Posts

A few recent examples of some of the most engaging posts from the ActionSprout community. While each of these posts reached various numbers of people the thing that set them all apart was that they all engaged over 70% of the people that were reached.

If you are looking to increase your Facebook pages reach and engagement you’ll notice that many of these posts were stories curated from various reputable news organizations. Try doing the same thing yourself using ActionSprout recommended and trending story feeds for the topics you care about.

Setting up your page correctly is the first step toward success

Whether you’ve set up a Facebook page from scratch before or you’re a social media newbie, it’s a good idea to brush up on Facebook page basics before your page goes live. Why? The best way to meet your Facebook goals is to make sure your page is set up for success from the start. After all, you wouldn’t launch a broken product or send out a partial email because you know you’ll only have to fix it later — and that’s double the work with no additional return! Your Facebook page is no different.

Use the steps below to get your page launched on the right foot the first time.

“About” Section

When you start setting up your page, be sure to fill out your “About” section completely and thoroughly. Facebook’s algorithm uses this information for your page to show up in searches, and it is frequently visited by followers and non-followers. The top things you need to be sure to include are: 

  • Link to website 
  • Mission 
  • Our story 
  • Email and other contact information
  • City/country

Category

Be sure to select the correct category for your page so you can access the tools and features that are right for you. For instance, did you know that Facebook only gives community organizers and nonprofits fundraising and donation tools?

Choosing the correct category when you set up your Facebook page not only ensures that you get important product and policy updates, it’s also used to determine eligibility for ActionSprout grants. 

“Call to Action” Button

This button is prime real estate — right under your cover photo. A call to action (CTA) is a great tool for reaching goals, but don’t just set it and forget it. You can — and should — customize it to fit your needs throughout the year! For example, during fundraising season, the button’s CTA may be to “Donate” while later in the year, when you want to increase your mailing list, you can change the button’s text to “Sign Up.” Below are more options for customizing your Facebook call to action button:

  • Book Now
  • Contact Us
  • Send Message
  • Sign Up
  • Send Email 
  • Call Now
  • Watch Video 
  • Learn More
  • See Offers
  • Shop Now

Bonus: Want more petition signatures, RSVPs, donations, volunteer sign-ups or surveys completed? Learn how ActionSprout Social Actions deliver customized, inspiring and engaging calls to action that get supporters moving.

Cover Photo and Profile Picture

Be sure to have images of high quality that are correctly sized for your profile picture and cover photo. 

      1. Sizing for profile photo: 800 pixels by 800 pixels
      2. Sizing for cover photo: 1640 pixels by 720 pixels

Invite Family and Friends to Like Your Page

This step is an incredibly easy way to build a following for your page, but it’s also one of the most forgotten steps, too. On the right side of your page, there is an option to invite your contacts to follow the page. Take advantage of this feature, and don’t be shy about inviting people to your page and supporting your cause!

Create a Business Manager Account

A Business Manager account helps organize and manage your page while also protecting the privacy of your personal Facebook page from other admins on your team. Also, all pages must have a Business Manager account to promote posts or run Facebook ads. So whether yours is a business, organization, or even a political campaign page, setting up Business Manager is a must.

Note: This step is listed last because you must already have a Facebook profile to start a Business Manager account. Once you have a Facebook profile, use the steps below to create a Business Manager account.

  1. Go to business.facebook.com and click “Create Account.”
  2. Enter the name of your business/organization/campaign/candidate page, plus your name and email address.
  3. Follow the prompts, entering additional information.

But wait, there’s more! Once your Business Manager account is approved, you’ll need to add an Ad account:

  1. Go to “Business Settings” and click “Accounts.”
  2. Select “Ad Accounts” and click (you guessed it) “+Add.”
  3. Choose the option that’s right for your page: Add Ad Account, Request Access to Ad Account or Create a New Ad Account. Since you’re reading this, the last option is probably the right selection for you.
  4. Follow the prompts, add users and assign access levels.

Read more

Have you ever been to a grocery store during the political campaign season? If so, you’ve likely encountered canvassers collecting commit-to-vote (CTV) pledges. Canvassers or campaign volunteers using the CTV approach first ask individuals if they intend to vote for their candidate. If the voter says yes, the campaign then asks them to sign a pledge documenting their intent to vote.

