GIVING TUESDAY

Introduction and June Strategy

With six months to go, you’re probably not thinking about #GivingTuesday just yet. But if you plan on taking full advantage of the day, you’ll want to start preparing now. With such a huge event on the horizon, putting in some time and effort now will pay off greatly when the day comes.

Setting the Foundation on Facebook

Facebook is the most used platform on #GivingTuesday. As such, you’ll want to ensure that your Facebook Page and audience are ready for the big day. You might be wondering, “How would my Facebook Page not be ready? What exactly is there to get ready? Won’t I just post the campaign link to Facebook on the day?”

But as with most things in life, it’s not that simple!

In a nutshell, you’ll want to start priming your Facebook Page and audience now so that when you do post your #GivingTuesday campaign, it reaches and engages as many people as possible. Thus, your fundraising campaigns are more likely to be successful!

With each passing day, Facebook becomes a noisier place. More users join the network and more Pages are created. This is awesome for nonprofits, as their pool of potential supporters is increasing each day! The problem is that it also becomes harder to cut through this noise. This means that organic reach and engagement begin to decline for any piece of content that isn’t engaging.

The good news is that there are steps you can take now to increase your organic reach and engagement before November 29th. You’ll want your organic reach and engagement to be as high as possible for your campaign to be successful in raising donations. After all, it’s hard to raise donations from supporters that you cannot reach!

Now you may be thinking that none of this applies to you, because you’ll be using Facebook advertising to push out your campaign. But even with Facebook advertising, you’ll want to take these steps. The News Feed algorithm and ads algorithm are different, but there is enough overlap to increase organic reach and engagement, boost the success of your ads, and make them cheaper to boot!

Between now and November 29th, we’ll work to do just this. Improving your organic reach and engagement is possible and it does take time, but we have time on our side… so let’s get to work!

Introduction to Content Curation

The way we’re going to organically boost your reach and engagement is through a strategy called “content curation,” which uses two important yet simple tactics to increase reach and engagement on Facebook:

  • Post more—two to three times a day, to be exact.
  • Post awesome, high-performing content.

Content curation delivers on both of these. The strategy hinges on sharing the top content from other Pages on Facebook. This is content relevant to your Page and cause, and is something that your audience would be interested in.

We know that this strategy feels very counterintuitive. This article explains why it works and how it’s not as bad as it feels. Simply put, sharing each other’s content on Facebook is normal, it’s expected, and is not in any way stealing or plagiarism. Facebook is not a traditional platform and thus doesn’t follow traditional rules.

Okay, let’s get down to work. How do you actually practice content curation?

Through ActionSprout

The easiest way to do this is through the ActionSprout tool. In the Inspiration tab of your account, you’ll be able to follow the top Pages in your space, scroll through their best content, and schedule these posts for the times when most of your supporters are on Facebook.

To start, follow the best Facebook Pages for your cause. These can be the large national and international organizations, news outlets and blogs that cover your cause, other nonprofits and Pages you’re aware of that cover your cause, or any fellow partners and chapters. Or you can simply search for keywords. Once your Inspiration feed is filled with content, start browsing the posts and see which ones you can re-share on your Page. Which stories would your audience enjoy? Which posts relate to your cause and Page? Remember, you want to shoot for two to three a day.

Use the Smart Scheduler tool to post at the times when your audience is on Facebook.

Through Facebook

Practicing content curation through Facebook is a bit more challenging, but it is possible:

  1. To get started, “like” the same types of Pages outlined above as your Page. Note: following pages as your page through Facebook is public data.

  2. Once you’ve liked the Pages you wish to follow, switch to timeline view as your Page to view their posts.

  3. When browsing these posts, look for the factors above as well as the engagement on each post. Facebook will be giving you all of these Pages’ raw posts. Unlike the Inspiration tool, which will pick out only the best posts, you’ll need to manually do this as you browse. You’ll only be able to view the likes, comments and shares on the posts, but that’s enough to provide a rule of thumb.

  4. Once you have the posts you’d like to re-share on your Page, you have the option to click the share button on the post and share it right then, or you can copy the link, image, video, etc. and manually recreate the post on your Page. This will allow you to schedule out the post for a later time/day.

  5. When scheduling a post, first confirm with your Page Insights when your audience is on Facebook and thus when the post should be scheduled.

