Facebook is always changing and unveiling some new nifty way for nonprofits to reach, capture, and cultivate meaningful relationships with their supporters.
Today it’s easier than ever to combine email marketing (not the spammy kind) and Facebook outreach strategies.
And, the positive impact of a tight knit Facebook + Email community continues to grow as Facebook marches on to become a dominant marketing tool.
To be frank…Facebook is chocolate; email is peanut butter. Together they’re the most digitally delicious peanut butter cup ever!
Organizations that treat Facebook and email as entirely different channels for reaching and engaging supporters are missing out. Those that successfully merge their email and Facebook efforts find themselves with far more benefits than they at first know what to do with!
Why Facebook Increasingly Supports Email Outreach
It’s only natural to just about everyone at this point to merge aspects of social media with email.
Facebook is moving quickly to make it easier for companies to leverage the information and networks of its 1.2 billion users in ways that add REAL VALUE to all marketers: both nonprofits and for-profits.
Consider the important changes Facebook has made to its:
- Open Graph
- Search technology
- Terms of Service
- Advertising tools
And on and on. Like everything else intertwined with web culture…it’s adapting.
If you look closely at the procession of changes/updates, you quickly see the direction the company’s going.
Simply put, you can capture data and interact on Facebook today in ways almost no one saw coming 12 months ago, especially in the realm of integrated email marketing.
The 3 ‘Marketing Buckets’ of Facebook
That said, let’s dig in. Here’s the basics of Facebook outreach. See anything similar to email marketing?
- Reaching your target audience through relevancy and authenticity.
- Cultivating more productive relationships with supporters.
- Capturing data to evolve these relationships on and off Facebook.
Simple enough. Now let’s go through each and along the way unearth ways you can combine the two.
Reaching Your (Flesh & Blood) Audience
Example: ActionSprout helped Sierra.Rise run an email campaign that drove supporters to a post on their Facebook page instead of a petition page on their website.
You catch that?
From email to public Facebook page instead of their website. For users this means we stay in our comfort zones – email to Facebook profile.
The post itself included a clear Call to Action (CTA) that went beyond mere clicks, Likes, Shares or Comments by asking people to sign a petition directly inside Facebook.
- The post itself outperformed any other published on their Facebook page in months.
- They grew their page (community) with high quality supporters.
- They captured the names and Facebook User ID’s for every person that clicked Like or Commented on the post itself so they can track their engagement over time.
- They captured the email address of every person that “signed” the petition.
- They re-engaged existing supporters and captured data to help them better understand their interests.
How To Do This: Drive people to take action on your Facebook page instead of a petition form on your website. Sierra.Rise drove people to a post where they could like, comment and share before clicking through to complete the action on their ActionSprout tab. This created buzz around the cause, introducing it to folks that wouldn’t have heard about it otherwise.
Cultivation & Email Marketing
Stop being content with using Facebook pages as nothing but places to “build awareness” of important causes!
Listen, Facebook knows that its paying customers require real and measurable returns on their advertising dollars.
As a result, they’re making it easier to reach target audiences and engage them in ways that go beyond Like, Share and Comment by using the new Custom Actions Feature.
Hint: Most first experienced Facebook’s new custom actions when they started seeing stories in news feeds about friends listening to songs on Spotify.
By giving platforms like ActionSprout the ability to add new actions for people to take directly in News Feeds, Facebook opened up the ability to build deeper relationships with people right inside our comfort zones.
ActionSprout is among the first to leverage Facebook’s latest API’s, custom actions, and the open graph to support the unique engagement and email marketing needs of nonprofits.
Capturing Supporters & Igniting Action
ActionSprout provides ways to capture data, including email addresses, from people that take meaningful action for a cause or candidate on Facebook.
Most organizations have been investing in building Facebook communities for years.
They’re sitting on tremendous amounts of pent-up (and growing) value locked away inside Facebook in the form of fans and communities.
A study done by NTEN and M+R in 2012 showed Facebook fan growth of 46% –far outpacing email marketing or list growth.
However, to capture email addresses of people on Facebook you NO LONGER have to drive them off to a website or app where they fill out a form and hit submit.
Driving people to take action on or off Facebook, by filling out a form has always fallen flat for two primary reasons:
- The completion rates on these forms are very low whether they reside on the organization’s website or are hosted on an app on their Facebook page.
- These forms are almost always a viral dead end, which defeats the entire point of Facebook.
This means, if you’re lucky enough to have a post on your Facebook page that does drive people to take action from it, it will simply fail to be shared and spread. In other words, the more successful organizations are at creating posts that drive people to take the action, the less viral it is!
Facebook Offers a Cost-Effective Email Marketing Strategy
Their API’s give people meaningful actions to take directly from their newsfeed!
We can then capture data without forgoing the viral impact of people engaging and sharing content directly on Facebook.
In the past, few organizations looked to Facebook for list growth. This isn’t because they haven’t wanted to grow lists using Facebook –it’s because there were no good ways to do it!
Times have changed.
Nonprofits that use ActionSprout can now log into their ActionSprout account, or connected CRM, and quickly find their most active Facebook supporters.
- On average, each post that includes an ActionSprout powered call to action converts 5-20% of the total number of people that engage with the post.
- So, if an organization’s post has 100 people Like, Share or Comment, they’ll receive 5-20 new email addresses from people that were ready to engage even more.
How Email Marketing Adds Value to Facebook Outreach
When an organization posts something to their wall, Facebook only delivers it to 6.5% of their audience.
That’s like having an email list with a 93.5% bounce rate.
Sure, you can pay to get that message seen by more fans, but the fact that individuals are bombarded with an average of about 1500 pieces of content each time they log into Facebook, means “viewer-blindness” kicks in.
- Email is and will be the most direct and controllable means of reaching supporters electronically for quite some time.
- The amount of money currently being raised on social sites like Facebook is minuscule compared with the ever-growing amount of money being raised via email.
- Direct mail still dominates fundraising but email is growing in importance. The good news is that by using Facebook hand in hand with email, organizations enjoy the best of both worlds.
Benefits of Multi-Channel Reach and Engagement
Although email-open rates have remained steady at 15%, click-through rates have dropped to 7%.
Facebook is working furiously to give marketers new ways to target existing email supporters on Facebook at the same time that those marketers are working to reach them via their email inbox.
- A study done around #GivingTuesday last year showed organizations that used social channels along with email produced 10X the donations on that day.
- Other studies put the value of a Facebook fan at $161.30 over a 12 month period.
- Those 5 to 20 new email addresses you gain for every 100 people clicking Like, Share or Comment adds up to an impressive increase in revenue very quickly.
At ActionSprout, we help people leverage Facebook’s ever-changing advertising potential, but, one thing is clear: one of the most powerful ways to target users on Facebook is to target those individuals that already have relationships with an organization.
Each month (and often each week) Facebook releases some new feature or permission that open up new possibilities.
It can be a bit daunting to think about what the future holds for organizations that depend on electronic communications to engage supporters.
But, we can honestly say, the future is bright.