400% increase in organic reach after one week of content curation

If you’re not already practicing content curation on your nonprofit’s Facebook Page, you absolutely should be! Content curation is the practice of finding and sharing high-performing content from other Pages. This practice allows you to post more often and increases your Page’s reach and engagement. This case study shows the effects it had on Northshore Veterinary Hospital’s Facebook Page after just a week of practice. (If you’d like to dig into the strategy of content curation further, this article is for you.)

Northshore Veterinary Hospital’s Facebook Page

Brita Kiffney is one of the lovely veterinarians at Northshore, and is responsible for managing their Facebook Page. We had the pleasure of sitting down with her one day and diving into their Facebook Page and strategy.

When we first spoke to her, she was posting as little as one post or fewer per day. When she had the time to upload an original picture of one of her patients, she would do so. If she didn’t have time that day, she wouldn’t. But even with how little she posted to their Page, they still enjoyed solid engagement from their fans. This told us that Northshore’s Page had a ton of untapped potential waiting to be unlocked.

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Learning to Curate

After meeting with us, Brita decided to give ActionSprout, and a content curation strategy, a try. Here we’ll walk you through the steps that she took to get her ActionSprout account and new strategy off the ground.

Following Pages

First, Brita had to follow the right pages through ActionSprout. Fine-tuning who she followed was the key to the rest of the strategy working. After all, these are the sources whose posts she should be sharing on Northshore’s own Facebook Page! Ensuring that they posted content that was on topic and tone, compared to their own Page, was really important.

Brita landed on the following mix of Pages:

  • Fellow veterinarians that she respected
  • Local and national humane societies
  • Pet publications
  • Fun Pages that posted cute pet videos and images

This mix of followed Pages gave her an awesome sampling of fun and serious material to post to Northshore’s Page. (We call this the broccoli and cheese strategy.)

Using the Inspiration tool inside her ActionSprout account, following these Pages was as simple as typing in names and keywords:

organic reach

Once followed, Brita was even able to add custom tags to the Pages. She tagged the fun Pages as such, the fellow vets, and so on. Now if she was short on serious material one day, she could sort by those tags and only surface the content options that applied.

Scheduling the Content

Once she had her followed Pages, she figured that it was time to start scheduling! Finding the right content to post to her Facebook Page was as easy as browsing through her new Inspiration feed, and sorting and filtering as needed:

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When she found something that she liked, she simply clicked the share button on that piece of content. This opened up the sharing menu, where she could schedule the post for the next time when most of her fans and supporters were on Facebook:

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How did the tool know when her fans and supporters were on Facebook? Facebook gives this data to all Facebook Page managers. When connecting your Facebook Page to ActionSprout, ActionSprout is able to look at this data and pull out the best times for you.

The Day to Day

With everything in place, Brita was able to pop in and out of the app as needed. On busy weeks, she could come in on Monday and schedule three to four posts for each day of the week. When she had the extra time, she would pop in once every day or so and schedule things as they came up.

And, as always, when she had cute pictures of her patients, she published them.

The Results

We were blown away by the results after just a few days! Through the use of ActionSprout and her new content curation efforts, Brita was able to increase her posting frequency to a consistent four to five posts a day! The ActionSprout app allowed Brita to schedule posts for the entire week so that, as she got busy, her posting stayed consistent. Consistent posting is key to consistent reach and engagement on Facebook.

The results are astounding! The highlighted day on the graph, April 28th, was when Brita added an additional four posts a day of curated content to their Facebook Page. As we can see, her organic reach sharply goes up from there. All in all, she enjoyed a 400% increase in organic reach on their Page:

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She also noticed a change in engagement on their Page. The number of likes, comments and shares on their posts noticeably increased.


Content curation can feel uncomfortable for many nonprofits when starting out. It feels counterintuitive at best, and like stealing at worst. What we have to keep in mind is that Facebook is not a traditional communications channel.

Facebook and social media in general are social spaces where ideas, content and stories are freely shared among users. Sharing is hardwired into Facebook; proper attribution is automatically included and the sharing of worthy content is expected.

Most of all, the results speak for themselves! So, what are you waiting for? Start your own content curation strategy today and start seeing the same success as Brita at Northshore Veterinary Hospital.