The above can also be done through the use of Facebook’s interest lists. The same principles will apply.

Wrap-Up

That’s your assignment for the month! It may seem like a lot at first, but once you lay the groundwork of following the right Pages, and getting in the habit of reviewing these posts and scheduling the best ones, it won’t take you much time at all. Some nonprofits even use this strategy to schedule content for the whole week in 30 minutes or less!

Believe us, it can be done. Have fun diving into content curation and we’ll see you next month!

donor engagement

11 Epic Donor Engagement Strategies for the Modern Nonprofit

This piece was authored by Blake Groves. See full bio at end of article

Now with over 1.5 billion monthly users, Facebook continues to be the reigning champion of social media sites and one of the primary channels for modern communication.

So, why not use it as a medium for engaging potential donors?

Because social media is a relatively new tool, most nonprofits simply have no idea where to start when it comes to reaching out to their donors. While this is normal for a platform so new, going in blindly and without a proven strategy can do some real damage to a nonprofit’s success with Facebook. What may be worse, though, is that others have let themselves become defeated by all of the (often misguided) criticism floating around.

The truth is that with so much information out there, it does take hard work and a little bit of strategizing to stand out from the crowd and successfully engage your donors. But that doesn’t mean it’s not possible. If done right, using social media as an engagement platform can greatly deepen your supporter relationships and bring you excellent results.

Our job today is to get your nonprofit heading in that right direction.

Here are 11 epic donor engagement strategies for the modern nonprofit:

  1. Consider peer to peer
  2. Make posts personal
  3. Follow the 20% text rule
  4. Advertise yourself
  5. Host an event
  6. Practice content curation
  7. Create urgency
  8. Make sure you’re mobile-friendly
  9. Include a call to action
  10. Define a directed goal
  11. Enlist the help of software

    1. Consider Peer to Peer

In order for Facebook to really work for your cause, you want to build as much engagement as you can around your Page and content. So, how do you foster the engagement needed to raise funds on Facebook?

Consider growing your social media presence and awareness of your cause by running a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign and capitalizing on the networking possibilities that social media has to offer.

For those of you who haven’t tried them yet, peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns mobilize your supporters to fundraise on your behalf by—you guessed it—requesting donations from their peers.

Generally, the best way for fundraisers to request donations is by posting about your campaign on their personal social media sites. Fundraisers include a link to an online donation page with each post, so that their peers can donate at the click of a button.

Peer-to-peer campaigns can be an excellent means of engagement, because they put your organization into contact with people that you would have never been able to reach on your own.

Additionally, people are on social media primarily to communicate with their friends, so they’re more likely to engage with a post from someone they know.

When they see friends posting about your organization, the hope is that peers will take enough interest in your cause to like your Page and keep interacting with you.

Takeaway: Because fundraisers have already established the trust of their peers, you’re more likely to engage people who were once out of your reach.

Check out some social media tips for peer-to-peer fundraising.

2. Make Posts Personal

Telling a personal story is one of the most successful ways to get donors interested in your organization. Think of it this way: you’re trying to get to know supporters better and establish deeper relationships with them.

Similarly, as people who are potentially investing in your cause, supporters also want to get to know a little more about you.

Make it easy for them by sharing pieces of your organization’s story in your posts.

Your story could include:

  • Why your organization is passionate about the cause.
  • How your organization got involved.
  • Achievements that your organization is most proud of.
  • Anecdotes about defining moments.
  • What you’re doing specifically to work toward your cause.

Telling a personal story will make your posts more heartfelt and help you to win your donors’ trust. It will also help you brand your organization in a meaningful way so that your overall social media strategy is more cohesive.

Takeaway: A well-crafted story gives donors a face to associate with your organization. When they feel like they know you, they’re more likely to build a relationship with you.

3. Follow the 20% Text Rule

Visuals add excitement to your posts and are much more likely to grab supporters’ attention than posts that include just text.

In fact, studies have shown that online browsers are around 80% more likely to read the content on a post that includes a color image.

If that’s not reason enough to incorporate pictures into your posts, we don’t know what is!

But when it comes to advertising on Facebook, all images must adhere to the 20% text rule as per Facebook’s advertising guidelines. While the rule sounds technical, it’s actually pretty manageable to stay on top of.

