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:
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.
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
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
The Social Action: After
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:
- A Clear Call to Action
- User Power-Pics
- Leverage Link Posts
- Blatant Privacy
- Explicit Button
- Use Comments
Find out how organizations and campaigns are learning more about their supporters, growing their following and inspiring action with ActionSprout and Facebook.