Powerful way to grow your supporter mailing list on Facebook

AlterNet receives more than 1.5 million unique monthly visitors and more than 7.5 million monthly page views. Recently they launched a campaign to grow their mailing list with ActionSprout social actions. In a week’s time they had already collected 7,000 supporter email addresses!

How did they do it?

AlterNet ran a series of petition and demand based political actions focusing on federal policy and local reform. Each action was posted to Facebook at least 3 times. Overall they posted an action to Facebook every day.

To support this level of activity AlterNet aimed to create a least one new action a day. Once in the groove of things each action took less than an hour to make.

Let’s look at two of their most successful actions.

Co-Sign This Letter of Demands to Pres. Obama on the TPP

This action was posted to Facebook three times of the course of a week.

  • 2,670 people engaged with the post (likes, shares and comments)
  • 4.645 supporters viewed the action
  • 1,795 supporters completed the action
  • Completion rate: 38.6%

Thank Elizabeth Warren & Senate Dems Who Opposed the TPP

This action was posted once to Facebook and received 2,000 shares.

  • 9,248 people engaged with the post
  • 10,193 people viewed the action
  • 1,838 supporters completed the action
  • Completion rate: 18%

Actions for List Building

As you can see, social actions are a powerful way to engage supporters and build your mailing list. If you’re willing to put in the time and get in the practice of creating effective actions your hard work will pay serious dividends in the future.

What if your organization isn’t “a AlterNet?” Are these results still possible? Yes! List building isn’t just for large, powerhouse pages.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Post each action multiple times. This will increase the number of people who see your action and thus can increase your reach and engagement. Don’t worry about the same people seeing your post every time either. Facebook has stated that a new portion of your audience will receive reposted content, making it hard to spam your followers.
  • Keep things fresh with new actions. It’s fine to create evergreen actions that you can post multiple times. (In fact you should be doing this!) But it’s also important to be creating new actions that take advantage of timely stories and trending content. These types of actions tend to perform the best and will receive the most engagement. Shot for creating one new action a week and work your way up from there.
  • Learn what kinds of actions your supporters respond too. AlterNet tends to post petition and demand actions because that’s what their supporters respond to. Your supporter might respond to letters and thank you actions. The thing is you’ll never know until you test it! Be sure to test different action types until you hit on what works.
  • Post an action to Facebook everyday. This follows the same logic as number one. The more your post the more opportunities your giving supporters to see your actions. Check your Facebook – Insights and learn what time of the day your supporters use Facebook. Test morning vs night to see which one leads to more completions. Finding your sweat spot may take time but it will be worth it in the long run.
  • Always experiment and test new strategies. Facebook is constantly changing. What works now may not in 6 months or a year. The key is to stay fresh, try new things and keep up! There’s no easier answer to this so have fun with it and listen to your supporters.

How much is a privacy policy worth?

If you run campaigns through ActionSprout, the privacy of your supporters is something you have to think about. ActionSprout is a powerful social engagement tool that helps you reach and interact with real people and collect data, both implicitly and explicitly, as supporters interact with your social content.

This information is made available to you so that you have a complete picture of who is supporting your work. It’s important throughout your relationship-building process with your supporters, to respect people’s privacy and not misuse any information you may have.

How much thought have you put into your privacy policy?

Working America Upgrades its Privacy Policy

Not too long ago, Working America decided to update the privacy policy on its actions.

The old one was as follows:

“By providing your name and e-mail address, you are joining Working America. As a member, you will receive updates and action alerts on how you can help build a better future for working families.”

This privacy policy really isn’t too bad. It’s a bit short, but it clearly states the need to know information. Working America knew it could do better though. So after much thought and a few drafts, the organization revealed its new privacy policy:

“By adding your name, you are joining Working America. As a member, you will receive updates and action alerts on how you can help build a better future for working families. This app asks for access to your friend list to make it easier for you to share this action if you choose; your friend list is never stored. If you choose not to authorize the ActionSprout app after clicking above, just hit cancel and you can still sign the petition.”

The new one now includes much more detail. It explains how certain information is used and why it’s asked for, and how to complete the action manually without authorizing the ActionSprout app. These were both issues that their audience was sensitive to.

The Result

After writing the new privacy policy, they sent it into the wild with the following action:

They were overwhelmed by the response. Just over 3,000 people took the action! That’s around three times more than their average with their old privacy policy.

Why did it Work?

According to a study by the Association for Consumer Research:

“43% [of subjects] indicated that the presence of a privacy policy alleviates their concern, while only 10% [of subjects] indicated that privacy policies do not affect their propensity to disclose.”

