few comments yourself. Use ActionSprout to take action in your community with polls, petitions and donations to grow your cycling community and improve roads, or to build that velodrome you’ve always dreamed about (that’s a personal goal for me). Facebook is basically a continuous conversation and you should weigh in on things now and again to show that you are real and listening to your community’s concerns.

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Effort

Facebook, like cycling, is often a slow build. You may get a bump right from the start, but then things will level off and grow more slowly. The trick is consistently posting interesting and good, quality content. If you slack off in the winter, you’ll feel it in the spring when you’re getting dropped. Facebook is no different; it can be discouraging at times but there is help. Use tools like ActionSprout to stay consistent on Facebook. It’s just like using a trainer to stay tip-top all winter.

This part is where we come in. We have free tools so that you can find the best content every time, among other things. Sign up for a free account here. Once inside, you can follow your favorite Pages in the Inspiration tab (like those in the scorecard mentioned earlier). Then all you have to do is share three posts a day. Look for the ones with the highest above-average performance percentage—the higher, the better.

The Final Sprint

Facebook is a serious marketing tool. Our job is to help you to use it. Keep an eye out for a free training session in the next couple weeks, where we’ll go into the mechanics of all this. It’s one thing to say that you need to do this or that; it’s another thing to know how to do it. In the meantime, set up a free account and have a little fun with it!

facebook for nonprofits

Facebook for nonprofits: your need to know takeaways

Facebook launched a new website that’s focused on the nonprofit community. Facebook for Nonprofits is yet another resource aimed at nonprofits in the last year and is already proving to be a valuable resource for the community. The materials range in breadth and scope, and cover topics from fundraising to optimizing your Facebook Page.

This site is definitely something you’ll want to bookmark and reference in the coming year as you plan for campaigns, events and fundraising. It is broken into four easy-to-navigate sections: Getting Started, Raise Awareness, Activate Supporters and Raise Funds.

For now, let’s look at the top takeaways shared in each of the sections.

Getting Started

Takeaway #1: You can categorize your Page into sub-categories like Non-Profit Organization, NGO, Education or Political Organization.

While Page categories are first chosen when your page is created, it’s also possible to change them later.

Choosing the right Page category might seem insignificant, but it’s actually pretty important for your success on the platform. Having the correct Page category means having access to the right Page features and tools. For example, only Pages under the nonprofit category have access to the donation call-to-action button. (This appears on page and in ads)

It’s also a good idea to have the right Page category when reaching new supporters. You have one first impression with new supporters. If your Page isn’t accurate or well thought-out it can be off putting to supporters. At best, they’ll leave confused; at worst, they may leave thinking poorly of your organization.

Takeaway #2: Pages can celebrate milestones just like personal profiles.

This feature is a bit of a hidden gem that not too many Pages take advantage of. It’s a great way to celebrate a signed bill, a passed law, the opening of a new building or a big fundraising goal met.

Plus, once you have a few milestones created, this feature begins to be its own timeline of your organization’s success. How cool is that?

Takeaway #3: You can import your mailing list and invite them to like your Facebook Page.

Most nonprofits have a supporter list of some sort. Whether it’s your list of donors, volunteers or newsletter subscribers, this feature is especially powerful for newer Facebook Pages that are just starting out. This is one of the best ways to “transfer” that hard-earned list of supporters to this new piece of real estate.

Raise Awareness

Takeaway #1: A conversational, impersonal tone will win out over a formal, calculated one.

Practicing this style and tone will encourage more supporters to engage with your content and thus increase your overall reach:

“Facebook is a place where people connect with friends and communicate in a personal, casual way. Organizations tend to succeed when they also use a conversational, authentic style. Overly formal language can feel out of place. When writing a message, whether it’s funny or serious, think about how you’d write it to a friend.”

Takeaway #2: Many supporters view Facebook on a mobile device.

This means that your posts and content must be engaging and compatible on a small screen. If not, you’ll be missing out on a large section of your audience:

“Many people view Facebook on a mobile phone, so always consider what your post will look like on a small screen. Aim to grab attention with simple, short posts. Before linking to a website, check how it looks on a phone first.”

