What should you tell your boss when they ask why your Facebook fans are not increasing as quickly as they would like?
Let’s start with: “Shove it!” (No, no, no. Just kidding.)
First things first. I have written a lot about getting more engagementonFacebook and the recentchanges that have driven down organic reach for Facebook pages across the board.
By now, we all know some of the things that drive engagement (i.e. likes, comments and shares on a Facebook post). We may even know the best times of day to post to engage our fans, and what types of content resonates most with them.
Engagement is great, and it is certainly the Facebook metric that means the most for your bottom line.
But what about the nonprofit that is told by the higher-ups to get more Facebook fans – or else?
Your boss and your Board may be breathing down your neck to “get more fans and get them now!”
How to convince them that your page is doing well even when your nonprofit doesn’t have thousands of fans?
My answer is to educate, educate, educate.
It’s hard to fault a nonprofit CEO or a Board member for thinking that thousands of Facebook fans = better page performance. They may also think that email marketing is strictly a numbers game (hint: it’s not).
Here are 4 things to say to supervisors to help them understand that numbers on Facebook are just that – numbers:
1) Number of fans is not what matters.
You can have 10,000 fans of your Facebook page, sure, but are these fans moving your nonprofit any further towards its goal? (Don’t have a goal for your social media marketing efforts? Read this first.)
Engagement on posts, NOT number of fans, is the name of the game. I am suspect when I click on a page that has thousands of fans, but no one is liking, commenting or sharing the posts.
What does that say about the page? To me it says that it may have purchased its fans or that its content is irrelevant and not of value.
You want to make sure you have the right fans for your nonprofit – the fans that will engage with your posts and share your message with their own networks. Fans that are inactive or uninterested in your cause are not worth cultivating.
2) It’s a slow process.
Think about the old fable of the tortoise and the hare. The hare moves quickly, without planning and forethought, and ends up losing the race to the tortoise, who has a smarter, more deliberate approach.
This is a lesson for social media marketers as well – be consistent, be deliberate and do not getdiscouraged.
Don’t resort to cheap tricks like buying followers or creating irrelevant Facebook contests to artificially boost numbers.
3) We should allocate a budget.
Yes, it’s true that you have to spend money to make money. Your nonprofit will want to experiment withPromoted Posts and Facebook Ads to increase the number of Facebook fans.
As with any other marketing strategy, have a clear plan in place and a way to measure your results.
4) Facebook isn’t everything.
Do not put all your social media eggs into the Facebook basket!
An effective nonprofit marketing plan will combine traditional methods (direct mail, face-to-face meetings, phone calls) with new and digital media.
Next week, I will cover a few ways to increase the amount of Facebook fans for your nonprofit’s page – the right fans.
What is your biggest challenge as a nonprofit on Facebook?
Julia Campbell helps nonprofits raise money and connect with supporters using websites, email marketing, social media and other online tools. She is the Principal and Founder of J Campbell Social Marketing, a boutique digital marketing firm in Beverly, MA. Find her on Facebook and Twitter at @JuliaCSocial