If your nonprofit runs ads or practices content boosting, it’s a good idea to follow this rule with all the images that you post to Facebook. This cuts out the extra step of changing images or recreating them with less text when you decide to boost a post.

Instead, all your content will be ready to promote at a moment’s notice. This can be especially important when running on a deadline to raise funds through Facebook!

Takeaway: When you add visuals to your posts, your chances of engaging donors increase exponentially! Be ready to boost by following the 20% text rule from the beginning.

4. Advertise Yourself

On that note, Facebook isn’t just a communication channel… it’s also a marketing tool.

To draw attention to your cause and get noticed by your donors, you have to advertise your organization a little bit. With Facebook advertising features, you can boost the most important posts to expand their scope.

The site gives you a number of different price options based on how many people you want your post to reach. You bid however much you want to spend, so you always have control over your budget.

If you see that one of your posts is doing particularly well, consider paying a little to boost the post so that more people will see it.

You already know that the post is successful when it comes to engaging your donors, so get it out there!

If you find that boosting your post is working, you can also use this feature to advertise your online campaigns when you need a little extra help in reaching your goals.

Takeaway: Sometimes a little shameless self-promotion pays off. As long as you’re strategic, boosting your posts can be an excellent investment.

5. Host an Event

Often, donors are more likely to engage with your organization online if you’re also making efforts elsewhere.

For maximum donor engagement, consider hosting a fundraising event to coincide with one of your social media campaigns or other online efforts.

People love events. They allow your donors to connect with their communities and do something fun—all while supporting a good cause.

Plus, donors will have an experience to associate with your posts, making your organization more vivid in their minds.

When it comes to hosting a fundraising event, the possibilities are practically endless. No matter what kind of event you host, just be sure to inform the donors of your online campaign and urge them to follow your Facebook Page.

Need a few ideas? Start getting creative with Salsa’s list of top fundraising events.

Takeaway: When you make efforts both online and off, there’s a greater likelihood that potential donors will come into contact with your organization.

6. Practice Content Curation

When it comes to looking for high-performing posts, you don’t have to stop at original content.

In fact, many nonprofits and their successful Facebook Pages follow what we call the 80/20 rule. A whopping 80% of your content on Facebook should be curated content! The last 20% is your own original content. That’s right—80% of the content that you post to Facebook should be shared from sources other than your own organization.

The best way to collect shared content is through a practice known as content curation.

Content curation occurs when one Page shares a piece of high-performing content to piggyback off that post’s success.

You might ask, “But isn’t that stealing?”

The answer is, quite simply, no.

You’re sharing a post directly from another Page, so that piece of content will still be associated with the Page from which it originated.

Not only are these curated posts more likely to engage supporters and broaden your reach, but you’re also helping other Pages do the same by spreading their content.

So, if you see that a Page you’re following has posted a successful piece of content that relates to your cause, don’t be afraid to share it on your Page too.

Takeaway: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. When you practice content curation, you’re combining your efforts with others’ to bring more attention to both of your Pages.

Still not convinced? Read ActionSprout’s argument for content curation.

7. Create Urgency

Often, to engage, donors need some motivation. Give them a little push by creating urgency around your cause. One of the best ways to up the urgency is by hosting a matching donation drive.

This strategy motivates donors by telling them that if they reach a fundraising goal within a certain amount of time, someone will match the goal and double their contributions.

For this strategy to work best, it’s important to set a clearly defined fundraising goal and an amount of time to complete it in.

For example, you could say that you want to raise $50,000 toward building a new culinary wing for the local high school, and tell donors that you want to meet this goal in 72 hours. If they do, the sponsor will bring your total up to $100,000.

Of course, for a matching drive to work, you also need to find a sponsor who’s willing to provide a matching gift.

Takeaway: More urgency means more money. Because they know that they only have a small window of time to contribute, donors will have more reason to give—and fast.

8. Make Sure You’re Mobile-Friendly

These days, a majority of web browsing (around 52%) is done from mobile phones. That number shoots up to 80% when browsing Facebook!

That means if all the elements of your posts aren’t mobile-responsive, you’re missing out on the majority of your donors.

Although the Facebook platform ensures that your posts themselves will be mobile-responsive, it does nothing to ensure that your content is.