Takeaway #3: You can send posts to a subset of your audience.

Before you click the Publish button on a post, did you know that you could choose who in your audience will receive your post? This is a powerful way to further personalize and speak to your audience.

You’ll be able to select a specific target of people who like your Page by age, gender, location, language or interests.

Takeaway #4: If you have the content and resources, post every day.

The number one way to reach and engage more of your supporters on Facebook is to post more often. This means posting two to three times a day if you can.

“If you’re new to creating content for social media, aim for a post 2–3 times per week. Eventually, you’ll want to post daily to maintain a presence in your followers’ News Feeds.”

An easy way to jumpstart your increased posting is to monitor and share content from Inspiration.

Activate Supporters

Takeaway #1: If you want supporters to take an action, don’t bury your ask.

In English class, we were taught to craft elegant prose. We were trained to spin pages of logic and framing before presenting that killer idea. Take all that and flip it on its head. State your purpose and ask up front, then spin your prose and reasoning second.

“Don’t hide the call to action. Provide appropriate context for people to understand why they should act, but make sure the request for action is prominent.”

Takeaway #2: Encourage event attendees to talk about and share the event on Facebook.

It’s time to blur the line between the “digital world” and the “physical world.” Use Facebook to invite supporters to your real-world event and then encourage them to live post about the event while it happens to further engage the digital supporters who couldn’t make it.

Creating a strong link between your digital campaigns and physical campaigns will help boost each. Don’t keep them in separate silos.

Takeaway #3: Provide your online supporters with action kits.

Want volunteers to help you online? They’ll need some resources:

“Invite supporters to coordinate an event or activity on your organization’s behalf. To help manage your brand and reputation, provide action kits that supporters can use to make sure their activities are aligned with your goals. Include things someone would need to host an activity, like t-shirt graphics, printable brochures, promotional posters, gifts and more. Include instructions that explain how to use your action kit to create impact.

If cost of creating and shipping physical items is a concern, consider creating a digital action kit. You can use a file sharing service to upload resources and share the link on your organization’s Page or event.”

Raise Funds

Takeaway #1: When fundraising, show progress and impact.

How far are you from your goals? Is there a progress bar that supporters can reference? What impact do you hope this money will bring? What impact has your organization had in the past?

“You can use your Facebook Page to share both stories and statistics about how previous donations have helped your organization create impact. This helps people envision the value of their potential contributions.”

Answering these questions will also encourage supporters to stay engaged with the campaign and share it with their own networks. (All ActionSprout actions come with the ability to turn on a goal bar.)

Takeaway #2: Suggest a donation amount up front.

Allowing donors to select a default amount to donate can increase the overall number of donations you receive. Most—if not all—donation tools offer this option, so take advantage of it.

“Suggesting a few amounts people can contribute makes their decision to donate easier and removes one of the barriers to completing a donation. Consider your audience and the scope of your campaign when deciding on amounts to suggest.”

Takeaway #3: Your donation ask must feel urgent.

What will make your potential donors stop scrolling and pay attention? Once you have their attention, what will convince them to donate? If they feel like they can come back and donate whenever you’ve lost them, they will not come back. Instead, you must convey why they must make a donation now.

“You only have people’s attention for a few moments, so make the most of your time by being clear and inspiring a sense of urgency.”

While the strategies above are important, you’ll want to take the time to read through the website on your own. Facebook’s done an amazing job of compiling how nonprofits can best take advantage of what Facebook has to offer.

Following the listed strategies in each area of your Facebook Page and strategy will undoubtedly boost the overall performance of your organization’s FB Page.

How can Radio Broadcasters use Facebook better?

For most broadcasters Facebook is a black box of sorts. It’s something that requires participation and engagement in order to be successful. Yet, it can be hard, if not impossible at times, to know if the effort is on track. Below are three points to get you on your way to success, as well as how to measure it (we’ll dive deeper into measurement in another article).

Post Frequency

Try googling “Facebook post frequency,” and you’ll get around 159,000,000 results. Clearly, there are a lot of conflicting opinions about frequency! Some claim that you can post too frequently and spam your audience. Some say you just need one or two posts per week.