This suggests that privacy policies really do hold some weight. But that’s not the only reason Working America’s new privacy policy led to such a positive response.

They listened to their supporters and acted on what they learned.

Working America’s supporters were worried about two things:

  • That taking the action required their Facebook Friends list.
  • That taking the action meant authorizing the ActionSprout app.
  • Both were holding supporters back from completing actions for Working America. The new privacy policy addressed both.

The Issue of the Friends List:

This app asks for access to your friend list to make it easier for you to share this action if you choose; your friend list is never stored.

The Authorization Issue:

If you choose not to authorize the ActionSprout app after clicking above, just hit cancel and you can still sign the petition.

Their supporters’ worries were not only acknowledged, but explained and put to rest. Now nothing but disinterest was holding potential supporters back from completing actions.

The Takeaways

We hope you now understand the importance of privacy policies and the difference one can make. In order to reproduce this kind of success, listen to your audience, address their concerns and put some honest thought and time into writing your privacy policy.

Why Following-up with Supporters is Important for Nonprofits

When your organization wins a major victory, what do you do? Celebrate? Throw a party? These are both normal reactions to a victory, but do you take the time to stop and thank your supporters?

These folks helped make the victory possible, so it’s important to reach out to them and thank them for their support. In a way, they’re a part of your larger team, so including them in the celebration is only natural. In this case study, we will look at two organizations that did just that.

The Petition that Started it all

Recently there has been public pressure on companies to cut ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). ALEC is a nonprofit organization that drafts legislation at a state level. Many people find fault with the organization due to its anti-climate change messages and legislation supporting pollutive energy over newer, cleaner options.

Recently, eBay joined the ranks of those companies asked to dissociate from ALEC. Mom’s Clean Air Force and League of Conservation Voters both ran campaigns urging their supporters to demand eBay to drop ALEC.

Shaun Dakin from MCAF shared that this was their first push against ALEC and eBay. They had

“started with traditional email and actions using engaging networks as the platform”.

For LCV, ALEC was an established enemy amongst their supporters. Kristin Brown from LCV stated:

“The petition on the whole went well, in part because I think we’d already introduced ALEC as a bad guy by the time this campaign launched. Our members were quick to jump on the issue because they already knew what kind of organization ALEC is and the work they’ve been doing to halt climate change progress at the local level.”

Both groups’ actions were successful at engaging their supporters and moving them to action on Facebook. LCV reported that:

“More than 2,000 actions [were] completed via ActionSprout, a large chunk of which were new to our list. The posts themselves received more than 6,000 likes/comments/shares and were very well received by our audience.”

The Victory

Due to the public pressure from these petitions and others, eBay announced that it would sever ties with ALEC. The battle had been won!

So what happened next? I’m sure the folks at MCAF and LCV were celebrating in their offices, but what about their supporters who helped make it happen?

They did not forget them! Both organizations followed up on Facebook, announcing the great news and celebrating their supporters with statements like: “Thanks to YOU” and “We want to thank the more than 2,000 who joined us.”

Mom’s Clean Air Force took it a step further by crafting its follow-up message as another call to action.


Shaun Dakin from MCAF stated:

“Once eBay announced that they were not renewing we immediately went to Facebook via ActionSprout to thank eBay and let our supporters know that they had an impact.”

This engaged and moved even more people to take action by thanking eBay for its decision. The conversion rate on this action was a whopping 72%! (For context, anything over 30% is considered good conversion.) This action took it above and beyond.

Thanks to the positive impact of their campaign, MCAF plans to publish follow-up actions in the future after major victories such as this one.

LCV felt the same way, sharing that they:

“Would have expanded upon this campaign and done an email alert or two. That would have made our role in getting eBAY to leave ALEC feel more concrete, which would have given us more to report back on. It would have been great to do an email-specific report back to a larger audience.”

Kristin went on to say:

“When you have a fight you think you’re likely to win, go out on all platforms (email, social, mobile) so you can report back on all platforms.”

We couldn’t agree more! Reaching supporters on as many platforms as possible is always a good idea. It’s important to reach them where they feel the most comfortable, and in this day and age, that could be numerous places.

So why is the follow-up important?

Sure, it feels nice to be thanked and have our work and support recognized. It can boost our confidence and make us feel good about ourselves – but is that all?