This tip is especially important when it comes to online donation forms. As a facilitator of one of your organization’s most important efforts, it’s critical that these forms are mobile-responsive. That way, when your supporters are ready to contribute, it’s always an option.

Takeaway: You don’t want to miss out on an entire platform that you can use to engage donors. Make sure your posts are mobile-responsive from the start!

9. Include a Call to Action

When donors are engaged by your posts, many will want to take the next step and become a supporter.

Make it clear how donors can do so by including a compelling call to action on all of your posts. Keep in mind that these calls to action don’t necessarily have to be asks for donations.

In fact, studies have suggested that it might be more effective to request different actions on social media first, and then ask for donations once supporters have interacted with your organization.

There are any number of asks that you can make, including:

  • Visiting your nonprofit’s website
  • Subscribing to your email newsletter
  • Signing a petition or completing another advocacy action
  • Volunteering at or attending an event
  • Sharing your post with friends

Making an ask other than “donate” allows organizations to engage donors for longer by approaching them through different channels.

This allows you to keep building trust for deeper nonprofit-donor relationships that can help you optimize your fundraising efforts down the line.

It also takes the pressure to donate off of people who are new to your organization and who might not be ready to take this step until they learn more about you.

Takeaway: Patience is a virtue. Hold off on asking for donations at first, and you might see better fundraising results down the line!

10. Define a Directed Goal

With that being said, fundraising is your organization’s primary effort, so you’re likely going to be asking your donors for donations through social media at some point. Make your asks as persuasive as possible by defining a clear goal.

People are more likely to contribute to your cause if they know exactly what their contributions are going toward, so S P E L L it out for them!

Although they know in theory that their money is going to a good cause, donors want to see how their contributions are making a difference. They’ll be more motivated if they can see that their actions are bringing in concrete results.

It’s much easier to quantify your results and update donors on your progress if you’ve set a clearly defined goal.

Let’s go back to our example of raising $50,000 for a school culinary wing. With this ask, donors would know exactly what your organization is working toward and how much it takes to get there.

You can easily keep donors up to date on how the campaign is progressing with a fundraising thermometer. Then, once the wing is built, you could send them newsletters about how the wing is making a difference for students by featuring some of their personal stories.

This ask is successful because it tells donors exactly what they need to do and shows them results through both quantifiable data and personal stories. And, of course, never forget to include the link to your online donation page!

Takeaway: People want to know how their contributions are helping. Defining a directed goal leaves no room for doubt.

11. Enlist the Help of Software

Even the largest and most established nonprofits don’t go at it alone.

Many organizations rely on nonprofit fundraising software to help them hone their social media strategies and make them more engaging. Fundraising software organizes all of your nonprofit’s important data in one place.

By centralizing them, your once disparate data sources can communicate with each other to better inform your social media efforts.

For example, software would house your donor database, online donation processing and event planning operations in one place.

Not only would you have access to the biographical information included in your donor profiles, but you would also be able to link these profiles with your supporters’ interaction histories, such as:

  • Donations
  • Event attendance
  • Volunteer work
  • Membership
  • Opening and clicking through email campaigns
  • Sharing and commenting on your social media posts

With more complete profiles, you can subdivide your list based on certain criteria to better target your supporters. Facebook lets you group your donors into different lists, so you can easily share certain content with some supporters and different content with others.

Your donors will be impressed by how well you know them! Learn more about this software.

Takeaway: Software gives you more insight into your donors, so you can share the most relevant content for the best chance of engaging them.

At the end of the day, engaging your donors through social media is all about making your posts as relevant and as convenient as possible.

Remember, like with all of your efforts, your social media engagement strategy is a work in progress. Your organization will have to do some experimenting to see what works best, but these tips should start you off on the right track.

What Facebook engagement strategies have worked for your organization? Let us know in the comments!


This article was authored by Blake Groves VP of Strategy and Business Development at Salsa Labs. With more than 20 years in technology solutions and consulting, Blake comes equipped with hands-on knowledge of sales, consulting, product management and marketing. For the last 10 years, he has narrowed his focus to how Internet technologies can help nonprofit organizations, and prior to joining Salsa, he held positions at Convio and Charity Dynamics.

supporters

2 Simple Ways to Track Your Supporters’ Activities with You on Facebook

You now have the power to track all interactions that supporters have with you on your Facebook Page.

