Facebook posting

Why your nonprofit needs a daily Facebook posting goal

Do you have a daily Facebook posting goal? If not, you should. Keeping a daily posting goal is one of the easiest ways to maintain consistent levels of organic reach and engagement on your Facebook page. It can also keep your supporters engaged with you and receiving your content in their news feeds!

Still, coming up with ideas for what to post can be difficult. Here, we’ll cover the best ways to keep a daily posting goal that can help you to maintain a healthy Facebook page and to accomplish your larger organizational goals.

Posting inconsistently can cause dramatic spikes and drops in your organic reach and engagement.

One of the things we hear the most often from nonprofits is the desire to maintain a consistent level of organic reach and engagement on Facebook. Many are tired of the extreme spikes and drops in their metrics and wish Facebook could be normalized when it comes to the reach and engagement earned each time they post. At the moment, it can feel like the roll of the dice which is the last thing anyone wants before posting a large, important campaign post!

To make matters worse, organic reach has been dropping for many Facebook page managers. Not only do they desire consistent reach and engagement, they want it to increase!

The good news is that keeping a daily posting goal can help normalize and improve the organic reach and engagement you earn on Facebook. Posting the same number of times each day (including on the weekends) gives you the same number of opportunities to earn organic reach and engagement each day. This helps to smooth out the spikes and drops experienced when posting inconsistently or missing days all together.

Consistent posting each day can also increase your organic reach and engagement over time as you’re giving your supporters more opportunities to see and engage with your content. The truth is that if you post on Facebook but your supporters are not online to see it, they likely will miss your post and will never get the chance to engage with it. Facebook moves so quickly that it’s likely to get buried – even more so if the last time you posted to your Facebook page was a number of days ago!

Therefore, posting consistently a few times a day opens up the number of opportunities you’ve given your supporters to engage with your cause. This, in turn, can increase and normalize your organic reach and engagement.

Posting inconsistently can decrease your number of active, engaged supporters.

Not only can we increase and maintain our organic reach and engagement by posting consistently, we can also retain our most active, engaged supporters on Facebook. Building on the first point we covered, you can begin to lose active supporters on Facebook if you don’t give them enough opportunities to see your content and engage with it.

With the way the Facebook algorithm currently works, a supporter who hasn’t engaged with your page’s content in some time will slowly stop receiving your posts all together. Why is this the case? Facebook uses a number of behavioral triggers to decide which of your supporters receives which of your posts in their news feed. One of the behavioral triggers is post engagement. If they haven’t engaged with your page in a long time, Facebook takes this as a sign that they are no longer interested in your page and it’s content.

The problem is, posting inconsistently can falsely cause this to happen. Your supporters aren’t necessarily any less interested in your cause, they just haven’t received any of your content because the few times a week your page posted, they missed it.

Therefore, posting consistently a few times a day increases the likelihood of your supporters receiving at least one of your posts and engaging with it. This keeps them engaged each day and receiving your content on their news feed.

Posting consistently can increase the success of your top campaigns!

Too many organizations make the mistake of only posting when they have a campaign to share on Facebook. The problem is, as we saw above, this leaves too much time for your supporters to become disengaged and stop receiving your posts, especially if a number of days or weeks has gone by without a single new post on your Facebook page!

The way Facebook currently works, it’s really important to keep posting consistently and keeping people engaged in between your larger campaigns. Doing this ensures that there are still engaged supporters left when you share your donation appeal or petition asking for signatures.

There is also a second principle at play here. Supporters who follow you on Facebook expect to receive valuable content in their news feeds. That’s the number one reason they are following you! If you fail to give them this assumed value, they may not be very forth coming when you ask for help with your next campaign. Think about it, if an organization only asked you for help or money while never giving you any value in return, you’d start to feel less positive about that organization.

We call the mix of this content “The Cheese and Broccoli Rule.” While kids don’t want to eat broccoli by itself, if you add cheese, they start to like it a lot more. Similarly, if you’re not posting fun content of value, in other words, the cheese, your supporters are much less likely to take the broccoli, which is your important campaigns.

Wrap up

As you can see, posting consistently each day on Facebook can have a huge impact on the health and success of your Facebook page overall. Simply setting a daily posting goal can ensure that your supporters are engaged and ready when you have an important campaign to share. It can also retain and further grow your relationships with already engaged, passionate supporters in your cause.

While you don’t need any special tools to set a daily posting goal, ActionSprout does include a built in daily goal tracker. This can be an easy way to stay on top of your goal if your organization has an ActionSprout account.

