Assuming that you know how to post a status update on Facebook, the next question is, what should you post? For the most part, fundraising pitches are ignored, as is PR-like content. In general, tone and subject matter should be timely and personal, and should have a more casual tone than what you write and present on your website or in print.
1. Success stories
Your fans want to hear and see that your nonprofit is making progress. Success stories are guaranteed to elicit thumbs ups. With seemingly so much bad news being thrown around the web on a daily basis, a feel-good story from your nonprofit can work wonders on the psyches of your fans. Keep in mind that most people will only skim the story, so keep it short and positive.
People love photos that tell a story. They want to see the people and places that make up your nonprofit and its work. Whether you post a link to a Flickr slideshow or directly upload your photos from events and campaigns to Facebook, sharing photos with your fans regularly should be a top priority.
Videos help your nonprofit tell its story. If they are done well, they can elicit strong feelings of support and empathy. Of course you want to share videos created by your nonprofit, but sharing well-produced, powerful videos created by others that speak directly to your nonprofit’s mission is also a best practice. Ideally, you should share videos with your fans at least two or three times a month.
4. Breaking news
Social media are driven by breaking news. The 24-hour news cycle has dramatically changed the way people digest and respond to news. In many cases, an event that happened three or four days ago is old news and just does not garner a response on social media. Therefore, today’s social media managers need to have a voracious appetite for monitoring breaking news so that they can share it quickly with their communities. That’s one of the reasons why blogging is so important in social media: it allows your nonprofit to respond to or share breaking news quickly.
On Facebook, you can either link to the breaking news story directly (for example, sharing a New York Times story) or write a few paragraphs about the story in a blog post, then share it on Facebook. The benefit of the latter is obvious. Rather than directing your Facebook fans to the New York Times website, you direct them to your blog, complete with your nonprofit’s branding.
5. Calls to action
Calls to action can help motivate your fans to donate, sign online petitions, participate in email campaigns, or sign up to attend events. They are especially effective when they are tied to breaking news. Your fans care about your nonprofit and its mission or they wouldn’t have liked your nonprofit in the first place, and sometimes all they need is for you to ask in order to become mobilized and inspired to take action.
Excerpted from Social Media for Social Good by Heather Mansfield
Published by McGraw-Hill Professional
Copyright © Heather Mansfield, 2011
All rights reserved
Heather Mansfield is the owner of DIOSA Communications and principal blogger at Nonprofit Tech 2.0, a social media guide for nonprofits. A pioneer in utilizing social media for social good, Heather has fifteen years of experience utilizing the internet for fundraising, building communities, and education about a variety of causes.