But according to behavioral scientist and GOTV pro, Robert Reynolds, there are two big flaws to CTV pledge drives. First, there’s not much evidence that CTV drives turnout voters. In fact — and here’s the second problem — some voters find the CTV approach condescending. Because individuals are asked to sign a pledge after they’ve already said they’ll vote, the voter essentially hears the campaign saying, “Your word isn’t enough. We’re going to need that in writing.” That’s not the message a candidate or campaign wants to send would-be supporters. Fortunately, there’s another practice that experts believe makes voters feel empowered and brings more ballots to the box on Election Day. Meet vote tripling.

What Is Vote Tripling?

While CTV pledge drives suggest that an individual’s verbal confirmation alone cannot be trusted, a vote tripling effort asks nonactivists to make sure just three of their friends participate in the upcoming election. Then, the campaign helps the new tripler keep their pledge by sending them personalized reminders before important election milestones, like registration deadlines and early voting windows.

The vote tripling approach makes sense. The same nonactivist group that vote tripling is designed to target is made up of people who are unlikely to volunteer for a political campaign and aren’t interested in mobilizing more than three or so friends but have the voting power to boost a campaign’s turnout by as much as 12%. Not only does vote tripling engage the nonactivist voter and reinforce their intent to vote, but this method also extends campaign outreach efforts and touches more voters than the traditional CTV can. In this case, about three times more!

Vote Tripling with Social Actions

The best way to reach more voters with a vote tripling campaign on Facebook is with the Social Actions feature in ActionSprout. Not only do Social Actions help campaigns keep in touch with those who’ve pledged to be vote triplers, but it also makes it easier for those supporters to stay engaged and excited about their pledge.

 

Here’s how to set up your vote tripling Social Action:

  1. Go to the Social Actions section of your ActionSprout account and create a new petition action.
  2. Edit the fields so they match the sample action.
  3. Post it to your Facebook page.
  4. Promote it with Facebook ads to people in your district.
  5. Export the list of people who pledge to do it. (Remember: The list will also include email addresses and any other contact information you require.)
  6. Send those people emails, reminding them to encourage their friends when the time is right.

New to Social Actions? Visit our help page to get started.

 

Want to share trending content but not sure where to find it? This video shows you how to search for trending stories online and fill your feed with engaging viral content.

GivingTuesday (or #GivingTuesday) is an annual day of giving when individuals and groups around the world collectively contribute millions to nonprofits globally. This year, #GivingTuesday is on December 3, but for those planning a successful day of giving for their organization, the preparation work is already well underway. Make sure your #GivingTuesday campaign is on track for success with this month’s planning tasks.

Schedule Regular Messages on Facebook#givingtuesday ad on facebook

You already know how important a consistent Facebook posting schedule is, and now is no time to let up! Put together a shortlist of post messages that you can schedule two to three times per week from now until #GivingTuesday. In addition to clear, direct asks, use these posts to tell supporters the story of why they should support your organization.

Collect Fresh Stories to Share

Storytelling inspires and engages donors in a way that the traditional direct ask just can’t. Rather than writing #GivingTuesday posts and emails that describe what your organization does, consider highlighting a success story that really shows your audience why what you do is important. Check out a sample press release from the #GivingTuesday toolkit.

Activate Your Board

First, be sure to set clear expectations for involvement. Many organizations require board members to make personal contributions to fundraising efforts, but what about fundraising through their networks? Give your board members a campaign timeline with the dates of your #GivingTuesday posts listed and encourage them to share those posts on their personal pages. Even better, show board members how easy it is to create their own individual #GivingTuesday campaigns for your organization on Facebook. 

Still not getting the engagement you need from your organization’s board? Bring out the competitor in each of your board members with a peer-to-peer fundraising contest! Track and report on the group’s progress regularly to keep the competition alive, and include tips and ideas in your updates to help get lower-performing board members back in the game. 

Update Email Lists and Boost Your Facebook FollowingFacebook invitation to like page or campaign

You’ve planned, written, edited and rewritten your eblasts so that each one includes a compelling story about your work as well as an irresistible call-to-action to give — nice work! But without an updated email list and Facebook following, you risk leaving a lot of individual donations on the table. Now is the perfect time to comb through your email list and make sure you have current addresses for your constituents and that all of the supporters and friends you’ve made over the past year have been added to that distribution list.