GIVING TUESDAY

October: Giving Tuesday Strategy

This guide is part of a series of guides designed to get your nonprofit ready for #GivingTuesday. If you haven’t read the first few guides in the series we strongly suggest you start there as the following guide will make more sense.

We’ve come a long way since June! To quickly recap our progress we’ve:

  1. Developed and implemented a content curation strategy
  2. Learned what to look for to measure the success of our posts
  3. Discovered how putting as little as $5 a day into Facebook ads can lead to big results
  4. Started engaging supporters on a deeper level with social actions

Hopefully all four of those wheels are still spinning. By now your Facebook page should be almost ready for your big #GivingTuesday campaign. This month, we’ll take a look at what we learned from playing with social actions last month, and combine it with donation best practices to create killer messaging around your #GivingTuesday campaign.

Learning from social actions

Analyzing the successes and failures of our social actions may feel a lot like the content analysis we covered back in July. Once again, we’ll be taking a look at social actions through the lense of the ActionSprout app, but the things we’ll cover apply to any action platform you use.

What metrics to look at

The three top metrics you’ll want to look at are:

  1. Engagement (Likes, comments, shares)
  2. Views
  3. Completion rate

action metrics

We’ll compare these metrics to each other to determine what parts of your flow are working (Facebook post, form, completion), and what’s not. This will help you pinpoint your weak spots and give you a chance to strengthen them before next month.

Scenario #1: Post engagement is higher than form views

You’re on the right track! Your post is doing its job (mostly).

You now know the subject, tone and format were correct because it caught people’s eyes, made them stop scrolling, and engaged them to the point where they felt compelled to leave a reaction, comment, or share. That was a tall order in and of itself!

The problem is, comparing this post engagement to your low number of form views tells us the post didn’t do a good enough job getting supporters to click.

There are two main possible reasons for this:

Unclear or missing call to action:

  1. Was it clear to supporters that they needed to click on the post and take some form of action?
  2. Was the language of your call to action clear?
  3. Did you have a call to action on the post at all?

Unconvincing / non-urgent call to action:

  1. Your call to action might have been clear and present, but was it urgent or convincing enough?
  2. Does your data show that supporters were interested in the topic, but they didn’t feel compelled to act?
  3. Can we make this stronger?

Scenario #2: Post engagement and views are about equal but conversion rate is low

Your post is rockin it! Not only did it make folks stop scrolling and pay attention, you compelled them to engage and investigate taking greater action by viewing your form. The problem is, very few of these folks actually went ahead and completed the action. You lead the horse to water but it didn’t drink.

What happened?

The form didn’t deliver what they expected

Make sure there isn’t a mis-match in what the post promised and what the form delivered. This mis-match is commonly called “click baiting.” It’s the practice of overselling or mis-communicating what the form will be once they land on it. Make sure your messaging and call to action are consistent between the post and the form.

The form messaging failed to move them to complete the action

The form itself wasn’t compelling enough. The petition language was weak, the final call to action was lackluster, or the pieces as a whole just didn’t come together. It’s important to keep your language strong throughout the process!

The form was confusing

Once supporters got to your form they became confused. The call to action no longer made sense. Did one call to action turn into multiple? Did sign the petition turn into sign and attend the event? Did the messaging around the call to action confuse the core ask?

The form was not mobile optimized

This one is the most painful! Your supporters wanted to complete the action but couldn’t because your form wasn’t mobile friendly! A super easy way to check this is simply bring the form up on your own phone. It’s also a good idea to ask a few colleagues to pull it up to double check different types of devices.

Scenario #3: Conversion rate is high but post engagement is low

Now, this may or may not be an issue you need to fix. Sometimes causes and particular supporters just don’t translate to high post engagement. They’re completing the action so the main goal is being accomplished!

However, we also don’t want to leave value on the table. Lower post engagement is an indication that the post could be stronger and pointing even more people to your form.

A few things to look at:

Does your post have a strong call to action?

  1. Looking at your post, would you know you needed to click and complete the form?
  2. Is it clear what is being asked and why?
  3. Is your call to action urgent and reasonable?

Is your image attention grabbing?

1.Would your image make you stop scrolling through Facebook? 2.Does it grab attention and make you want to engage? 3.Have you tried testing different images?

Combine these lessons with fundraising best practices

Hopefully you’ve now isolated some weak spots and found areas to improve upon. Now let’s take all that and rollin some fundraising best practices. There are a four main principles you’ll want to roll into your #GivingTuesday campaign. Donate for change

Your supporters, no matter how loyal they are to your organization, are really donating to effect change on an issue they care about. Ask them to donate to the cause, not your particular organization.