That means if your supporter John Smith has liked three of your posts, commented on one and signed a petition on your behalf, all of this activity is rolled up into one supporter profile inside your ActionSprout account. You now have a much richer, 360° view of who John is and how engaged he is with your cause on Facebook.

As John continues to engage with you on Facebook, any of his future interactions that you import will be added to his profile. Over time, you’ll be able to watch John’s relationship with your organization grow and change.

How can you start tracking your supporters’ interactions on your own Facebook Page?

Upload your existing supporter list, donor list, mailing list, etc. to ActionSprout. This will tell ActionSprout to start social profiles for your known supporters from different channels. Use the import feature inside of ActionSprout to import supporter activity from your Facebook posts.

Upload an Existing List

Do you have a sense of the overlap, if any, of your different supporter channels? Are your annual donors engaging with your posts on Facebook? Are the supporters who subscribe to your newsletter also reading your posts on Facebook?

Now you may be thinking, “Sure, that information might be interesting… but beyond that, what would I do with it?”

So much!

  • If one of your annual donors leaves you a comment on Facebook, wouldn’t you want to know about it and make sure that someone responds to them?
  • If one of your most active supporters asks you a question on Facebook, don’t you want to know and respond as soon as possible?
  • If you knew your donor and your most active commenter on Facebook were the same person, wouldn’t that change things? Wouldn’t you treat them differently and try to reach out to them one-on-one?

Those are just a few possible situations where knowing this information would be useful.

By uploading these current lists of supporters to ActionSprout, you’ll begin to find out where and how much this overlap happens.

Furthermore, make use of tags to keep track of supporters and what you know about them. These tags follow them throughout your ActionSprout account and exports.

Import on Posts

The second way to start tracking and recording this supporter data is to import the activity data of your Facebook posts. This can be done through the Timeline tab of your ActionSprout account.

Every time you import the engagement data from a post, those supporter activities will either be added to an existing supporter profile, or used to create a new profile to start tracking this new supporter that you haven’t imported yet (either from an existing list or via a post). In this way, your sense of your supporters becomes richer and more informed over time.

Putting Supporter Data to Use

So, you’ve imported your existing supporter lists and started the habit of importing engagement data from your Facebook posts, now what do you do with this data? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Get a nuanced sense of what topics your supporters are interested in. For example, if you run a nature conservation nonprofit and you have a group of supporters that are particularly into panda bear posts, you can send them customized messaging around pandas. Use this personalized angle when asking for donations, support or signatures.
  • Identify your most active supporters and invite them into a private Facebook group for further involvement and engagement. They’re your VIPs, so give them the VIP treatment.
  • Get a sense for how engaged your supporters are as a whole on Facebook. Do you have a pretty good portion of supporters that is very engaged with your Facebook Page? A larger portion that is not? How many of these supporters have shared their name and email address with you? This should be ringing some bells if you’re familiar with the engagement ladder.
  • Use this data to figure out what your next steps on Facebook are. Do you still have a long way to go in engaging your supporters? Are they engaged and waiting for ways to involve themselves more? Use this data to shape your ongoing strategies.
  • Learn what your supporters are into on a deeper level. If point number one about pandas applies to 90% of your supporter base, but you mostly talk about tigers on your Page, then you may want to reconsider your content strategy.
Facebook metrics

Top 3 Facebook Metrics Your Nonprofit Must Pay Attention To

The volume of data, metrics, and insights that Facebook gives it’s page mangers can be overwhelming.

But don’t worry! We have your back 🙂 If you just look at these three metrics inside of your Facebook page’s Insights tab, you’ll be in the perfect position to reach your goals on Facebook.

Ready? Let’s dive in!

First of all, where do I find these metrics?

To access the top three metrics we’ll be covering today, log into Facebook and navigate to your nonprofit page. At the top of your Facebook page you’ll see a few tabs. Find and open the Insights tab:

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 12.43.32 PM

1# When your supporters are online

Once inside of Insights, you’ll be dropped into the Overview **screen. Scroll to about the middle of this screen and click on **Your 5 Most Recent Posts:

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 12.44.33 PM

At the top of this next page you’ll find a graph that shows you when your supporters are on Facebook by day of the week:

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 12.45.16 PM

As highlighted in the image above the best time to post to our Cats oh my page is 6 pm. Your page will probably be different.