I would argue that there’s more to it.

The Winning Team

Supporters like to support those whom they view as the “winning team”, because it makes them feel like they’re winners too.

Don’t believe me? Think about sports teams. Did the Seahawks win a game or did I win? Well technically the Seahawks did, but regardless, I feel like I won too! The relationship here is created because I feel like I am part of the team.

In terms of nonprofits, it’s even more so. I can “join” the nonprofit team of my choice by donating to them, signing their petitions and volunteering with them. I would feel more involved with this team than that of the Seahawks, because to some extent I can directly influence their work for the better.

By posting victories and success stories, you’re positioning your cause as the winning team. It also gives back to your team of supporters and recognizes them as being part of this victory. Over time, this builds up a group of loyal supporters – or shall we say team members?

Here are some of the comments from folks enjoying their win.

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Supporters will continue to support organizations they feel good about and are confident in.

If month after month, year after year, people can’t see the progress that your nonprofit has made, they will probably get discouraged and stop supporting you in favor of someone whom they think can get the job done.

The sad part is that this probably isn’t even true: your organization is making progress towards your goals all the time, but your supporters don’t know that because you never update them! It’s your responsibility to keep folks in the loop. That’s why it’s so important to publish victories on Facebook, especially ones that your supporters helped bring about.

Some supporters were so confident because of this victory that they started suggesting future ways that LCV could fight ALEC.

LCV supporter

We Just Like to be Thanked!

Here are the three keys to any human being’s heart:

  • Genuine appreciation
  • Truly listening
  • Understanding

Supporters like to be thanked for their support, donation and hard work. This is more than a warm fuzzy feeling; it means money. If you follow up with and thank supporters, there’s a much higher chance that they will support the organization in the future.

In one study, previous donors were 19% more likely to donate again and gave around twice as much as people who hadn’t donated to that charity before. Which brings me to my next point…

Build Lasting Relationships

Your goal should be to forge lasting, long-term relationships with folks, not one-time supporters.

Think about how much easier it is to keep the folks you already have onboard happy, by giving them recognition and saying “thanks” often, versus what it takes to bring in completely new supporters each and every time you need something. In terms of time and money, you’ll want to maintain the existing relationships.

Long-term supporters are your grassroots team of evangelists; they are as passionate about your cause as you are. They tell their friends and family about your organization and encourage them to get involved as well. It’s important to keep these folks happy and confident in your cause.

By posting the victory and thanking folks for their support, MCAF and LCV brought back supporters that had signed the petition to re-engage a second time. In the process, they began a relationship with these supporters and reminded them of their cause and mission.

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Parting Thoughts

The moral of the story is that your supporters are part of your team, so treat them as such.

Share your victories with them and thank them for their support in getting you there. It’s as simple as a follow-up post on Facebook.

How have you celebrated victories in the past while making your supporters feel special? Let us know in the comments!

Jewish Voice for Peace Shows the Way to Fundraising on Facebook

By Drew Bernard, CEO ActionSprout

While ActionSprout has had a donation tool for over a year now, we just weren’t seeing signs that Facebook users were ready to pull out their credit card while checking their newsfeed. And the fact that the vast majority of Facebook users are accessing the platform from their mobile devices has made donating on the social network even more of a hassle for most users. Have you ever tried filling out a mobile form on the L train? – yikes!

That’s not to say Facebook hasn’t been playing an important role in many NGO’s fundraising efforts, it has. NGOs have found Facebook to be a powerful channel for acquiring new email supporters. They have also found that those Facebook acquired supporters have a high propensity to donate via email which is why this has been our recommended strategy for quite some time.

Continue Reading…

How to grow your supporter list through Facebook Advertising

At over 120 years old, the Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t have to work hard on Facebook advertising and marketing!

It wasn’t easy for them to reach the point where they can post content on their Facebook page and instantly see thousands of people engage, like, share, and join the conversation.

Over time, however, what they discovered is that…

Facebook is better for reaching new supports rather than soliciting for donations.

Wow! What a revelation! With nearly 300K fans when they contacted ActionSprout, it was obvious that they’d tried a gauntlet of strategies to convert Facebook fans into fundraisers.

The List-Cleaning Mission

Over the past year on the side, the club worked hard to clean out and refresh their email lists; reactivating or sun-setting hundreds of thousands of inactive contacts and replacing them with fresh newly engaged supporters.