“Chip in”

It’s been shown in some nonprofits tests that using the word ‘donate’ actually reduces donations. Try something like ‘chip in’ or ‘pitch in’.

Set a goal

Set targets for donations and outcomes achieved. Targets put your campaign in perspective. No matter how much or little someone gives, they know they are chipping away at the set goal. They can easily see that their donation had an impact.

Directed

It helps if the donation appeal is directed at a specific goal, e.g. keeping open a children’s hospital, saving a local park, passing legislation, etc.

Wrap up

That was a long one! Be sure to take the time this month to go back through your social actions from last month, learn what you can and combine that with the outlined fundraising best practices. This should leave you with a killer donation ask for #GivingTuesday.

Next month’s post will be a recap and checklist of all the material we’ve covered up to this point.

Webinar: Best Practices for Fundraising on Facebook

Webinar Recording:

Notes and Resources:

following up with donors

The importance of following up with donors

What does your donation cycle look like? Does it end when folks donate? Or do you follow-up and begin to build a long-term donor relationship?

Following-up isn’t the end of a Donor Cultivation Cycle…but perhaps the true beginning.

That said, in this article we’re focusing on nothing else but the follow-up, and how nonprofit social media masters and page managers can leverage the full power of their Facebook action takers and donators.

The 5 Truths of Following Up

  1. Follow-ups are as important as the ask itself and call-to-action, so give them due respect.
  2. Folks followed-up with are more likely to continue supporting your cause turning them into long time supporters.
  3. Donations and support actions aren’t one-off things.
  4. Showcase support and the progress made thanks to contributions.
  5. Even a smidgen of personalization goes a looong ways! Include their name!

It’s too easy to let the digital divide hide our true humanity throughout this whole process.

The people on the other side of the screen are part of your team, and without them your mission wouldn’t have the same reach.

Denise McMahan spells it out this way:

“Many fundraisers don’t realize that the preparation for and conducting the Ask is 25 percent of the process and follow-up is 75 percent!”

Donators have already given, so asking for more without first giving them something in return is pushing the envelope…and rude.

The Art of the Thank you

However you decide to follow-up with supporters make sure to hand-tailor it!

Your follow-up should do these things is a positive, upbeat, and jovial way:

  • Genuinely and authentically thank the person for their act of generosity.
  • Put their choice and the ongoing (in-play) results on a pedestal.
  • Send additional value-heavy info, or requested data about your cause.

In short, treat them as you would treat the team member sitting beside you. They’re now a part of the fold; the tribe; the clan…

Follow-ups aren’t marketing letters. They’re not brochures. They’re not sales-speak. They’re not an opportunity to get more, and more, and more from superficial vapid ‘profiles’ on the internet.

Allison Gauss paints a clear picture:

“Thanking donors isn’t just the polite thing to do, it’s the smart thing. One of the top reasons donors gave when asked why they stopped donating was that they were never thanked for their previous gift. At the very least, every donor should receive a thank you email, which can be easily automated and segmented.”

Let that sink in for a minute. One of the top reasons donors stopped donating was because they were never thanked for their support. Not following up with folks, and simply thanking, them is literally costing you money in lost donations.

That’s why it’s so important to follow-up and thank folks! Make sure it’s genuine, authentic and personal!

Gauss goes on to say:

“As stressful and time-consuming as a fundraiser can be, it can be tempting to simply move on when the deadline arrives. But if you’re not connecting with your community and learning from your results, you are missing out.”

By all means be systematic, strategic, and coordinated with your donor and supporter cultivation efforts. But, don’t lose that sincere human aptitude to show appreciate and follow through with people who have done you and your nonprofit cause a pure good.

GIVING TUESDAY

September: Giving Tuesday Strategy

This guide is part of a series of guides designed to get your nonprofit ready for #GivingTuesday. If you haven’t read the first few guides in the series we strongly suggest you start there as this guide will make more sense.

Last month, we covered how to use Facebook ads with a light touch, to give your page a little extra boost before November. This month, we want to move from passive engagement to active engagement with your cause. This will move more of your supporters to a place where they are likely to donate on #GivingTuesday.

What we’re covering this month will draw heavily on the engagement ladder concept. If you’re not familiar with the concept, we’d encourage you to check it out. It’s not necessary to be successful this month, but a lot of this will make more sense with further context 🙂

Note: This month’s activities will require outside tools beyond Facebook.