Next, let’s boost your Facebook following by inviting people and other organizations to like your org’s Facebook page. Inviting Facebook friends to like your page is one of the fastest and easiest ways to grow your audience — and a bigger audience means more eyes on your #GivingTuesday campaign posts! Don’t wait until next month to get moving; use these October tasks to build a strong foundation for #GivingTuesday campaign success in December.

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

Simple answer: Yes!

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

What Are Social Actions and Social Engagement?

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

It’s made up of four things:

  • Likes
  • Shares
  • Comments
  • Post-clicks

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

Without further ado, let’s get to our example!

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

polar bear header

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

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

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

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

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

The Post: Before and After

before_and_after_polar_bears

 

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

Tip #1: Paint a Clear Call to Action.

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

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

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

Tip #2: Use Powerful Images.

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

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

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

Tip #3: Leverage Link Posts.

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

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

Use that extra real estate to your advantage!

The Social Action: Before

example-facebook-social-actions

The Social Action: After

after action cap

See how much more emotionally engaged the second is? It grabs your attention, and you can practically feel something as you read it.

Tip #4: Set Goals.

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

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

Tip #5: Blatant Privacy.

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

Tip #6: Motivate Your Supporters.

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

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

Tip #7: Have an Explicit Button.

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

Bonus tip: Tap into comments!

For extra brownie points, Polar Bears International enabled commenting on the post-action page of the second version of their social action. This gave supporters a way to personally express themselves after completing the action. The cool thing is, every comment also shows up on their friends’ News Feeds. This helps increase virality and sharing. Moreover, people are more likely to share when they have an invested interest, which a comment helps to provide.

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

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

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

Find out how organizations and campaigns are learning more about their supporters, growing their following and inspiring action with ActionSprout and Facebook.

It’s always great to receive a warm reception, and this is especially important when you are a candidate or volunteer knocking on a stranger’s door during election season. Nothing tops grassroots campaign efforts like in-person contact to get your message out, and ActionSprout can help you make the most out of that critical moment and improve the canvassing experience for everyone.

“[ActionSprout] is the reason why so many folks knew about Sharon when we knocked on their doors. The ‘I’ve seen her on Facebook!’ is very common while canvassing!” 

— Holly Knutson, Campaign Manager

Step 1 – Share a story a day

Begin by engaging people daily with stories that really affect them. It’s best to repost content from news sources and other Example Facebook PostFacebook pages. By framing these curated posts with a little information about your stance on the topics in the story, you can educate about your campaign platform, show that you’re engaged with the issues at play in your community and prime neighborhoods for canvassing — while also delivering a post your voters genuinely care about.

Follow topics your campaign is focused on in the Stories section of ActionSprout, and you will have a constantly refreshed feed of the best trending stories — plus you’ll also get recommended stories that are hand-curated by subject matter experts in a number of the top issue areas. 

Then, simply share the stories you like. ActionSprout will help you schedule them out over the next week, so there is always a new story ready to publish each day at the optimal time. Learn more about story curation here.

Step 2 – Prime neighborhoods with Facebook Ads

Instead of publishing specific messages at predefined points in the campaign, it’s better to use a flexible, responsive ad strategy backed by ActionSprout. Don’t sink production dollars into making a few expensive political ads; instead, use small amounts of spending to boost the daily news stories that you are posting. 

The week before a canvassing push, select people who live in neighborhoods you will be visiting using Facebook ads — your campaign and volunteers will see a big effect. These ads prime neighborhoods and soften the

Screenshot of neighborhood listground for canvassers, who will now find that many voters are already familiar with – and friendly to – the campaign. Instead of having to start from scratch, you will be able to reinforce name recognition and get deeper into your campaign platform. 

You can set up these ads very easily after scheduling a post in ActionSprout. Simply pick the neighborhoods you care about and the types of people you want to reach. For many neighborhoods, a budget as low as $20 per story can be highly effective. But no matter the size of your ads campaign, be sure you’re up to date on Facebook’s political ads standards so you don’t waste any time or money on ads no one will see.

