Driving results with Facebook (Part One)

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Facebook: A Growing Opportunity for Your Charity With an estimated 19 million Canadians using Facebook today, charities across the country have at their disposal an incredible tool for helping their cause get discovered. However, reaching your target audience to gain new supporters on Facebook is not always an easy thing to do. It takes strategy and planning to take full advantage of the platform, and to ensure your organization can be heard amongst the myriad of competing interests online.

Putting Your Facebook Page Into Context Your organization’s Facebook page can be discovered in a variety of ways. While some people will directly search for your organization on Facebook, you can also help grow your Facebook audience by manually inviting people to “Like” your page. Ensure your page is inviting, well-branded, attractive, and conveys your mission in an accessible way for all who will spend time exploring it. Good images, coupled with a lot of fresh and rich content will go a long way.

While it’s true you need a great page that puts your best foot forward to those interested in your cause and ready to learn more, the real trick to getting results with Facebook is getting in your current and future supporter’s Facebook News Feed.

Getting Into Your Supporter’s (Or Prospective Supporter’s) News Feed If you’re struggling with Facebook page fan growth, you are not alone. Facebook page fan growth has been declining over the years. In October 2016, the average fan growth was at just 0.16% of the page audience. Why? Facebook users are mainly seeing and interacting with posts that appear in their Facebook News Feed—it’s where they’re spending the majority of their time. If you have a personal Facebook account, you can probably relate. How often do you visit other charity or business pages, or even those of your closest friends?

Now for the real challenge: getting into your target audience’s Facebook News Feed. To get results for your charity using Facebook, you need to first understand how Facebook works.

Organic reach is the total number of unique people who see an unpaid post you’ve published. Social media analytics experts at Locowise reported that the average post reach in October 2016 was 9.75% of the total audience. In other words, if 100 people have liked your page, only about 10 of them will see a post you’ve published in their News Feed.

Although 9.75% may seem like a small return, keep in mind that there are troves of people on Facebook with whom a connection is possible! And, there are many things you can do to increase your reach, visits to your page, and interaction with your posts. Next, we’ll explore some techniques for attaining higher reach through the posts you publish.

So How Can I Get Results for My Charity Using Facebook?

That’s what we’ll delve into in the next two articles in this series.

At this point, you may be asking “Should I give up on trying to grow followers organically?” Absolutely not! You need to meet and connect with your supporters and prospective supporters where they are in today’s digital world. Inspiring conversation and engaging supporters starts with putting best organic social media practices in place. We’ve curated 15 simple tips and tricks on how to increase your organic reach, click here.

Drive the results you need to augment your organic program with paid reach. If you feel hesitant about investing a large amount of money on paid advertising, don’t worry! Many charities are lifting campaign results by spending less than $100. You can also designate a “maximum” budget and control precisely how much you spend. So, even if your budget is extremely tight, it’s worth evaluating the advertising options available from Facebook.

On Facebook, Paid Reach is the total number of unique people who are exposed to your organization as a result of paying for an ad that will appear in the target audience’s News Feed, or “boosting” a post so it reaches more of your fans.

Organic and paid reach should not be treated as two isolated marketing initiatives. Instead, paid reach should complement the organic reach techniques you use. Spending a few dollars to boost a photo, status update, offer or video should be considered in some scenarios. For example, if you’ve posted about a major upcoming campaign or event, and the post has picked up good traction in terms of likes and shares, you can make it perform even better by allocating a small budget to boost the ad. In the process of boosting, you can target specific people you think would be interested in the campaign or event, or that fit your target demographic.

Alternatively, you can launch an ad and pay-per-click (PPC) campaign. With Facebook Ads, you can target people outside your network of current friends and followers. Your paid ads will display with a “Sponsored” label in the News Feed. It’s a good option for amplifying your marketing efforts when it comes to awareness campaigns, donation campaigns, or events for your cause.

Paid promotion for your posts, page, or website can be done on a short-term basis to test effectiveness before you decide to invest more. Ultimately, this is a very flexible option that you can master and deploy at your own pace. You can try one advertisement for as short a time as you’d like, and test different reach options based on demographics such as location, age, gender, etc. to see what audience performs best.

To learn more about paid advertising, click here.

Determining how much you want to spend on paid campaigns to grow your Facebook followers versus paid advertising to promote your charity’s specific campaigns and objectives is a balancing act. The best thing to do is start with some low budget tests. You may even find yourself collecting an increasing number of organic followers the more you advertise!

Ready to learn more? Register for the Online Donor Acquisition and Retention course from CanadaHelps here. Full participation in the CanadaHelps Online Donor Acquisition and Retention Course is applicable for 3 points in Category 1.B – Education of the CFRE International application for initial certification and/or re-certification. Learn more about the Online Donor Acquisition and Retention Course from CanadaHelps here.

This post was originally published on Hilborn by CanadaHelps

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