Here’s what Benjamin McHugh, Director of Online Fundraising, told us about these efforts:

“These were some of the lowest costs we’ve seen for acquiring new prospective donators and fundraisers in a long time and we were surprised that the quality was actually on par or better than other paid list acquisition methods we use.”

Great, so with these two things in mind, Benjamin McHugh, or BJ, worked with the ActionSprout Team to use targeted Facebook advertising coupled with specialized social actions to cost-effectively reach and convert new Facebook fans into email contacts! Here’s the initial goal and what happened over a two month period.

Initial Client Facebook Advertising Goals

Acquire new ‘emailable’ prospective supporters and keep costs per new person under $2.

Results Delivered

  • 43,690 people engaged with action posts.
  • 15,264 people took action.
  • 6,972 new contacts added to Sierra Club lists.
  • 5% completed actions emailed to them in 30 days.

Acquisition Costs

  • $0.22 per person engaged.
  • $0.66 per action taker.
  • $1.43 per new unique email address.

What was really interesting is that roughly 5% of their new contacts took additional direct actions from email appeals and gladly moved further down the path to becoming full-fledged donators!

Making Life Easier for the Sierra Club

Like most nonprofits, the Sierra Club team has little time to spare. In turn, BJ needed a way to execute his Facebook acquisition aspirations in a way that wouldn’t put additional strain on the already overworked social media staff.

The ActionSprout team augmented the existing efforts of the social media teams — allowing for this list building to happen with no additional time required by Sierra Club staff. In fact, the ActionSprout team provided a few more high-quality posts each week, increasing productivity!

The Art & Science of Compelling Actions

With access to large amounts of data, we were able to quickly swoop in and efficiently create action recommendations that were highly relevant to the audience Sierra Club wanted to reach. The only work for Sierra Club staff was to simply approve the content and schedule it for posting to their Facebook pages. ActionSprout did everything else!

Ad Management & Posting Optimization

One of the challenges with Facebook advertising is predicting and controlling conversion costs. For the Sierra Club audience, our ad services focused on driving action takers at a fixed and predictable $1 or less cost.

The ActionSprout team uses an array of highly targeted ads and advanced custom audiences to ensure the content was reaching people that are most likely to support the Sierra Club and complete the actions.

Because all the actions were run inside the Sierra Club’s ActionSprout account, BJ enjoyed ready access anytime to monitor performance and sync the new activity and contact records into his CRM system.

Can nonprofits make a difference on Facebook?

As we were saying goodbye to 2014 and ushering in 2015, three organizations— NARAL Pro-Choice America, CREDO and UltraViolet —were hard at work fighting to protect our right to an abortion in the United States.

On January 6th, Mitch McConnell would be sworn in as the Senate majority leader, and they knew what would be on his agenda: a 20-week abortion ban.

This proposed ban threatened to undermine one of the most important Supreme Court cases, Roe v. Wade. This ruling affirms abortion as a constitutionally protected right.

The U.S. House of Representatives had passed a 20-week abortion ban in the past, so it was likely the Senate could pass one now, that it was under anti-choice control.

No one wanted to wait around and watch that happen. There was work to be done!

On the same day that Mitch McConnell was sworn in, NARAL was ready for action. They launched a petition to their supporters on Facebook, asking them to oppose McConnell’s plan to pass the ban through the Senate.

UltraViolet launched a petition of their own, as did CREDO, asking folks to stop Mitch McConnell’s attack on reproductive freedom.

And the wave of signatures came in!

By January 21st, just 16 days later, over 140,000 signatures had been collected! Now it was time to deliver them to Mitch McConnell himself.

The NARAL team marched down to Mitch McConnell’s office door with 140,000 signatures in hand.

Hours before the vote was set to take place on the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the anti-choice House Republicans were forced to abandon their abortion ban bill.

This won’t be the last time anti-choice Republican leaders try to stop women from making their own decisions about their health and lives; but, together, we helped put conservatives on the defensive.

The moral of the story?

Real change is possible through social media and online petitions.For more information on creating effective calls-to-action, please see our guide.

4 Ways to Make Your Facebook Fans Look Amazing!

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!

7 Tips to Inspire Your Facebook Supporters into Action!

Can a few simple modifications to a Facebook social action drastically improve the number of supporters driven to take action?

Simple answer: Yes!