Introduction to social actions

Social actions are any calls to action that encourages increased engagement in your cause from supporters. Social actions can range from polls, to petitions, to donation appeals. The key here is to meet your supporters where they’re at, without asking them to do anything they’re not ready for. Thus, with donation appeals being on the heavy side of things, we’ll want to start working up to that right now, well-before November.

It’s absolutely possible that your Facebook supporters are already at the donation level. This process will help you discover where your supporters stand before November.

For our purposes here, we’re only going to show you how to do this through the ActionSprout interface. If you’re using a different platform or host similar appeals on your website, the following principles will still apply.

There are three big “Weights” of social actions:

  1. Lightweight actions: directly build on the social experience of Facebook (Polls, questions, Sproutlets)
  2. Medium weight actions: directly tie back to your cause (Petitions, pledges, letters)
  3. Heavyweight actions: take supporters to the next level of engagement with your cause (donation appeals, event attendance, volunteering)

This month we’ll dive into buckets one and two. (We’ll get to bucket three in November!)

Crafting a social action

We use the word “crafting” on purpose. Creating a successful social action is a blend of art and science. We’ll cover the “science” portion here by sharing with you the best practices we’ve learned through our own data and experience. The “art” portion will come later as you try this for yourself.

Every Facebook page has a unique cause and a unique audience. As such, not even the most agreed-upon best practices will work for 100% of nonprofits, 100% of the time. Instead, start with best practices and test them on your audience. Did they work? How well? How can you tweak them for even better results? Through some trial and error you’ll find what works for your unique audience.

With that being said, STEP UP is how we remember our formula for the best social actions:

Screen Shot 2016-08-02 at 6.24.24 PM

Sharable:

Your supporters on Facebook are keenly aware that everything they do on the site is public. As such, they work carefully to sculpt their profile and activities on the site to create the persona they wish to display for the world. This practice governs whether they will engage with or share your content. As such, we like to say that your social actions should do two jobs:

  1. Serve your cause.
  2. Make your supporters look awesome doing it!

For example, if your supporters shared your social action (and gave you free reach!) would it reflect positively on them? Would it make them look awesome to their friends and family?

Targeted:

Your call to action needs to be easy to understand. There should be no question what you’re asking supporters to do and why. What’s the issue at hand? Who’s the petition directed at? In short, spell out what actions they need to take and what will happen when they do.

Emotional:

Supporters are more likely to act when they feel an emotional response, whether positive or negative. As such, the most successful social actions trigger an emotion in the supporter.

Personal:

Answer the question, “so what?” Why should your supporters care about this? Why should they engage? How will it affect them personally? Your messaging and call to action should address these questions.

Urgent:

If a supporter feels like they can come back to the action later, you’ve lost them. They are not coming back. Your goal is to make supporters stop scrolling through the news feed, pay attention, and take action. Now.

Possible:

Your social action must be believable. If it’s too outlandish, folks will think it’s a joke. If it’s overly optimistic, folks will view it as a pipe dream and give up before they’ve even started. Your call to action should aim for a reasonable change. If a supporter completes your action there should be a reasonable chance of real change.

Example: “Join to end world hunger” vs “Pitch in $10 to put a hot meal on a local family’s table tonight.”

See the difference?

Wrap up

Try a few lightweight to medium weight social actions this month and record what you learn along the way. We’ll use these lessons next month as we develop the language around your #GivingTuesday campaign.

Hint: A great place to start, if you’re unsure, is with successful past campaigns or topics your supporters are currently talking about.

campaigns on Facebook

The keys to successful campaigns on Facebook

Nathan Mackenzie Brown, founder of Really American, shows how running petitions with donation upsells can have a huge impact on Facebook, for organizations large and small. Learn how to see success in your own campaigns on Facebook.

Meet Really American

Really American helps concerned citizens defend truth, democracy, social justice and the environment against the corruption, fraud and lies that Bernie Sanders exposed to the American public during the 2016 presidential election.

Campaign goals:

The goals of this campaign were three part:

  1. Grow Really American’s email list of supporters
  2. Use a donation upsell immediately after the petition to raise money to cover the ad costs required to push out the campaigns.
  3. Try to make more in donations than was needed to put back into ads.

Impact:

From April 1st to July 25th, Brown worked hard to meet the goals above. The results blew us away. In the end he:

  • Built an email list of over 49,000 supporters
  • Acquired over 500 donors
  • Made $2,722.57 in donations after what he spent on ads

According to Brown:

“Typically non-profit organizations and political campaigns will pay $1-$2 to acquire email leads. I actually made about $.06 on average per email address I acquired during this time period. Someone who works in the digital consulting world on political campaigns heard about my results and thought they were impossible until he saw the analytics screenshots from my Facebook ad account. I’d say accomplishing results that are so good as to be considered impossible is reason to be happy!”