2# Engagement rate

Engagement rate is one of *the most *important metrics you can look at on Facebook. Engagement rate will influence the reach of your page, the success of your nonprofit and if you hit your larger organizational goals. To view this metric scroll past the graph outlined above until you start to see your posts listed.

Click the far right drop down arrow and select **Engagement Rate **from the bottom of the list:

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 12.45.42 PM

This will give you the engagement rate on each of your posts:

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 12.46.07 PM

You want to shoot for an engagement rate of 11%.

3# Viral reach

On that same screen click the far left drop down arrow and select **Reach: Fans/ Non-fans **from the bottom of the list:

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 12.47.42 PM

This will show you how much viral reach each of your posts received:

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 12.49.04 PM

Viral reach is any person who saw your post in their timeline but isn’t a fan of your page. They could have received your post because one of their friends shared your post or one of their friends engaged with the post. This second situation is called an edge story.

Wrap up

That’s it! Those three metrics will give you a solid handle on the health of your Facebook page and make you look like a data wizard the next time your boss asks for a report.

The Top Posts for Education Associations to Share: May 16, 2016

The secret to increasing the reach, engagement and growth of your page is Content Curation.

Sharing trending, high-performing, posts from others in your sector is one of the most important things you can do on Facebook to be successful. The top pages on Facebook practice this strategy, with most following the 80/20 rule – 80% of their page’s content is shared from others and 20% is original content.

Curating content is not only normal, it’s expected throughout social media. The following posts were pulled using ActionSprout’s Inspiration feed which makes this strategy fast and easy to practice.

Here are the top-performing posts that educational associations should be sharing.










We can’t express the importance of sharing great content enough! Facebook is built for sharing and telling stories. ActionSprout makes it fast and easy to find the best content to share in your space.

Try the inspiration tool for yourself. It has never been easier to leverage the Facebook Algorithm for your mission.

The Top Posts for YMCA Pages to Share: May 9, 2016

The secret to increasing the reach, engagement and growth of your page is Content Curation.

Sharing trending, high-performing, posts from others in your sector is one of the most important things you can do on Facebook to be successful. The top pages on Facebook practice this strategy, with most following the 80/20 rule – 80% of their page’s content is shared from others and 20% is original content.

Curating content is not only normal, it’s expected throughout social media. The following posts were pulled using ActionSprout’s Inspiration feed which makes this strategy fast and easy to practice.

Here are the top-performing posts that animal shelters should be sharing.










We can’t express the importance of sharing great content enough! Facebook is built for sharing and telling stories. ActionSprout makes it fast and easy to find the best content to share in your space.

Try the inspiration tool for yourself. It has never been easier to leverage the Facebook Algorithm for your mission.

Managing Facebook comments

9 steps to managing Facebook comments like a pro

Facebook is a social network. We all know this, but sometimes we need a reminder. Facebook is not a broadcasting tool or a soapbox—it’s a community with real people. Using a Facebook page means signing up to interact with both your supporters and your critics. When people comment on your page or send your page a message, they often expect a reply. Replying to comments is one of the most important things your nonprofit does on Facebook—if not the most important!

If you’re a nonprofit, it’s likely you want two things:

  1. More supporters in your cause
  2. More supporters doing more for your cause

Comment management plays a big role in both of these. Building an engaged community of supporters requires being part of the conversations that take place around your cause. The majority of these conversation are taking place on your Facebook posts.

In short, every nonprofit on Facebook needs to be an active participant in these conversations in order to grow a community of active, engaged supporters for their cause.

The problem is replying to comments isn’t always easy! It’s both an art and a science. It’s PR, community management, customer service and interpersonal relations all wrapped up together. And as your community grows, the number of comments grows with it. It becomes important to know about and deal with the most important comments first.

Don’t worry! We’re here to help. Once you have a plan, managing and responding to comments really isn’t too bad. The following will help you create that very plan.

(If you would like help on the technical side of managing comments, please see our technical guide to Facebook comments.)

1. Establish your ground rules.

To effectively manage your page comments, you’ll want to start with a firm foundation. Establishing a set of ground rules for your page is your first line of defense when wading into the flow of Facebook comments. These rules should outline what you wish to see on your page and what you don’t. Frame up what you hope for your page and its community. Paint an image of the ideal state.

