What Does This Mean for Nonprofits on 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.
Here are a few best practices that we’ve seen work for nonprofits on Facebook. Don’t worry about trying to do all of them at once. Pick a few that you think will work for you and start there.
Recruit the Right Followers
You want to build your Facebook community with people who truly want to read and engage with your content. It’s not necessarily helpful to grow your audience by using gimmicks or posting content that doesn’t reflect your objectives or your organization’s mission.
Get To Know Your Base
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. You can learn about what your audience likes through Facebook Search, Page Insights or Audience Insights.
Share Individual Stories
People tend to interact with emotional or inspiring stories about people. Find the simple human stories featuring your beneficiaries, staff or volunteers and share them with your audience. You can test length, but typically try to keep stories short and include a photo or video of the person. Of course, make sure to get permission from your subjects before sharing their stories.
Post Images and Videos
Photos and video tend to be highly engaging on Facebook. Post photos of your programs, team, and volunteers, or upload themed albums. Images that are clicked on, liked, shared, or commented on will get higher reach than those not engaged with. We’ve found videos tend to be more engaging than any other content type. Videos played longer than three seconds, have sound activated, or are watched all the way through are prioritized in News Feed. Square-formatted videos and images are 4 times more likely to be shared.
Talk With, Not At
When your goal is to raise awareness, it can sometimes be tempting to talk at people, instead of instead of having a conversation. Facebook is a two-way communication channel. Learn what current and potential supporters want to talk about, and find ways to invite them into a conversation about your cause by sharing current events or asking their opinions.
Re-post What Works
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. You can monitor the negative feedback of a post through your insight data. Try following pages with a similar audience and re-sharing their high-performing content to your Page.
Teach New Things
People tend to engage with information that they didn’t know before. They also want to provide value to their community, so they like to share content that they think will be informative or valuable to their friends. What unique, inspiring or new information do you have to share with your audience?
Promote the “See First” List
If you hear feedback from people who have liked your Page that they are not seeing your posts in their News Feed, suggest they add your Page to their “See First” list by editing their News Feed preferences. A person’s See First list is the top people and Pages whose content they wish to have prioritized in their News Feed.
Find a posting schedule that works for you and your team. Set a goal for the number of posts you want to publish each week. Many organizations aim to publish once a day. Some of that content can be re-sharing high-performing posts from your Page or Pages you follow. You can use the scheduler in your Page’s Publishing Tools to schedule your posts.
Respond to the people who do engage with you. Use the reply feature in the comment section or activate messenger on your Page to allow people to chat you. If supporters know that you care enough to respond to their questions or comments, they are more likely to leave comments and engage with your posts.
Learn From Other Pages
Find the content your supporters are engaging with from other organizations and nonprofits. You can learn from the content these other Pages publish to pull inspiration and creative ideas. Follow a few Pages that are popular among your Target Audience to see what kind of content they post that gets high engagement. Even if you’re not regularly using Ads, you can also use the Audience Insights tool to learn about the behavioral characteristics of your audience and the other Pages they like.