Results like that are something to be happy about!

Approach:

During the project, Brown launched over 80 different petitions, coupled with donation up sells. What do we mean by “donation up sells”? Any supporter who clicked on his petition would first be asked to sign and support the cause. Then, on the following thank you page, they had the opportunity to pitch in a few dollars as well.

“I ran upsells right after people signed the petition where I asked people to donate money to help get more people to sign the petitions. I chose this method because I saw Change.org doing this on their petitions and I have seen Moveon.org doing it as well. I figured it probably would work well given that these large organizations use a similar approach. It tooks some testing on wording, but once I got it right it worked effectively to cover more than the ad spend on petitions that were really hot.”

Brown found up sells engaged his supporters better than a straight donation action. Up sells follow the same principles of Micro-Commitments, laid out here. In other words, if someone takes a small action for you, like signing a petition or pledging their support, they are much more likely to take action again. Brown agreed:

“One of the most interesting things I saw pretty consistently was the lower the acquisition cost on email signatures, the higher the percentage of people who gave donations, and the more money I made per donation. I think this indicates that when a petition resonated for people at a high level, it was because people thought it might really help the situation, and so it was worth donating to as well as signing.”

Through this process Brown used his page to prove what worked and what didn’t, giving him the ability to fine tune his work and focus his energy where it mattered most. But how does one come up with that many petitions and ideas to test? According to Brown:

“What I found worked best for me was to find articles on topics that I thought could make good petitions. I posted those to my page to see how my audience responded. When something got a lot more engagement, I focused on making a petition about it. Obviously this required having enough followers that I could get some reasonable engagement on my posts. If one doesn’t have a big enough following, then you might want to test the articles with a small ad spend to your desired target audience to see if they respond before making the petitions.”

Through this method, he was able to find the formula for successful petitions:

“Find something people are really upset about, which is trending and ties into your cause. Identify a bad actor that is involved in the situation. Identify a third party that people believe would actually do something about the situation if enough people sign a petition about the issue.”

Campaign creative:

During this time, Brown launched over 80 different petitions and upsells! We’ll just dig into his top three:

Action number one: Sign If You Want Every Vote Counted In California!

What the post did well:

  • Makes use of hashtags, exposing the cause to a wider audience
  • Made use of clear, concise language that demonstrated why supporters should click, and what’s at stake.

What the petition did well:

  • The petition made use of urgent language and a clear, concise call to action for maximum completions
  • It takes advantage of a “strength in numbers” mentality. Brown asked folks to add their names to the growing list of supporters just like them, not solve the problem by themselves.

The results:

Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 3.15.28 PM

Action number two: Sign Petition: Investigate CA & NY Voter Suppression!

What the post did well:

  • Clear call to action that sets the stage
  • Large, engaging image of Bernie Sanders that grabs attention and makes you want to stop scrolling and check it out

What the petition did well:

  • The petition itself made use of clear, urgent language
  • Uses a concise call to action for maximum completions

The results:

Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 3.17.10 PM

Action number three: Add Your Name To Punish Voter Suppression!

What the post did well:

  • Uses a clear call to action that sets the stage up front
  • Includes a large, engaging image of Bernie Sanders that grabs attention and makes you want to stop scrolling and check it out.

What the petition did well:

  • Made use of clear, urgent language
  • Uses a clear, concise call to action for maximum completions

The results:

Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 3.18.24 PM

Overall, these top three petitions enjoyed an average conversion rate of 53% and 84,142 Facebook shares!

Campaign lessons and takeaways

So how can your nonprofit enjoy this same level of success?

  • Post and test as much as you can! Brown created and promoted over 80 different petitions to learn what resonated the best with his supporters.
  • Use the trending stories and topics folks are currently talking about as inspiration for new petition ideas. This will help create enough petitions to run a test of this size.
  • If you can, spend a little money on Facebook ads to get the ball rolling.
  • Double down on what works and leave the rest behind. Your supporters are the experts on what engages them, not you 🙂
  • Be as clear and concise as possible when framing your issue and call to action.

About Nathan Mackenzie Brown and Really American: Brown is currently running similar campaigns now for a Mayor’s race in California and for a bike advocacy organization in California in partnership with AHG. They are interested in finding 1-2 more clients to work with on this sort of basis. In addition, they are in the early stages of seeking seed money from large donors to scale the activities of Really American’s email list building and fundraising activities. You can reach Brown by direct messaging the Really American Facebook page.

