This year has not been too kind to Facebook, with the news about Cambridge Analytica and Mark Zuckerberg being asked to testify in front of Congress. Zuckerberg and his team used it as an opportunity to change the Facebook algorithms, again, and this can still bode well for your nonprofit if you're smart about it.
The big news was that Facebook decided to focus on local news and events. Alex Hardiman and Campbell Brown of Facebook announced, "Now, people around the world will see more news on Facebook from local sources covering their current city and other cities they may care about."
The reason this was done was that after the disastrous press and scrutiny they received about user data and privacy, the focus on more local news content for their users was viewed as a smarter approach to ensure their AI could better root out low quality and "fake news "content. Whether this, in fact, occurs remains to be seen. However, it's a change that can benefit nonprofits if they are savvy enough to make news in their local areas.
Additionally, there was also a change in Facebook's algorithms that Zuckerberg announced in the first month of 2018 stating that the social media giant was going to get back to basics. It was going to prioritize posts from friends and family as opposed to brands. Initially, this announcement sent shudders in brands, until they figured out how to go about capitalizing on the changes. You too can do the same thing for your nonprofit organization.
How to Make Facebook Work for You
We know that through the years Facebook has been tweaking its algorithms to make organic reach harder to come by for brands. In the good old days, your brand was able to have a high-level of organic reach about the work of your nonprofit. Today, organic reach is in the low single percentile digit and declining, and some experts argue that Facebook and other platforms will continue to have their AI throttle any organic reach to zero, which will then force every brand to "pay to play."
- 85 percent of videos on Facebook are viewed with the sound turned off. When you're creating video content, keep that in mind. How can you leave an impression visually?
- Make content that is specific to Facebook using best practice for getting engagement. For Facebook, it means keeping it short and sweet on the copy, using videos or great photographic images and if you're using a hashtag, using no more than one. This isn't Instagram!
- Be smart about getting on people newsfeed. If you have essential value-add information that people might want to see, it's probably worth paying for it to get onto popular newsfeeds. You have the opportunity to sponsor posts and place ads, so be prepared to spend money, but do it wisely and plan it out as much as possible, so you receive the biggest bang for the buck.
- If you have more news about your organization, including new staff, location moves, successful completion of fundraisers, create a press release and pitch the news to local media. Remember, Facebook is prioritizing local news and if you have a chance to get featured in a news media story that's a great way to get people to learn about your news!
- When you're creating video content, figure out ways to tell a story. When you're conveying a story or narrative about your organization, you are increasing the opportunity for people to want to see it. 80 percent of decision-making begins with emotion followed by rationalization.
- Most nonprofits have a great story and if they can translate it into a live video that's even better. Mark Zuckerberg stated plainly that brands, "should encourage meaningful interactions between people … We've seen people interact way more around live videos than regular ones."
- Leverage Facebook with other platforms. For instance, if you've seen in your Facebook analytics that your videos and live streams are having a high level of engagement, don't remain only on Facebook. Consider sharing that kind of content on Instagram as well.
For nonprofits, most which have limited resources, it's important to always keep on top of the social networking and digital marketing news. It's also essential to come up with creative ways to promote their organizations without having to always rely – greater – on spending marketing dollars to get any eyeballs on content about their group or organization.
by Wayne Elsey