Follow Your Donors (Not the Numbers on Social Media)
Last week, MarketingSherpa published a chart that showed where the most engagement is for social media. Facebook is so big that it actually couldn’t be shown on the chart and have the other channels shown in an appropriate manner. Said the article: “Facebook reaches 81 percent of the total U.S. digital population and is home to nearly 230 billion minutes of user engagement. That is almost 20 times more user engagement than the second-most sticky social network, which is Instagram.” Click here for the printable chart.
In the article, MarketingSherpa states what a good marketer should know—you need to make sure you are meeting your donors where they are. For many B2B companies, Facebook being at the highest number of engagement minutes may not mean it's the best place to reach their customers. For most nonprofits, I believe this has already been identified as a top place to reach consumers, simply based on the story-telling element and social sharing of critical missions from around the world. But, as MarketingSherpa reminds us that we all should take steps to confirm where our social engagement users are: “Look at your analytics—which social networks are sending the most traffic? Talk to your customers or survey them. Which social networks do they prefer? Do you have a social listening tool? If so, where are you getting the most mentions (even if your brand isn’t currently active on those platforms yet)?"
After this happens, and if (which I’m betting it will) it gets confirmed for your organization that Facebook is a key player in social-media engagement for your brand—make sure you follow these guidelines for managing your Facebook efforts.
But since Facebook is so heavily used, I'm going to run down a quick list of things you should and should not be doing:
1. Make sure your posts are not too much about you. This is the No. 1 mistake brands make on Facebook. The 80/20 rule is the best approach: 80 percent should be social, and 20 percent should be about your brand/organization.
2. Accept that feedback is going to come on your Facebook page—both negative and positive. In fact, you actually really want feedback, because it is the start of a dialogue with your community. So, do not shy away from it, but how you handle it can be right and wrong. The rule of thumb is to acknowledge any negative comments or criticisms within your community and on your Facebook page, but never, ever try to resolve negative issues in the public space. We had plenty of discussion about this last week, and trust me, the "haters" who are just there to stir the pot or create a problem for you will often be called out by others in the community who are there because they love what you do and support your cause. Trust your social community—but also make sure you play a part in solving the problems of truly upset constituents.
3. As mentioned above, creating a dialogue is what you want—you do not just want a one-way conversation. One way to do this is by asking questions within your posts. Get the conversation started, and then watch what you learn from your social family. Asking questions is a very powerful engagement approach and should be done in a way to create a dialogue about your mission and/or how people feel about/connect to your mission. But, here's a quick tip: Put your questions at the end of the post—not the middle —and you'll get a better response.
4. There is a limit to how much people want to read. I know that you feel like you can read forever about your organization, the work that is being done, the people being helped—but you are not them. Don't write more than 80 characters, according to studies, and 40 is the magic number that will drive an 86 percent lift in response.
5. Just as writing too much content can be a problem, writing too often is a problem too. The No. 1 reason people unfollow a brand is because they feel the brand posts too often. The rule of thumb is to post no more than two times per day and no more than four times per week.
6. Finally, and I know you've heard it before: It's about quality, not quantity. There are nonprofits out there with millions of followers, and there are some with only thousands of followers. Whatever you do, don't chase a big number unless you know all of those connections are quality followers. Your goal is to attract people who will share your information, take action on your behalf and be your advocates.
So, if you can, do some due diligence and understand what social-media channels are best for your organization. But, as expected, when Facebook shows up in the top drivers for you, take 30 minutes and run through these six points and see how your Facebook posts are measuring up.
Vice President, Strategy & Development
Eleventy Marketing Group
Angie is ridiculously passionate about EVERYTHING she’s involved in — including the future and success of our nonprofit industry.
Angie is a senior exec with 25 years of experience in direct and relationship marketing. She is a C-suite consultant with experience over the years at both nonprofits and agencies. She currently leads strategy and development for marketing intelligence agency Eleventy Marketing Group. Previously she has worked at the innovative startup DonorVoice and as general manager of Merkle’s Nonprofit Group, as well as serving as that firm’s CRM officer charged with driving change within the industry. She also spent more 14 years leading the marketing, fundraising and CRM areas for two nationwide charities, The Arthritis Foundation and the American Cancer Society. Angie is a thought leader in the industry and is frequent speaker at events, and author of articles and whitepapers on the nonprofit industry. She also has received recognition for innovation and influence over the years.