How your nonprofit can leverage viral reach for good on Facebook

These days, we hear a lot about “going viral” online. Our friends send us “viral” cat videos that everyone is watching. It feels like we see the same “viral” memes and videos every time we open our phones. Invariably, we feel pressure to make something viral to promote our own nonprofit.

What is virility anyway? How does one “go viral” or become a viral hit? Is it even possible to control?

This article will define what viral reach means on Facebook and how you might leverage it to introduce more people to your organization and cause.

Defining Viral Reach

The definition of viral reach on Facebook is actually pretty straightforward. Viral reach is anytime someone who isn’t a fan of your Facebook page sees one of your posts. This means they have not liked your Facebook page yet, may not have heard of your organization before and may not even know about your cause.

That’s it. Pretty simply right?

How do people outside my page fans see my posts?

A common misconception is that only your Facebook page fans can see your posts. This is simply not true. When you post to Facebook, anyone has the chance to see that post. Your page fans will be the first people to see your post, but once it’s out in the wild on Facebook it has the potential to go far beyond just your page fans.

The proof of this is shown by one of our fun, demo pages “Cats oh my”. This page had 3,738 fans at the time of this writing:

viral reach

To date, 18,036 people have engaged with the content we publish to this page.

viral reach

This means almost 20,000 people have reacted to, commented on, or shared one of our “Cats of my” posts even though we have less than 4,000 page fans! So how are they finding our content in their personal news feeds if they don’t like our page?

According to Facebook:

“It’s possible to see posts from people and Pages you aren’t connected with if a friend or Page that you are connected with engages with that post. For example, if you’re friends with Joan Smith you could see a story in your News Feed that says “Joan Smith liked this post from Mercy Corps”, even if you have not liked the Mercy Corps Page. When you create posts that people engage with, your content will reach more people who have liked your Page and their friends.”

That means if your core group of Facebook page fans are highly engaged with your content, it’s likely to spread to their friends and family as well. Now if their friends and family also engage with the content it could spread to their friends and family as well. And so on and so on. Are you beginning to see how your content has the potential to ripple out across Facebook in a powerful way?

Can I influence this in my favor?

Viral reach clearly has some serious power behind it to further our cause and organization on Facebook! The question is, can we control it and leverage it to our advantage? The answer is yes and no.

First of all, anyone who tells you they know the secret to viral reach or can promise you viral reach is, one: trying to take advantage of you, or two: very misguided themselves. In short, there is no magic bullet for viral reach. You cannot “make” something or viral or set out to create a “viral video”. It simply isn’t that easy or straightforward. There is a lot of luck, randomness and chance that goes into something taking off and “becoming viral”.

But with that being said, you do have some influence over the reach of your content. Again, according to Facebook:

“A key tactic to reach a desired audience is to create content that they want to see and be seen sharing. You should think strategically about how to post content that is relevant to that audience, that they might like, share, comment on, or generally enjoy reading. To do this, it helps to understand the characteristics of your desired audience and the type of content they typically engage with.”

If you can figure out what types of posts your Facebook page fans are most likely to go bananas over and share themselves, you can increase the likelihood of viral reach.

Don’t worry, if you’re not sure what types of content will inspire your page fans to engage with and share your content, there are ways to figure it out:

“If you don’t know what people in your community want, find out by testing a variety of posts. You don’t need to have a perfect posting strategy from the beginning. Try posting regularly while intentionally changing the post length, type, tone and topic. After a couple weeks, go back and look at the Post Insights to see which posts are being engaged with. The goal is to hone in on the type of content and calls to action that are resonating with your supporters.”

There are also tools to help you along the way! You can learn what your audience likes through your Facebook Page Insights or your ActionSprout Timeline.

Key takeaways

It is possible to reach a large number of people outside your core Facebook fanbase. When you reach a number of these “non-page fans” it’s called viral reach or “going viral”. You do have some influence over this and can increase your likelihood of viral reach by sharing content you think your page fans will love and want to share with their own networks of friends and family.

ActionSprout Demo: Learning about Social Actions

Live recorded demo on social actions:

Notes and links

  1. Social action best practices that will increase your conversion rate.
  2. How to set an ActionSprout action as your Facebook page CTA button.
  3. How to export your action data out of ActionSprout.
  4. Case study: How 1,000 Days received 230,000 signatures and 82,000 new Facebook fans in four months.
  5. Case Study: How AlterNet received 7,000 signatures in one week.
post on Facebook

Why you should post 2 to 3 times a day on Facebook

In the broadest sense, your nonprofit maintains a Facebook page in order to engage people in your cause. The execution and nitty gritty will be different, but how you get there will be the same: by posting engaging content on your Facebook page.

