August 31, 2011

Tricks to ramp up your nonprofit’s Facebook Page

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Planned ParenthoodPlanned Parenthood had success engaging supporters through its Facebook Page.

How a few simple changes can make your Facebook Page more visible & engaging to fans

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, community managers, marketing professionals, NGOs, businesses, brands.

Debra AskanaseWhat is your nonprofit doing to engage with your Facebook fans? I put that question to attendees during a talk I gave recently at a gathering of New York nonprofit organizations — and heard about some great practices:

Planned Parenthood was able to move its Facebook fans to successfully defend the organization against legislative attacks.

• MASA Israel found that including a media image (photo or video) with every wall post update increased wall post engagement. MASA Israel also developed a successful Facebook application that streamlines the program enrollment decision-making process.

• The Partnership at held a successful Facebook wall chat, most recently with the actress Melissa Gilbert.

The importance of the newsfeed

At the event, convened by my colleagues Michelle Perrault and Seth Giammanco at Minds On Design Lab, I talked about how to ramp up your Facebook engagement. The presentation covered understanding Facebook post engagement, matching goals to engagement, practices and ideas for designing Facebook Page, and how to measure engagement and ROE (return on engagement).

Most fans never visit a Page but instead rely on the Page’s content to show up in their newsfeeds. A recent ComScore study reports that “Facebook users are 40-150 times more likely to consume branded content in the newsfeed than to visit the Fan Page itself.” However, the problem is that not all content will show up in the Top News section of the newsfeed, which is the default newsfeed setting.

Facebook uses an algorithm called EdgeRank that dictates which content will be featured prominently in an individual’s newsfeed. (See J.D. Lasica’s explanation of how EdgeRank works.) EdgeRank takes into account three factors: how recent was the content published (on a site, on a Facebook Page), how much interaction did the piece of content create and how regularly the individual interacts with that organization or brand. Thus, if an organization publishes a video to its Page, and no one Likes or comments on it, the video may never show up in the Top News newsfeed of someone’s home page. However, if an individual often Likes, shares or comments on that organization’s content, there is a higher likelihood that the video will show up as part of the Top News.

Setting goals is important

A recent Idealware study on the use of Facebook reveals that nonprofit organizations that set Facebook goals felt that goal-setting correlated with success on Facebook. In particular, organizations that had the most success with their Facebook page set goals of driving constituents to action and attracting particular kinds of constituents. A recent Hubspot report of Facebook brand pages reveals that businesses with 501-1,000 Facebook fans saw 3.5 times the amount of website traffic than Pages with fewer than 25 fans.

Designing Facebook Engagement

Creating Facebook Page engagement is challenging, which is why it is so important to help your fans engage through good Page design. There are four elements to good Facebook Page design:

• creating a welcoming portal with a custom welcome Page

• identifying what the main conversation within the Page will be about

• offering unique content to your Fans (found only on Facebook), and

• creating a content calendar for your Facebook Page.

In addition, you can design your calls to action for a higher return on engagement, as shown by this study by the PR firm 22Squared.

Practicing engagement

The slide deck from my presentation offers some good practices for creating more engagement, taken from a variety of sources. Ideas include posting five days a week, what time of day to post and which days of the week garner the highest engagement.

Measuring Facebook engagement

The last section of the presentation covers thinking about how to measure Facebook engagement, including mapping goals to actions and setting deeper benchmarking goals. The slide below from the presentation demonstrates this approach to Facebook measurement and quantifying return on engagement.

Facebook ROE

How are you using Facebook to create engagement? Please share your experiences.


Nonprofits: Are your Facebook fans engaged? (Socialbrite)

• Four-part series on how to use Facebook strategically (

Tutorials on how to use Facebook well (Socialbrite)
Debra Askanase works with nonprofits and businesses to create engagement strategies that move people to action. She is a social media strategist and partner in Socialbrite. Visit her profile page, see her Community Organizer 2.0 blog, follow her on Twitter, contact Debra by email or leave a comment.

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