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March 19, 2013; Source: Facebook

What can nonprofits learn from a new whitepaper from Facebook titled “Building Your Presence with Facebook Pages: A Guide for Causes and Nonprofits?” The paper provides guidance on sound strategies for establishing your brand on Facebook, from utilizing cover and profile photos effectively to evaluating how to tell your story and represent your organizations’ unique voice and mission.

In the paper, Facebook focuses on how to create a dialogue with your supporters, an important component of social media for nonprofits. The authors present several ways to foster engagement, such as using Instagram to enhance your Facebook strategies and sharing visually striking images that speak to your organization’s mission. We encourage you to take a look at the full report here, but one element of the study worth highlighting here is Facebook’s list of five best practices for engaging your audience:

  1. Post succinct content: Keep your posts short and sweet, and remember posts with 100 to 250 characters receive about 60 percent more likes than longer posts.
  2. Post photos and videos: Make your message pop by using eye-catching graphics and images. Posts that include images or videos generate about 100-180 percent more engagement than the average post.
  3. Post regularly: Make sure you are keeping in touch and post on a daily or weekly basis. In other words, “Give people a reason to come back to your page.”
  4. Try a “fill in the blank” post: Test out some posts asking your followers to finish a sentence. For example, if your organization is concerned with equal rights for the LGBT community, you could try something like, “I support marriage equality because…” Fill-in-the-blank posts produce approximately 90 percent more engagement than the average post.
  5. Be timely: Social media is a very fast-paced environment, so make sure your organization is staying current with trending topics. Keep your content timely by drawing your audience’s attention to breaking events related to your organization’s work. If it’s the birthday of a historic leader of relevance to your mission, share an inspirational quote from that leader. Also, keep track of what’s immediately relevant; Facebook reports that posts referencing Independence Day received 90 percent more engagement than all other posts on July 4th.

Has your organization’s approach to Facebook shifted as you have found ways to better engage with your community online? Please share any of your organization’s practices that you think might benefit others. –Aine Creedon