Posting engaging content is your number one job on Facebook and your primary means for reaching and engaging your current supporters, along with new, potential supporters. So how do you “post well” on Facebook and reach your goals?

There are two laws to follow when posting on Facebook:

  1. Post when your supporters are most likely to be on Facebook
  2. Post at least two to three times a day

This article will walk you through law #2. We’ll discuss:

  1. Why two to three posts a day is the optimal number to reach and engage as many supporters as possible
  2. Why you don’t have to worry about overwhelming or spamming your supporters with too many posts
  3. How you can create and find all this content

Why your goal should be 2 to 3 posts a day

To understand why we should be posting so often, we need some context on the Facebook environment. According to Facebook there are:

“More than 1.6 billion people [who] use Facebook to connect to the things they care about…On average, there are more than a billion stories posted to Facebook every day.”

That is a lot of people and posts!

What the folks at Facebook quickly learned was that showing every user every possible post, from the friends, family and the pages they followed, was out of the question. If they did so, every user would have to scroll through roughly 1,500 posts per day to find the posts and stories they really cared about. Thus, Facebook developed a powerful algorithm to decide which of these 1,500 possible posts each user receives in their news feed, and which are the most important to put at the top.

That means each time you post to Facebook, roughly 5% of your page fans, on average, will receive the post in their news feed. Based on their past behavior and browsing patterns, Facebook has decided these particular 5% are the folks most likely to enjoy and engage with the content you just published. In short, Facebook matches the right people with the right posts.

Now this brings us back to posting two to three times a day! Because such a small percentage of people receive each of your posts, it’s extremely unlikely that one single person will see all of the content you publish in a day, because the algorithm is matching up the right people with the right posts.

Thus, each time you post, that post is reaching and potentially engaging a new 5% of your supporter base that will be more likely to enjoy your post. This means that by simply posting two to three times a day you can increase your reach and engagement without paying for it through Facebook advertising.

Who doesn’t want that!

It’s really hard to spam your supporters on Facebook

Think about it, Facebook is more afraid of spamming their users than you are. Without its users, Facebook has nothing! Because of this, your goals and Facebook’s goals are aligned: engage people with awesome content and make them want to come back for more!

We already touched on this fact before: it’s extremely unlikely that one unique person will see all the content you publish in the course of a day. If they do see several of your posts, it means they have engaged with your content so often that Facebook has decided to show them more of it. This is a good thing, and definitely not spammy behavior on your part! They’re asking Facebook for more of your content through their actions!

But how does Facebook know who to deliver your posts to, and how often?

“The three main types of signals used to estimate a post’s relevance to each person are:

  1. WHO POSTED IT – The friends, family, news sources, businesses and public figures a person interacts with most are prioritized in their News Feed.
  2. POST TYPE – Whether it’s photos, videos, or links, News Feed prioritizes the types of posts that a person interacts with most frequently.
  3. POST ACTIVITY – Posts that have a lot of likes, comments and shares (especially from the people a person interacts with most) could appear higher in a person’s feed.”

By following these rules, Facebook does a really good job figuring out which users to show which posts. And, to reverse that, Facebook is really good at not delivering content to users who won’t enjoy it. Therefore your supporters rarely receive a post from you that they won’t like or might feel is spammy:

“The goal of News Feed is to show people the stories that matter to them most — by showing people the most relevant stories to them higher up in their feeds, we hope to create the best, personalized experience for everyone using Facebook. We do this by taking into account thousands of signals and ranking stories from most to least relevant for each person. Every time someone refreshes their feed, News Feed ranks all the stories they are eligible to see and delivers them in this order to their feed.”

That opens you up to post more often, take more risks with posting, and try new things. If a post doesn’t “work”, very few people will receive it, and you can fail gracefully.

Remember, no one visits your Facebook page but you and your team!

How you can create and find this much content

Let’s quickly recap before we go any further. First, we now know that posting the optimal two to three times a day means we can increase the number of supporters we reach and engage on Facebook without spending any money on Facebook ads.

Second, posting frequently does not mean spamming your supporters. Facebook is really good at figuring out which posts to show to which users in order to make them happy and willing to spend more time on Facebook. And more time on Facebook means more time consuming your content!

