Please note: This feature is currently only available to US users of Facebook.
Earlier this year, Facebook quietly released a new feature called Town Hall that they hoped would encourage US users to become more involved in elections.
“The feature is available to all U.S. users on desktop and mobile, and will now include News Feed integration….Facebook also announced it’s launching local election reminders for the first time, to encourage users to vote in state, county, and municipal elections.”
For the most part, this hasn’t been a very visible feature so far. Most users of the site probably didn’t even notice the new “Town Hall” icon in their left hand menu:
But, that may be about to change. Facebook pages with the category of “non profit organization” now have the option to include a call to action, to contact a representative, in their Facebook posts.
That’s right. Your nonprofit Facebook page can add a Contact button to your posts that points to a representative supporters can start a conversation with.
Let’s look at all the bells and whistles of this exciting new feature, shall we?
As the screenshot below shows, nonprofits now have a “Town Hall” icon they can select to add the call to action:
Start typing a name and Facebook will suggest matching representatives on Facebook:
Once you’ve selected your representative you’ll have the opportunity to fill out the rest of the post. This is a great place to include your theory of change! State the issue at hand, layout a reasonable solution and give supporters an easy way forward to help make a meaningful difference. Like contacting their local Reps!
Here’s an example of what the post will look like once published.
A couple of things make this post really unique. First, we see a cute phone icon and “Contacting Senator Maria Cantwell” at the top of the post. Next we can see how many people have already contacted this representative. Lastly we find a call to action button embedded right on the post:
When supporters click the Contact button, they will be shown a screen with some options to do so. Do note: there is an option to start a conversation using Facebook Messenger!
When a supporter selects the Share button, they are able to create their own call to action post encouraging their friends to reach out to this representative as well.
Now you’re probably wondering, “But what happens if the person I select isn’t one of my supporters’ representatives?” The answer is, Facebook has your back!
In the example below we’re looking at a call to action to contact a state representative from Texas. Because I don’t live in Texas, Facebook doesn’t give me the contact button like before. Instead that button prompts me to find my Reps.
Doing so takes me to the Town Hall page inside of Facebook. At the top of the screen Facebook has found 10 of my representatives on Facebook. I have options to follow these people or start a conversation. I’ll also see how many of my Facebook friends have connected with a representative in the past. In this case I have 52 Facebook friends who have.
It’s not hard to see that this is one of Facebook’s many responses to the 2016 and 2017 elections in the US and European Union. It will be very interesting to see how this succeeds, or not, in getting more people involved in their country’s elections.
More interesting though, will be how nonprofit Facebook pages step up and leverage this powerful feature! Unlike Facebook the company, you and your organization probably have a much closer relationship with your audience of supporters. This puts you in a very unique, and powerful position, to drive and influence behaviors in your supporters. So take your newfound knowledge and go make the world a better place, you nonprofit hero you!