Facebook themselves have said that the statistically optimal posting frequency is three to five posts per day. This has been corroborated by our own data.

However, that is a very general statement and is intended to be broadly useful. The truth is that it depends: it depends on your sector, it depends on your content, and it depends on your audience. This number is simply a place to start and anchor your activity.

Here’s a little data to consider before we move on. The most engaging NPR stations (with an Average Engagement Per Post of 60 and above) post an average of about 33 times per day. Other news media organizations post from 14 to 45 times per day, averaging 29. That’s an average of 198 posts per week!

Why the discrepancy between the optimal suggested frequency or three to five and what news media outlets do in practice? Well, as a news outlet (sector), the readers (audience) expects that you will be frequently posting articles (content), of which you have no shortage.

As for the idea that you can spam your audience by posting too frequently, you cannot. The premise of this argument is that all of your audience will see all of your content, all the time; or, that your audience is making it a habit to manually check your Facebook Page a few times a day. This is not the case.

To keep the explanation simple, Facebook’s algorithm shows each post to a random sample of your fans; and, if the post is well received, it goes out to more, and so on. The more someone engages (liking, commenting and sharing) with your content, the more Facebook assumes they want to see your content, and thus more is delivered. Also, no one actually checks your Facebook Page. They see your content in their News Feed.

This is an extremely simplified explanation but, simply put, don’t worry about spamming people with too many posts.

Curation

As a broadcasting organization, you should be posting great content, frequently, seven days a week. Yes, that’s a lot of content, but let’s consider the 198 posts per week in the average mentioned above. This is where curation comes in. Original and local content is very important, and yet there are news stories all around from reputable media sources, which are often passed by when they should be shared.

Facebook is a place for sharing stories. Full stop.

Not only does your news/media team not have the time to write that much original content, but your team might also not have the expertise in-house to write about this or that topic. Additionally, it is a great way to piggyback on another organization’s reach on Facebook; don’t forget to tag the original source like this: @NewsSource (@NPR for example).

Timing

Timing matters. Again, this is an area of gross generalization. The statistically optimal time to post is 3 p.m. The truth, again, is that it depends on your audience. The ActionSprout audience responds really well at 6 p.m. Other organizations have found that early morning works.

As a broadcasting organization, it is best to have a post scheduled every hour from early morning to early evening. To determine what’s right for you, you’ll have to look at your Page’s Facebook Insights.

Goals and Measuring Success

As a broadcasting organization, your goal should be engagement; fundraising (we have a tool to make fundraising quick and easy, but that’s another article) will be a byproduct of engagement. The metrics you should focus on are: Engagement Score, Average Engagement and People Engaged.

How the Facebook algorithm ​really​ works (and why it’s not against you!)

If you manage a page on Facebook, you’ve probably had a rant (or few) about the Facebook algorithm. The algorithm is complex, keeps changing, is never transparent and you never quite know where you stand.

If you research strategies for how to grow your page and increase engagement, you’ll find advice that is all over the map. Post more; post less; only post images and videos; only post in the morning; tell people to “Like or Share” on every post; never include “Like or Share”; run contests; don’t run contests; keep posts under 20 words; longer posts are the way to go, the list could go on and on.

The one thing you’ll hear over and over again is, “the algorithm has changed again.” What worked yesterday isn’t working today so you’ll need to change your strategy again.

This can be frustrating to say the least!

What if I told you it doesn’t have to be this complicated or confusing?

Sure, Facebook will make changes to the algorithm, and some strategies will work better than others, but keeping up with Facebook and keeping your audience engaged doesn’t have to be difficult.

This guide will put to rest some of the most common myths and misconceptions surrounding Facebook. We’ll learn what the algorithm is all about and explore the reasons why Facebook does the things it does. Hopefully, by the end, you will have a better understanding of how Facebook functions and how you can make the most of it.

Facebook wants you to succeed on the platform. Let’s look at how to make that happen.