Step 3 – On-the-ground selfies galore 

Take pictures while canvassing that include the candidate in them, and post them from your phone. What a great way to share your grassroots efforts and engage the folks you meet on-the-ground! Then, use ActionSprout to find those photos in the Timeline section, and promote them to people in those neighborhoods. Need ideas? Check out how some candidates have already mastered the ‘selfie strategy.’

Step 4 – Go further to improve the canvassing experience

If you’re aiming for the next-level insights usually reserved for large presidential campaigns, this strategy provides the data you need. With ActionSprout’s intelligent multivariate and multi-audience targeting, you can see exactly which topics and issues resonate with specific audiences in each neighborhood. And all by sharing just a story a day with your network!

Use this data to educate canvassers on what topics to talk about in each neighborhood. This helps canvassers speak to the specific needs of each neighborhood, making their interactions much more meaningful.

Ready to engage more voters? Get started by signing up for an ActionSprout account and read our 2019 Candidates Playbook for more tips and tricks.

Learn to learn how other organizations have put ActionSprout to work for their Facebook campaigns.

There is no shortage of people telling you about the best time(s) to post on Facebook. However, these “best times to post” articles, written by “certified Facebook experts,” are all based on broad averages and studies. That means these are guesses at best and do not reflect the reality of your supporters’ Facebook habits:

when to post on facebook updated

The truth is that the real answer of when to post has been available to you the entire time — through your Facebook page.

Facebook itself will tell you when your supporters are on the site. And who would post based on a general average when you could have the cold, hard facts about your own supporters? The problem is that so few page managers know that this data is given to them or where to find it. Instead, they trust the averages and the self-proclaimed experts, not knowing that a better solution is right in front of them.

This ends today. This post will show you where to find this data through your Facebook page and how to use it.

Where to Find the Data

To find out when your supporters are on Facebook, log in and navigate to your nonprofit’s page.

At the top of your page, you’ll find the “Insights” tab. Click on it:

when to post on facebook

 

From here, you will click on “Posts” in the left-side menu. This will open up the graph we want to look at:

when to post on facebook

 

This graph is a seven-day look at when your page’s fans will most likely be on Facebook (it learns from their past behavior). This graph is pretty accurate because:

  1. People typically log in to Facebook at the same times every day, i.e., during their lunch break or after work.
  2. Facebook has a ton of past behavioral data to pull from. The larger the sample size, the higher the accuracy.

How to Read the Data

By Day

Just above the graph, you’ll find a series of bars — one for each day of the week. This tells you, on average, how many of your page fans log in to Facebook each day. In this example, Saturday wins by just a hair. If you have an important post or campaign coming up, this can help you to decide which day(s) is/are the best to make the announcement.

By Hour

The graph then shows you, on average, what hour(s) your page fans are on Facebook for the week as a whole. Hovering over a day bar above the graph will display the particular times for that day. In this example, if you hover over the Friday bar, you can see a unique spike at 7 a.m.:

when to post on facebook

 

This would be one of the best times to post on Friday each week. We can also see that 1 p.m., 3 p.m., and 6 p.m. are also uniquely good times to post on Friday on Facebook.

We can do the same for each day. Here’s Thursday; on Thursdays in particular, we should post at 8 a.m., 9 a.m., and 5 p.m.:

when to post on facebook

 

This can be a bit tedious at first, but once you have the hang of it — and a sense of when your page fans are on Facebook each day — it will pay huge dividends over trusting the general averages that you can find on Google.

An Automated Option

There is an option, through ActionSprout, to automate this process. If you share any post from the ActionSprout app, we will show you the next best time to post on Facebook based on your page graph:

when to post on facebook

 

You also have the option to browse these times for the coming week. Simply click on the “Optimal Posting Times” link right below the default next best time:

when to post on facebook

 

This allows you some flexibility but makes sure that you’re always posting at optimal times.

Wrap-Up

You have some options for choosing how to take advantage of this powerful data based on your preferences. What’s important is that you use your own personalized data instead of generic averages to guide your decisions on Facebook.

Ready to start measuring what really matters? Here are the Facebook metrics you need to be obsessing over.