So how do we come up with two to three posts everyday to publish on Facebook? Two words: Content Curation. 80% of the time, you will share images, videos and news created by others that relates to your cause. The last 20% of the time, you’ll create your own original content in house.

If this is setting off plagiarism warning bells inside your head, you’re not alone. Here’s why sharing other’s content on Facebook is not only encouraged, but built into the core design of the platform.

There are many ways to find and choose the content you’ll share from others. You can use Facebook’s Interest Lists feature, ActionSprout’s Inspiration feature, Google Alerts and many more!

When in doubt, repost your own high performing content a second or third time to your page! According to Facebook:

“It is not bad to periodically re-post your top performing content. If you find that a topic or image gets a lot of engagement, try re-posting it. Because News Feed curates what each person sees in order to serve them the most relevant and interesting content, it is very hard to “spam” the people who have liked your Page.”

How you find this content doesn’t matter as much as the fact that you’re posting two to three times a day, when your supporters are most likely to on Facebook. That’s it. If you follow these two laws of posting you’ll be much more likely to reach your organizational goals on Facebook.

Happy posting!

GIVING TUESDAY

August: Giving Tuesday Strategy

This guide is part of a series of guides designed to get your nonprofit ready for #GivingTuesday. If you haven’t read the first two guides in the series, we strongly suggest that you start there, as the following guide will then make more sense. Here is June and July.

Last time, we discussed how to measure the success of your Facebook posts and thus the success of your new content strategy. Hopefully, you’ve used the tips given last time to gain some new learnings and insights into your supporters and what kinds of posts they enjoy the most. Even better if you’ve started applying these learnings to your ongoing content curation!

This month, we want to show you how to put a little ad money behind your posts to give your Page a little boost.

Before you click the back button because you have no budget for ads, keep reading!

If your nonprofit has absolutely no budget for Facebook advertising, please review our guide on comment management this month instead. Properly managing and responding to comments is one of the most important things that you can do on Facebook. It will also influence the success of your #GivingTuesday campaign as you’re building up relationships with folks who may be your new donors come November.

Boosting Your (Best) Posts

Today, we’re only going to talk about putting ad money behind your most successful posts. This may feel counterintuitive, but hang in there with us!

In a nutshell, Facebook has an algorithm that governs a user’s unique News Feed, and an algorithm that decides where ads will be placed in their News Feed. While these two algorithms are different, there is enough overlap to use success in the News Feed as an indicator that something will also perform well as an ad.

Performing well as an ad means a lower cost per result and reaching more of your intended audience. Following this rule of thumb means that you can pay as little as $5 to $10 a day and still receive great results. Or if you don’t have the budget for daily ads, many organizations spend as little as $20 a month for very similar results. It all depends on what works best for you and your budget.

To tease out which posts are high-performing and should be boosted with ad money, use the same methods that we covered last month when evaluating your posts and finding the high-performing ones to learn from. (We said that this could be done through ActionSprout’s Timeline feature or Facebook Insights.)

Once you have your high-performing posts, you have two options to boost.

SmartAds

If you have an ActionSprout account, you can turn on the SmartAds tool inside your account and have the process above happen automatically on Facebook for you! SmartAds is designed to find your top-performing posts and automatically put money behind them. Simply connect the ad account that you wish to use and your monthly budget. If you’re aiming for $5 a day, like discussed above, that would be a monthly budget of $150. Otherwise, find the budget that works for you.

Facebook Ads Manager

You can also manually perform the above through your Facebook Ads Manager.

When asked which type of ad you wish to create, simply select “Boost your posts”:

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You’ll be asked to fill in your budget and your target audience (whom you’d like your post to reach). Again, a budget as little as $5 a day can lead to great results when boosting high-performing posts:

giving tuesday

You also have the option to set a lifetime budget.

Next, simply find the post that you’d like to boost. First, you’ll select the Facebook Page that the post appears on and then a list of that Page’s posts:

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Note: If you need further help with Facebook advertising, please see Facebook’s full documentation and their help on post ads in particular.

Wrap-Up

While running advertisements, it’s more important than ever to be practicing content curation (posting high-performing content two to three times a day). Running any kind of advertising means that you’re reaching more people on Facebook, and naturally, more of these people will like your Page. (Even if you’re not running Page-like ads.) With all these new folks coming in, you’ll want to make sure that you hook them right away with awesome content so that they stick around and become engaged supporters.

As you can already see, each month is building on previous months. As such, it’s important to keep up with the activities that we address each time so that the coming months can be as productive as possible.