Table of contents

  1. What is motivating Facebook when they change the algorithm?
  2. How Does Facebook Filter the News Feed?
    1. Previous Interest
    2. Post Performance
    3. Your Page
    4. Type of Content
    5. Recency
  3. Serve your audience, not yourself
  4. Posting Secrets
    1. Repost what works
    2. Hard to spam
    3. Supporters don’t look at your page
  5. What this all adds up to

What is motivating Facebook when they change the algorithm?

One of the biggest misconceptions about Facebook is their intent. Many bloggers and social media trainers hold the belief that Facebook is against nonprofits. They believe that Facebook throttles the reach and engagement nonprofits receive on the platform to make them pay money to reach their fans.

This thinking is not only incorrect, but unfortunately, it also leads organizations to take a defeatist attitude towards Facebook.

What is true is Facebook is very loyal to their user base – as they should be! Facebook’s number one goal is to have its 1.5 billion users keep coming back to Facebook and spend more and more time on the site each day. In fact, their goal is quite similar to your goal. You too, want supporters to keep coming back to your content and spend time with it each day.

To do that, Facebook works incredibly hard to give their users the best content possible – and so do you! Giving users the best possible content is the algorithm’s job and understanding how it works and why Facebook continues to hone this system is essential to getting the most out of Facebook for your organization.

Does the algorithm do its number one job? Yes. If you look at Facebook usage numbers, you will see each month its users are coming back more often and staying longer. Does Facebook always get it right? Of course not, they’re human. But their intentions are good.

How Does Facebook Filter the News Feed?

Understanding how and why Facebook makes changes to the news feed is the key to getting better at creating content that will help you accomplish more on the platform.

First off, it’s important to note that if it were not for the algorithm, your news feed would be completely overwhelming. Currently, Facebook can show roughly 300 posts in the user’s news feed each day. But due to the number of friends people have and pages they follow, Facebook has to choose from roughly 1,500 possible posts from that person’s network to show them.

That means the average post is only seen by 6.51% or less of that page’s fan base.

The algorithm has over 100,000 highly personalized factors that it uses to decide which users see what pieces of content. Luckily you only need to understand five concepts to understand the algorithm overall:

Previous Interest

The algorithm measures a user’s past interest by paying attention to what each user engages with over time. In making decisions on what content to include in a person’s newsfeed, Facebook wants to know whether the user has ever engaged with posts that are similar to the new one.

The more a person engages with your content on Facebook, the more your posts will show up in their news feed. This cycle helps pages build real relationships with Facebook supporters. Facebook makes these previous interest calculations for each user based on every post they have ever engaged with. So, your content strategies must take the interests of the individuals’ you aim to engage with into account as well.

Two of the most important questions you can ask yourself each time you post are “why will the people who see this engage with it?” and “what value will they get from engaging with it?”

There are a number of reasons people engage with content, but one reason dominates them all. People engage with content on Facebook because they want their friends and family to see them engaging with. For your posts to earn engagement, the act of engaging with it (liking, sharing and commenting) must provide value to your supporters.

Post Performance

Post-performance boils down to one maxim – the more users there are that engage with a particular post, the more likely other users will do the same.

When you post something that earns good initial engagement, Facebook takes this as a positive sign and will share it with even more of your audience’s news feeds.

In fact, early performance of a post might be the best predictor of whether other users will want to see and interact with your content.

Your Page

If other users have engaged with your previous posts, Facebook will be more likely to show users your current content. Facebook’s algorithm is continually judging your Page and the more your audience likes your stuff over time, the more likely Facebook will share all of your content more broadly.

One key strategy to help your page succeed in this way over time is to focus on sharing highly engaging content on your Facebook page. Some organizations have trouble doing more than press release-style posts, and that will hold them back the one time they have a great post to share.

Be sure to build off successes. Repost high-performing content.

Type of Content

There are several categories of Facebook content: status updates (simply text), links, photos, and videos. The algorithm makes a note of the kinds of content a person regularly engages with and then shows them similar content.

For example, if you, as a user, have engaged with a lot of baby photo posts from your friends, you will likely see a lot more photos (and probably baby photos) in your news feed in the future. If you get a lot of your news by clicking on link posts and going to the articles, Facebook will show you more link posts.