Now, boil this down into an actionable set of comment policies. Here are some things to make sure you include:

  1. What is the mission of this Facebook page? (Not your overall organization, but your Facebook page. What does success look like?)
  2. What does encouraged behavior and participation look like? (How does this link back to your greater mission and goals for your Facebook page?)
  3. How should supporters treat one another? How is that monitored and enforced?
  4. Clear list of what is not acceptable
  5. Clear procedure to deal with unacceptable content (Deletion? Three strikes? Banning?) What’s the evaluation look like?
  6. Are supporters encourage to help police the page? Should they report comments to your team
  7. Who should supporters contact if they have a problem?

Once finished, plug your comment policy into the About section of your page and as a Note.

Here are some awesome examples and resources to help you. First Mashable’s guide to Facebook comments, example from Travel Oregon that takes advantage of the Notes feature, similar example from ActionSprout and lastly Facebook’s community guidelines.

2. Enforce your rules with no exceptions.

Letting go of something small may not seem like a big deal at the time, but it sets a bad precedent. If something big happens, you don’t want the perpetrators pointing at times when you didn’t enforce the rules. You don’t want to be accused of playing favorites or being unfair. The rules apply fairly to everyone on the page or no one at all.

3. Do not delete all negative comments.

It can be so tempting to delete those negative comments about your organization or cause. You must fight the urge, however, if the comments are not:

  • Breaking the rules you’ve established for your page
  • Offensive or profane
  • Illegal in any way
  • Posted by a troll

The remaining comments, while negative, should be productive in some way. Use this to your advantage as a teaching moment. Try to be polite and come at the conversation from an educational viewpoint. How can I listen to them and really hear what they have to say? How can I respond to this in a constructive, meaningful way? Where are the “openings” in their thought process?

You are not here to fight them, start an argument or convert them against their will. Simply hear them and respond in a way that gives value. Can you address their concerns or questions? Can you post an educational link? Can you bring up a new way of looking at the situation they may not have thought of?

Maybe you’re the one asking them questions to better understand them and their stance.

Most importantly, know when to stop. Know when the conversation has ran its course and there is nothing left to say. This usually happens when the conversation starts to repeat itself or lacks the ability to go anywhere new.

4. Do not engage trolls, ever.

According to Wikipedia, an internet Troll is:

“a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion, often for their own amusement. This sense of the word ‘troll’ and its associated verb trolling are associated with Internet discourse, but have been used more widely. Media attention in recent years has equated trolling with online harassment.”

The general advice to not engage with trolls is a widespread, accepted best practice across the Internet as a whole. It is often stated as “Don’t feed the trolls.” Just don’t do it.

5. Involve the larger team.

Your core team of folks assigned to manage and monitor the comments on your Facebook page should be able to handle the day-to-day demands of the job. But there will always be times when comments have the potential to get out of hand and become unmanageable for this core group.

In these situations, you should have extra folks on your staff that are trained and able to jump in as backup when needed.

Usually, these situations should not come as too much of a surprise. That breaking news story broke, the campaign won or failed, a big decision was made, etc. You should be able to see the comments come flooding in from the horizon line. At these times, an extra set of helping hands should be prepared and ready to go.

The worst-case scenario is that the spike in comments was unexpected, and your team will need to be as ready as possible and jump into action. This brings us to the next point.

6. Train your team.

Make sure your team is trained and ready to go at a moment’s notice. Give them the tools, knowledge and ability well ahead of time so they’re ready to jump in.

This means making sure they have a copy of your comment policy and in house guidelines for responding and making sure they understand it. Keep in mind responding to comments isn’t for everyone. Choose your team with care.

7. Consider whether the commenter expects or needs a reply.

Let yourself off the hook; you don’t have to answer every single comment on Facebook. Some comments just don’t require a response. When trying to evaluate whether to respond, try putting yourself in the shoes of the commenter. Are they expecting a reply? Is liking their comment enough acknowledgement?

Users on Facebook commonly comment on a post to show others in their network that they care about this issue or wish to talk to the fellow commenters on the thread. In these cases, they are not expecting a reply from you or the page that posted the piece of content.

Establish some rules of thumb when it comes to responding so that the team is on the same page. When in doubt, go with your gut.

