Many nonprofit organizations are seeing their Facebook metrics drop, are you one of them? If so, read on. I’ve got three solid tips to help you adapt. Unfortunately, gone are the days where you could just build a Facebook page and endlessly promote your content in your Fans’ feeds. Why? Well, with such a huge volume of content being published, Facebook decided it would create a way to focus eyeballs on “the best” content. To that end, it created an algorithm called “EdgeRank.” If your metrics have taken a dive lately, this may be the reason. In a nutshell, the “EdgeRank algorithm” is really just a fancy way of saying that your Facebook content must get engagement if you want it to show up (for free) in the newsfeeds of those Facebook friends that your organization spent years acquiring.
You do NOT necessarily need to understand ALL the details about how EdgeRank works. However, what you DO need to know is that you simply must create highly engaging content if you want to succeed. If your content is not high in quality, if it isn’t relevant or interesting enough to garner your audience’s comments, “likes”, and shares, then you will have to resort to shelling out some dollars to “boost” your content into newsfeeds. It’s as simple as that. Caveat: Even with “paid boosts” as an option for those with budgets, it should still be used wisely by choosing to boost the most engaging content that will inspire Fans to share it out through their own networks. So, bottom line is: There’s just no getting around the need to determine what content is most engaging for your Facebook Fans. Once you are laser-focused on producing engaging content, Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm will reward you with extra eyeballs because your content has proven to be relevant to your audience. And with that, your organization will thrive in this new Facebook environment.
THREE TIPS FOR CREATING ENGAGING, FEED-WORTHY FACEBOOK CONTENT:
1. CREATE QUALITY CONTENT OVER QUANTITY
Rather than inundating Facebook fans and friends with daily content and marketing updates, the dominant strategy today is to create smaller amounts of higher-quality content. Get readers excited about your read-worthy and share-worthy info-tainment (did I just coin a new phrase?) …stay on topic, ask interesting questions. Work with your corporate partners to develop ideas your fans will truly enjoy. Your content should be something they look forward to seeing in their feeds as opposed to just more feed-clutter. While Facebook Brand Pages may see 44-80 percent less impact from their content today, if your followers are liking and commenting on your posts, then you will not be stung by the new Facebook algorithm. For example, this top National Audubon Society image post received 12,801 shares and 7,042 shares. I think it’s pretty safe to say this content was considered “engaging” to its audience as well as to EdgeRank. What is your most engaging content? Do you know?
2. USE ANALYTICS TO INVEST WISELY
Let the science of marketing analytics help you understand more about your target audiences so that you can better serve them, including communicating with them more effectively on Facebook. There are many tools available to get concrete data about stakeholders, social media users, and target demographics in general. Today, I’d like to introduce you to FanHarvest, a social analytics company that provides a user-friendly, visual report of the precise information you need to start maximizing your Facebook content.
Among other things, this tool will help you see exactly what content your page’s Fans like to see, are responding to, and what time of day they spend on different kinds of content. I particularly love the way that the report shows you the actual content (photo, etc.) along with the link and metrics. Since visuals are so important on Facebook, this report makes it easier to assess what types of content are most and least popular. There is lots of data to be mined. Not only can you analyze your own Facebook content for areas of improvement, but you can also analyze your competitors’ Facebook content as well. I bet you’d like an efficient way to know what’s working/not working for them – am I right? Or, you could even analyze the content of pages with similar audiences to yours to spark new content strategy ideas.
Another unique and very useful feature is that you are shown the specific Fans who are most engaged with a particular Facebook page -yes, you get the actual names (many more than the top two shown in the excerpt above). You also see the total number of likes & shares of the Facebook page being analyzed. Once identified, you can go about creating strategies to pro-actively engage with these key influencers. For example, you could reach out to your most engaged Facebook Fans to get their input and feedback, to thank them for their support, to ask them to assist you with an upcoming campaign, or endless other strategies to increase their participation and support of your organization. Taking it to the next level, you could even use this tool to identify key prospects from other Facebook pages than your own (competitors, pages with relevant subject matter, etc.) and then target a Facebook ad campaign to those engaged users about your organization.
Basically, you can use the FanHarvest analytics report to help your organization develop relevant, Facebook EdgeRank-friendly content marketing campaigns that are built on a foundation of hard data. Therefore, each piece of content you publish will be more likely to have a higher return on investment of time – or money if you opt to boost some of your Facebook content. Here’s a link to a sample FanHarvest report.NOTE: I am proud to say that I am an Advisor to FanHarvest. I believe these services are valuable and I think you will as well. But don’t take my word for it, give it a go with a trial run using their FREE report option. Tell the folks at Fan Harvest I sent you when you ask about their discounted rates for nonprofits.
3. LEVERAGE YOUR FOLLOWERS TO GENERATE CONTENT
Every piece of content costs an organization money to produce. And now there are also those pesky boosting fees to contend with if you go that route. Keep in mind, producing content in-house isn’t the only option available to you. There are smart, creative ways to produce user-generated content that can be very powerful.
For example, let’s take a look at how The Nation Audubon Society leverages their followers. By inviting bird lovers to contribute their photos, the Nation Audubon Society has had over 215 photos submitted by avid bird fans since January 1st 2014, achieving more than 2,013 comments and 18,003 likes to this one, single request for engagement – WOW! In fact, user-generated photos received 2x the engagement compared to the organization’s own photos. And, the cherry on top: All those people adding to and expanding the conversation = a very relevant post in the mind of that Facebook algorithm. Well done National Audubon Society!
Remember, nonprofits who ask their superhero stakeholders to produce and share their own content on a relevant topic tend to get maximum engagement as well as getting their content shared not just on Facebook, but through any means available to the participating user.
While change can sometimes feel uncomfortable, it is inevitable. Facebook’s new EdgeRank algorithm and pay-to-play program, and similar efforts on other social media platforms, were somewhat inevitable. The ever-growing amount of content online demands some way for users to filter through it. This is simply the next evolution of Facebook and it does require organizations to be more strategic about their social media efforts. Just remember: quality over quantity. It’s the (new) way of Facebook content marketing. Use your time and Facebook feeds wisely!