Different people like different types of content, which mean your job is to post a variety of content types. You want to engage all of your fans, no matter what type of content they prefer, so don’t be afraid to try all different types of content.

Recency

Some people think this refers to how recently the content was posted, but that’s not exactly the case. What the algorithm takes note of is the recency of post engagement. For example, a post may not get a lot of engagement right away, but as people start to engage with it more, the algorithm notices this, and the self-fulfilling prophecy of the engagement cycle takes over.

No one can tell you how often to post or even how many times to post each day. Generally, more is better, but it will take some experimenting. The best way to determine this is to make use of the data Facebook provides in your page insights and use that to guide your posting behavior.

Serve your audience, not yourself

If I told you that Facebook is a social network, you certainly wouldn’t argue. But the truth of the matter is that Facebook is a platform* of* social networks. Users come to the site to connect with people, organizations, and content they care about. In short, to succeed as a page manager, you must serve your audience, not yourself.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of serving yourself as a page manager rather than your audience and supporters. What does this look like? Well, it looks a lot like using your Facebook page as a soapbox, talking* at* your audience, not with them.

Facebook is not a broadcasting tool; it’s a community tool.

To protect against this, bake your supporters into your content and posting strategy. Asking yourself these questions will help you head in the right direction:

  • What subjects do they care about right now? What are they already talking about and sharing that pertain to my cause?
  • What types of content do my supporters enjoy the most? I.e. Images? Videos? Articles?

These two simple questions will keep you in the right headspace to fully connect with and engage your supporters on their terms, where they are currently at.

The best way to answer these questions and keep a pulse on your supporters is to use the Inspiration and Timeline tools offered inside of ActionSprout. These tools quickly show you what your supporters are currently talking about and in what form(s) they consume their content.

Posting Secrets

Now that we understand the philosophy of using Facebook let’s look at some tangible ways to post better.

Repost what works

When you notice one of your posts over performing, repost it! We suggest reposting a piece of content as long as the reach and engagement are growing or the same as the original post. Once reach and engagement start to drop simply stop reposting.

Why repost?

When you repost a piece of content, it will reach, and, therefore, engage, a different slice of your audience than the first time you posted. In this way, you are increasing the reach and engagement of that post without having to spend a penny on ads.

When we say “reposting” we don’t mean deleting the old post and posting it anew. We simply mean resharing your very own high performing content like you would from another page.

Hard to spam

Now you may be thinking, “Isn’t this the same thing as spamming my fans?” No, it is not. It is actually relatively hard to spam your followers on Facebook. The Facebook algorithm is sophisticated enough to know that the content you are reposting is the same piece of content you posted before. Therefore instead of delivering it to the same audience as last time, the algorithm will look for new folks in your fan base that would also enjoy that piece of content.

As we said up front, Facebook’s number one goal is for users to keep coming back to Facebook. Delivering them spammy content is not a way to do so. Therefore, Facebook doesn’t want to spam your followers as much as you do.

Supporters don’t look at your page

The next question is usually, “won’t it look strange to have multiple of the same post on my Facebook page?” The answer is, yeah it might, but no one will visit your page to notice. The thing is supporters don’t spend time on your Facebook page. In fact they rarely, if ever, visit it.

Users spend most, if not all, of their time on their own news feed. That is where they see and interact with your content. And by reposting your high performing content multiple times you ensure that more of your supporters will see your content in their news feeds.

What this all adds up to

We’ve covered a lot of material! Hopefully, you understand Facebook a little better and have some new ideas and strategies to try. Let’s wrap this up with the core idea: Facebook wants you to be successful. Your success means more great content on Facebook. Great content is good for users, and it’s good for business!

I’ll say that again: Facebook wants you to succeed at creating great content. Their entire platform depends on having good content they can use to fill countless hours of their 1.23 billion users’ time.

So, if you focus on creating and posting great content that number one serves your audience, you’ll find Facebook really can be a highly effective channel for reaching, engaging and capturing supporters.