In the summer of 2012 I began a Social Media Series that focused on how it can be incorporated into nonprofit fundraising and engagement initiatives to enhance results and one of the things established from the get-go was that Facebook was king. Although I explored many other major platforms through this series because the best digital marketing plans take a layered approach and establish a presence on more than one platform, Facebook remained the leader and that continues to be the case. I regularly add to this series to this day to help nonprofit’s keep up as these platforms are constantly evolving and identifying which changes can enhance your organization’s efforts can be difficult. Sometimes these changes can happen and users are not even aware of them. Like, through some of Facebook’s (pending) changes, did you know that …..
You can schedule posts right from Facebook? Posting ‘Status Updates’, pictures, videos, events, milestones, questions and offers can now be scheduled to be posted on the date and time you specify. This maximizes the impact of your post as you can post at times when your community is most active and likely to see it . This new feature somewhat eliminates the need for a third party social media management platform like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck, however there are advantages to using these tools if you are managing multiple accounts and/or multiple platforms and want in-depth traffic analytics. To schedule posts simply add your update in the “Write Something…” box and before clicking on ‘Post’ click on the small grey clock on the bottom left hand corner of the box and select the year, month, day, hour and minute you would like your update to be posted.
You can promote offers to your followers… FREE? Fan pages can promote an “Offer” directly to their followers which will appear on their Newsfeed. Once a fan redeems the offer directly from Facebook it can be received either by email or by SMS/Text on the fan’s mobile and they can also share their redemption of the offer with their network of friends. Nonprofits can take advantage of this great feature by promoting events and merchandise or partnering with a corporate donor to run a donation matching campaign – the possibilities are endless. The “Offer” feature has been rolling out to fan pages throughout the last half of 2012 and continues into 2013. The ‘Offer’ button will appear above the box where you add your status updates but you need at least 400 Likes to be able to create an offer.
Video ads will be available soon? According to several reports Facebook plans to make video advertising available to corporations and organizations by April 2013. Video ads will be displayed on Facebook user’s News Feed. The main challenges that this may pose is user acceptance as the plan is to have videos on auto-play and stretch to the side margins of the screen. This channel can be an excellent opportunity for nonprofits to produce relatively short videos (as the length is expected to be capped at 15 seconds, half of traditional television commercials) and can produce engaging results. How it all rolls out and what effect it will have is yet to be seen but it may be beneficial to start planning strategies around this marketing initiative so you are ready for it.
You can promote your posts? With many of the changes that Facebook implemented in 2012, including limiting the number of impressions a fan page leaves on their follower’s newsfeeds, they have capitalized on the need for Fan Pages to reach out to followers by implementing a “Promote Your Post” feature. Starting as low as $5 per post, fan pages ensure their posts are being seen by their audience by using this feature and promoting the post. How effective this is remains to be seen however, with limited impressions of regular posting, nonprofits may want to consider promoting their post as a way to expand their reach.
Facebook – as with all major social media platforms – will continue to evolve, update and introduce new features and I will continue to write about some of the more innovative ones here. Keeping abreast of these changes will ensure you are capitalizing on every opportunity to optimize your social media and digital marketing efforts.