Here’s a great example of how one organization improved the performance of their Facebook social actions by 300%!

What is Social Engagement?

First, let’s talk briefly about how we track social engagement on a Facebook page. Engagement is the foundation we build success on, so understanding it is key.

It’s made up of four things:

  • Likes
  • Shares
  • Comments
  • Post-clicks

Engagement is important because it influences how many people a particular action will reach on Facebook. The more engagement an action has, the more people it will reach, increasing the number of people who have the chance to take action.

Now, without further ado, let’s get to our example!

First, you might want to put on a couple more layers of clothes, because it’s about to get chilly! We recently worked with Polar Bears International, a Montana-based organization dedicated to saving these gorgeous creatures.

polar bear header

They launched a successful social action campaign during Polar Bear Week, annually held the first week of November. The first Facebook page social action they posted inspired…

  • 1,142 people to like, share, comment and/or click on the post.
  • 161 ended up completing the action and providing their contact information.
  • Conversion rate was 14.1%

Given the size of their Facebook page and engagement activity, those are solid results — but we thought there was room to do even better. We analyzed that first effort and made a few simple changes to its format and content — all based on lessons from some of the best nonprofit social media managers. The results:

  • 1,980 people engaged with the content through likes, shares and comments.
  • 577 people completed the action and provided their contact information.
  • Conversion rate was 29.1%

Our simple little changes to the post and action increased the response rate by over 300%. How cool is that! These changes weren’t dramatic and were the kinds of things anyone can do.

The Post: Before and After


As you can see the before post really isn’t too shabby. The key to social action optimization is in the fine details. There are many seemly small things you can do to optimize for success. Let’s look at how we changed the action and the 7 tips you can use to get the same results, or better, on your own Facebook page.

Tip #1: Paint a Clear Call to Action (CTA)

Providing a clear call to action early on in a post (substantially) increases the chances of a person seeing and completing it. Look again at the difference between the two, see how much more our CTA communicates urgency and reward?

The vast majority of Facebook users are first seeing while scrolling through their News Feeds on mobile devices. By immediately explaining exactly what the action is, and why completing it will make a difference, we increase the number of people that follow through.

The best actions have a clear directed “target”. They provide an easy explanation. Expressing urgency, having an emotional hook, and using powerful language will boost supporter engagement and participation.

Tip #2: Use Powerful Images

Pictures are still worth a thousand words, but on the internet pictures have the power to go much farther and faster.

See how the second post uses a more sympathetic and shareable picture? We went with vibrant colors, a clear illustration of the impending problem, and cute polar cubs with their mommy for a perfect fit.

When in doubt, you can reuse a photo that you’ve seen work before on your own Facebook page or elsewhere. Remember, the more engagement, the more potential action takers!

Tip #3: Leverage Link-Posts

There’s a growing debate about whether link posts are better than photo posts. Well, link posts generally do a better job at driving action. Users seem to prefer this format because when they click on the image of a link post, it takes them to the social action page.

For this reason, Facebook chooses to prioritize link posts, noting that these posts receive twice as many clicks. And, from a Facebook page manager’s perspective, it gives yet another opportunity to add a title and more of an action-description below the image.

Use that extra real estate to your advantage!

The Action: Before


The Action: After

after action cap See how much more emotionally engaged the second is? It grabs your attention, and you can literally FEEL something as you read it.

Tip #4: Set Goals

Using goals is an age old trick to drive up form completion rates on online petitions. Notice that the second version of our action post set a clear goal. When a problem seems too big or overwhelming, people are less likely to respond.

Posts where the action is presented as “bite-size yet meaningful to the cause,” is where we’ve seen posts and social actions gain traction. Goals make users feel like their individual actions will add up to something bigger and result in change.

Tip #5: Blatant Privacy

People care about their privacy and their data. Right? This is the case more and more as time moves forward. The second version has an explicit privacy statement that many supporters appreciate because it tells them exactly how their data will be used.

Tip #6: Motivate Your Supporters

If you want to TRULY understand what causes people to take action, start with yourself. In our better performing post, the language below the image is far more detailed. It presents the problem, provides a solution, and moves supporters to take action to make that solution a reality.

This action also used emotion and a sense of urgency to motivate the audience to engage and get involved.

Tip #7: Explicit Button

In the end, the button matters. See how on the second action, we revised the button to be both simpler and more straightforward? Doing so makes it clear that the person is signing a petition when they click the button – dummy-proofing at its best.

