Is Facebook’s News Feed Going to Alienate Non-Profits?

I was so excited in November when Facebook decided to remove fees on donations to non-profits! I was looking forward to the possibility of organically reaching audiences that could become supporters. But alas, it was too good to be true. Instead of paying for transaction fees, I’m left wondering if it’s worth competing against the bigger budgets of larger businesses in order to achieve the reach I already had.

I became responsible for my organization’s social media account in August. During the first five months, I increased the number of posts by 206.5% (in comparison to the five months before that). Those posts culminated to 260,257 impressions, an increase of 81.35%. Our fans increased by 6% and our engagement by 175%! After a “quiet” appeal on Giving Tuesday, we received our first round of FB donations, some of which were from first-time donors. What’s a non-profit digital marketer suppose to do now that Facebook is planning to boost “user to user” posts over “brand to user” posts (not all brands are click-bait and fake news)? Should non-profits really fall into this category?

While there is a part of me that finds the idea of “promoting more meaningful content” endearing (I too wondered if I should delete the Facebook App), I wish that Facebook would let ME decide what is meaningful since I personally would like to see content from many of the non-profit and community organizations I’m passionate about.

But, back to the matter at hand . . . what to do? Read below for 4 ways to connect with your audience without paying for (the soon to be more expensive) Facebook Ads.

4 Ways Non-Profits Can Still Connect With Facebook Users Without Paying for Ads

1. Become a (Better) Content Marketer

It’s time to look at your content marketing strategy. You want to ensure that the media you’re sharing is high quality and share-worthy. If you can get folks to share your organization’s content with their Facebook friends, that will increase your free organic reach. Also, if there is a special occasion or event, ask for a share. YouTubers are constantly reminding their viewers to Like, Share or Comment on videos to show their support. If we provide quality content, we can ask the same. Check out Moz’s Beginner’s Guide to Content Marketing.

2. Turn Facebook Fans Into Ambassadors/Evangelists

Do you have any beneficiaries, constituents, volunteers, donors or board members who are passionate about your organization’s mission? Reach out to them and see if they would be willing to “donate” a share on special occasions or for news and events. You may even ask a core group of superfans to consistently share and engage with your posts.

3. Create Facebook Groups On Your Official Page

Facebook Groups let you create specific communities of people who interact directly with each other. You can use Groups to share exclusive updates, photos or events, and collaborate.” Consider segmenting fans such as volunteers, supporters, artists, parents, etc. This way your posts in the respective group will be visible to those members. You can even provide exclusive content that is tailored to them (this would be nice to do for your ambassadors/evangelists).

 

4. Get in the DM – Utilize Facebook Messenger

Stay engaged with fans through Facebook Messenger, especially by using bots. Abigail Ahoude outlined some awesome ways non-profits can use Facebook Messenger to their advantage; including examples from The Climate Reality Project and charity:water.

Bonus: Hop On Instagram

Yes, I know Instagram and Facebook are not the same, but Instagram does have 800+ million users. As far as we know, Instagram (which is owned by Facebook) is still the same. Classy‘s 25 Instagram Tips for the Modern Non-Profit is a great resource if you’re just getting started. In my own experience, I tend to get faster, more immediate engagement on this platform anyway. The downside is that you cannot include links in your posts, but it is a valuable platform for sharing your brand identity and story. Instagram Ads also seem to be unaffected by this news, however, time will tell if Facebook plans on bringing changes to that platform as well.