8. Consider whether a question should be moved to a private message.

There are times when commenters start conversations that just don’t belong with the Facebook comments. They might talk about sensitive subject matters or require care that doesn’t make sense for the comments section. Decide where to draw the line ahead of time, and do your best to practice it.

When responding to a comment on Facebook, there is the option to respond as a comment or direct message the user. This is the easiest way to move the conversation to a direct, private message. Once moved to a direct message, Facebook indicates to other users on the thread that the comment was dealt with in a direct message. This way, other supporters don’t mistake this action as the page ignoring a comment.

9. Get the help and tools you need for the job.

Managing Facebook comments is no small job. Get comfortable with your internal capacity and receive outside help when you need it. This could come in the form of extra tools and software or hiring outside help.

A small, well-organized team armed with the right tools can absolutely get the job done! It will just take some time to set up and get the system running smoothly.

Comment management is essential to having a successful Facebook page that meets your larger organizational goals and missions.

Check out our brand new comments inbox, and really take comment management to the next level

Cutest Posts for Animal Shelter Pages to Share: May 5, 2016

The secret to increasing the reach, engagement and growth of your page is Content Curation.

Sharing trending, high-performing, posts from others in your sector is one of the most important things you can do on Facebook to be successful. The top pages on Facebook practice this strategy, with most following the 80/20 rule – 80% of their page’s content is shared from others and 20% is original content.

Curating content is not only normal, it’s expected throughout social media. The following posts were pulled using ActionSprout’s Inspiration feed which makes this strategy fast and easy to practice.

Here are the top-performing posts that animal shelters should be sharing.










We can’t express the importance of sharing great content enough! Facebook is built for sharing and telling stories. ActionSprout makes it fast and easy to find the best content to share in your space.

Try the inspiration tool for yourself. It has never been easier to leverage the Facebook Algorithm for your mission.

Top Posts for environmental pages to Share: May 2, 2016

The secret to increasing the reach, engagement and growth of your page is Content Curation.

Sharing trending, high-performing, posts from others in your sector is one of the most important things you can do on Facebook to be successful. The top pages on Facebook practice this strategy, with most following the 80/20 rule – 80% of their page’s content is shared from others and 20% is original content.

Curating content is not only normal, it’s expected throughout social media. The following posts were pulled using ActionSprout’s Inspiration feed which makes this strategy fast and easy to practice.

Here are the top-performing posts that art museums should be sharing.










We can’t express the importance of sharing great content enough! Facebook is built for sharing and telling stories. ActionSprout makes it fast and easy to find the best content to share in your space.

Try the inspiration tool for yourself. It has never been easier to leverage the Facebook Algorithm for your mission.

drafting posts

4 reasons why drafting posts creates stronger team workflows

You now have the power to save posts as drafts (inside the drafts folder of Facebook) through the ActionSprout app. While this feature may seem small, the implications are huge.

Here are four big reasons why you should get excited about drafts!

drafting posts

Reviewal process

Many organizations require that posts first get approved before they are published to Facebook. The Facebook drafts folder is the best overall setting for the reviewal process to take place.

In this folder, see exactly how the post will appear once published. Review all messaging, imagery and layout in it’s final form. This is the most accurate preview of a post you can get!

Now when you’re creating a post or action from within ActionSprout take advantage of this powerful reviewal feature.

Delegation

The drafts feature offers easy delegation and sharing of work. Lighten your workload and let an intern or fellow staff member draft up some posts. When it’s time to post, you can review their work and publish / schedule the content from within the drafts folder. If the content still isn’t quite right, edit the post right there. If the post is totally off the mark, you can simply delete it.

Now you can share the work without giving up control or quality.

Collaboration

Similar to the above, the drafts feature makes team collaboration easier. Select the content you’d like to post from Inspiration or Timeline, layout your message and save your finished idea as a draft. Now your team can jump into the drafts folder and give your content a look. As stated above, this is the most accurate representation of the post once it is published. This makes getting a second pair of eyes or a sanity check easy.

More control over how you work and post

This feature simply gives you even greater control over how you work inside of ActionSprout. Whatever your personal workflow looks like, you now have the full power of posting through the ActionSprout app. From planning, drafting, scheduling and publishing, we hope you and your team feel empowered and productive through ActionSprout.

Now go try the feature for yourself and see what you think!