Bonus Tip: Tap into Comments!

For extra brownie points, Polar Bears International enabled commenting on the post-action page of the second version of their social action.

This gave supporters a way to personally express themselves after completing the action. Cool thing is, every comment also shows up on their friends’ News Feeds. This helps increase virality and sharing. Moreover, people are more likely to share when they have an invested interest, which a comment helps to provide.

By making this simple change to their social action, Polar Bears International increased the number of supporters who took action on their Facebook page over the course of Polar Bear Week. With a goal of 25,000 signatures before December’s climate talks in Lima, Peru, the organization is well on its way to making a significant impact, one Facebook page user and action at a time!

Remember these tips next time you want to whip your Facebook page community into action:

  1. A Clear Call to Action
  2. User Power-Pics
  3. Leverage Link Posts
  4. Goal-setting
  5. Blatant Privacy
  6. Motivation
  7. Explicitly Button
  8. Use Comments

How to Get Less Expensive Facebook Engagement!

Democratic Governors Association (DGA) Gets 31% Lower Cost Per Acquisition!

What’s the deal?

Not only have they been generating and capturing a ton of Facebook engagement with their supporters…

…they’ve also been doing some smart and focused testing in order to understand how to optimize their efforts.

We’re excited to share some of their results with you.

Quick Overview:

DGA works to elect and re-elect Democratic governors. As of this writing, they’ve got about 230,000 Facebook fans. In May and June DGA ran 11 campaigns on Facebook, each of which promoted with 1-3 Facebook wall posts.

Their Facebook Engagement Results

  • DGA’s ActionSprout posts were seen about 2M times; 1.6M impressions the result of Facebook promoted post advertising; 400k organic impressions.
  • DGA’s campaigns engaged about 58,000 supporters total; over 9,000 taking actions (providing name, email, contact permission); the balance liking and commenting on campaign posts (which lets DGA capture name and Facebook ID).
  • Of the 58,000 people who engaged, 80% engaged with only one campaign; 10% engaged twice and another 10.3% engaged 3+ times.
  • Of the 9,377 people who took action on a campaign, 90.8% took action just once, 6.1% took action twice and 3.1% took action on 3+ campaigns; 9.2% of action takers that took action more than once were responsible for 21.2% of the total actions.
  • About 1.5% of 1.6M impressions resulted in a clickthrough to the action, and about 34% of people who clicked went on to complete the action. Over 50% of action takers went on to share their action with their friends.
  • 43% of views on DGA’s campaigns came from mobile devices.

Their Costs

DGA spent about $16k on Facebook promoted post advertising with ActionSprout links, and had an average cost per acquisition of $1.53.

56% of ActionSprout campaign action takers were new to DGA’s master list, resulting in a cost per new name of $2.74.

DGA’s Mark Giangreco had this to say:

“The ActionSprout team built an easy-to-use, powerful platform that allows our supporters to take action without ever having to leave Facebook. By putting our supporters first, ActionSprout lets us generate great results. We’re using ActionSprout to run more effective, more efficient list-building campaigns that fully leverage the power of social media. It’s challenging us to rethink the way we advertise on Facebook.”

ActionSprout vs. Offsite Landing Page


Not only did DGA achieve solid results, they also did some smart testing of their posting and advertising tactics.

DGA ran a number of tests comparing an ActionSprout-powered campaign against a traditional campaign where they tried to drive supporters from Facebook to a website landing page to sign a petition.

Both campaigns included a post-action “up-sell” in the form of an online donation ask. DGA created two posts, identical in all respects except one post contained a link to an ActionSprout campaign and the other contained a link to a traditional landing page.

Then they promoted each post to an identical demographic audience.

DGA found that the ActionSprout campaign significantly outperformed the off-Facebook website landing page in terms of effective Facebook engagement.–especially on the all-important metric of cost per action.

  • The ActionSprout campaign generated 402 actions at a CPA of $1.11.
  • The offsite landing page generated 290 actions at $1.61. So, how is DGA paying so much less for such higher quality Facebook Engagement?

While the conversion rates of the posts were nearly identical, the viral boost ActionSprout provides…

…where actions generate a variety of Facebook notifications to supporters’ friends, meant that ActionSprout was able to drive action 31% More Cost Effectively than driving people to a traditional outside-of-Facebook petition.

How about them apples?