With the ever-changing dynamics of social media, Facebook still ranks as the top social media platform in the world. According to Hootsuite, 1.47 billion people worldwide log onto Facebook daily and over half check-in several times during the day. For a nonprofit, the reach of Facebook is a powerful tool to share its mission across the globe. With so much potential waiting to be leveraged, you might be wondering how to create a successful Facebook strategy.

Here are six steps to get started.

1. Gather Demographic Information

To begin, you’ll need to gather some demographic information first. For nonprofits that already have a Facebook page, go to the “Insights” tab and write down the following facts:

  • Number of followers
  • Number of page likes
  • The ratio of men to women
  • Age groups and percentages
  • Countries where your top fans live
  • Cities where your top fans live
  • Language your top fans speak

For organizations that do not have a Facebook page set up yet (learn more about creating a Facebook page for nonprofits), round up some of this information from other sources such as previous marketing and fundraising campaigns. While that information might not be as data-rich, any demographic facts and figures you can find will help guide a Facebook strategy for your nonprofit.

2. Outline Why And Who

Chart for a nonprofit strategy.A Facebook strategy needs to align with a nonprofits goals and mission.

After you’ve gathered demographic information, arrange to meet with your team for a brainstorming session. Begin the meeting by covering three items:

  • The nonprofit’s mission
  • Goals of the nonprofit
  • What the nonprofit hopes to achieve

With that information in mind, discuss why your nonprofit is using Facebook. Is it to:

  • Build your brand
  • Spread your mission
  • Communicate with supporters
  • Educate the public
  • Seek new supporters
  • Find volunteers
  • Garner donations

If it is a combination of these items, I suggest giving them a rank to prioritize how the nonprofit will invest its time and effort.

Magnifying glass looking at a target audience.Take the time to understand your target audience and create content that inspires action.

  • Who is our target audience?
  • How does that audience use Facebook?
  • Are there any particular interests associated with this group?
  • Is there a specific type of content that appeals to this group?
  • What types of content will inspire action?
  • Is there a core message we want to convey with this audience?
  • Is there a secondary audience our nonprofit wants to reach?

The next step for creating a Facebook strategy is to understand the audience you are trying to reach. Using the demographic information collected in the first step, ask another set of questions:

During this stage, discuss the geographic locations of your top fans and target audience. Once the particulars of your audience are understood, including where you need to aim your Facebook strategy, you’ll be primed to develop content that resonates with your target group.

3. Decide Key Players In Implementing Your Facebook Strategy

Before you start building your Facebook strategy, there is one more detail to sort out.

  • Who will maintain and manage your Facebook account?

Out of all the questions, this might be the most challenging as many nonprofits work with limited staff and funding, and working with a digital marketing firm may not be an option. If that is the case, I would suggest having two people manage the account; one to be the primary manager, and the second to provide additional support for graphics, video creation and campaigns, as well as managing the page when the primary manager is on vacation or unavailable.

If your website is not set up with Google Analytics, have your Facebook manager sign up for this free service. Not only does Google Analytics provide useful data about your website, the “Acquisition” tab offers additional insights about social media traffic, such as:

  • Top social media platforms
  • User and session data
  • Source and referral data
  • Goal conversions rates

When it comes time to analyze your Facebook strategy at the end of every quarter, this information will help you understand how users are interacting with your Facebook page and if it is leading them to the website.

4. Create Your Facebook Strategy

To create a Facebook strategy, develop a content plan geared toward your audience and the goals of the nonprofit by utilizing a variety of types of posts and content like:

nonprofit-volunteer-with-shovelThere are multiple ways to share your mission, like showing volunteers in action.

When it comes to types of content to post, there are multiple ways to share a message and mission with your followers. Visuals are one of the top generators of engagement, so be sure to include photos, videos and graphics. Polls and surveys are other useful tools to garner follower engagement.

Constant Contact has a fun list of ideas to reach supporters. Here are eight to start:

  1. Behind-the-scenes video and photos
  2. Photos and videos of volunteers in action
  3. Historical images of the organization
  4. Surveys (Ask your audience what they want to see more of!)
  5. Share stories and testimonials
  6. Post the latest press coverage
  7. Promote events with photos and invitations
  8. Share educational information about your cause

Always provide quality content over quantity and stay focused on producing content that aligns with your outlined goals. CoSchedule offers varying research on how many times a day to post to Facebook; at the most 2 and a least one. For a nonprofit working with limited staffing, you’ll want to create a posting plan that works with allocated time and resources.

Another part of your Facebook strategy should include supercharging your page to capitalize on the spaces in its layout. Choose a captivating cover photo. In the “Our Story” section use a mix of text and images to convey your nonprofit’s mission. Take full advantage of the Facebook tabs and the donation page features. Include all the essential information, such as website and contact info. Make your Facebook page inviting and easy to navigate.

5. When To Post on Facebook

Become best friends with the “Insights” feature of your Facebook page. This tab has lots of useful information, including page reach, page views, followers, likes and much more, like the “Post” tab which shows you the best times to post each day.

Generally, you’ll want to post during peak audience times. However, Classy suggests also posting during off-peak times as you’ll have “less competition to get into your supporters’ news feeds.”

They also note these alternative posting times:

  • To capture individuals after work hours, post on the weekdays between 5 pm and 1 am (EST)
  • Thursdays and lunchtime hours between 12 pm and 1 pm (EST) are reported as the most popular times to post
  • For more engagement, post on Saturdays and Sundays

6. How To Track Your Facebook Strategy

Image of a likes, comments and shares on Facebook.Review your Facebook analytics every three months to ensure your strategy is on track.

Keeping track of metrics is an essential step to understanding what is working with your Facebook strategy and what is not. Ideally, you’ll want to review your data every three months. As an example, if the goal of your nonprofit is to create brand awareness, keep track of page likes and follows. If the focus is to interact with current supporters, keep track of post comments, engagements and shares. If the objective is to reach a new audience, review page likes and clicks to the website.

Facebook stats to watch are:

  • Page likes
  • New followers
  • Post likes
  • Post shares
  • Post comments
  • Reach
  • Engagement
  • Clicks to website

As you review your data, think critically about what it is telling you about the past three months and your return on investment. The Balance Small Business has a useful list of questions to ask during the review process. Here are a few to get started:

  • Was the Facebook strategy followed? If not, why?
  • Were challenges (time, resources, management) encountered?
  • How did we respond to those obstacles?
  • With this new information, how can we alter our Facebook strategy moving forward?

Regularly reviewing your nonprofit’s Facebook strategy will help you stay organized and on track to meet your goals.

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