Nonprofit organizations need exposure for a variety of reasons… not the least of which is to secure funding. When you rely on conventional online marketing tactics to draw in donors, you’ve only taken the first step. Beyond that, you need to fine tune your marketing approach to gain wider coverage and recruit more volunteers for your cause.
So how can you get enough attention to achieve your goals? Social media marketing is the solution. This approach to marketing has a lower cost and enables organizations to connect with potential volunteers, sponsors, donors, etc. on a much wider scale.
Though there are too many social media platforms to focus on, we’re going to talk about Facebook marketing for nonprofits. There are certain aspects for which Facebook is ideal, including the following:
- Making it easy for your ambassadors to share your vision with their social circles.
- Showcasing your efforts – the people you help every day, the reason behind your goal, and the change you want to make in the world.
- Building a vibrant online support community, which leads to increased credibility and trust.
Tyson Hunger Relief is one of the many examples of nonprofits that have been successful with Facebook marketing. In one of its campaigns for the food donation to the Monterey County Food Bank, it offered 100 pounds of food donation for every like it received on Facebook. Not only Monterey County Food Bank earned a truckload of food, but it also ended up adding 900 new community members to the Facebook page who further expanded the organization’s efforts.
What can you do to capitalize the opportunity offered by this social network? Here are 5 tips that should prove useful to you:
1. Create engaging content with tools and apps
According to a report, the average Facebook user has 1,500 items in their News Feed competing for their attention. The number goes up to 15,000 for some people. That’s a lot of competition for user attention, and unless you’re creating content that is relevant and engaging to your target audience, you would be wasting time and resources.
Finding creative ways to engage your target audience with content is a vital aspect of creating a lively community that spreads your voice from the virtual to the real world by actively being a part of your cause. You can do this with the help of tools and apps that also allow your audience to invite their social circles to take part in the cause.
For example, a nonprofit could use AgoraPulse to run a social contest for its audience to participate in. Photo contests are one option as they appeal to emotions and have the potential to go viral. You can further create a buzz by putting the option to vote on photos, which can create an exponential amount of sharing for your brand and cause.
Pro Photo Supply and Regence BlueCross BlueShield utilized a photo contest to help raise money for grieving kids and their parents.
With this strategy, they were able to triple their reach and also drive traffic between their own pages.
2. Use the ‘Donate Now’ button
The Donate Now button, when integrated into a Facebook page, will appear beside the ‘Posts’ in the News Feed and also at the top of the Facebook page. When a user clicks this button, they can enter the desired payment and the donation is processed immediately.
This button also enables people to share your post with their friends. This should be of great benefit considering that 68 percent of people go online and learn more about causes and charities that their friends support when they discover them on Facebook.
Nonprofits interested in using the feature just need to fill out the Donate interest form in the Facebook Help Center to get started. The Donate Now button appears as a pop-up; an ideal way to boost conversions.
The good thing is that Facebook doesn’t charge a fee to process donations and instead pays the fee itself. As a result, 100 percent of the donations goes to your organization.
3. Expand your reach with Facebook Ads
While nonprofits don’t have a huge advertising budget, ads can be a cost-friendly way to expand the reach of your brand, especially if you don’t have a large number of followers to begin with. When you choose bidding such as cost per click (CPC) or cost per thousand impressions (CPM), you only pay for clicks or impressions received by your ad, and this can be very effective if they are targeted well.
You can use the ‘Custom Audience’ tool to target a specific set of Facebook users and direct your ads towards them. For instance, you can target influential bloggers and journalists so that they can report about your cause. This can be done by adding their Facebook ID numbers and email addresses.
Tools like AdEspresso can be used to optimize ad campaigns by A/B testing Facebook ads. You can remove low-performing ads and run your nonprofit campaign with ads that lead to more conversions.
4. Talk to your community
If you’re trying to get your audience to spread the word on Facebook and offline about your cause, you need to engage them in conversations by talking back. This would also portray your nonprofit as an organization with a voice rather than an organization that is just filling the News Feed for donations.
You don’t have to reply to every single comment posted by your fans, but occasionally talking to them will show people that the organization is interested in their opinion. This is important as communication is at the core of a nonprofit and determines how many people would be interested in helping its cause.
Above is an image from the page of Cancer Research UK Race for Life. The charity organization talks to its fans and appreciates their stories to keep them engaged.
5. Take advantage of the cover real estate
The cover image is the most important real estate for nonprofits trying to be successful with Facebook marketing. It some cases, it alone can be the difference maker in determining whether people will be interested in contributing to your cause or otherwise.
The first thing visitors will see when they land on your Facebook page is the cover image. It is worth spending the time to select an image that visually demonstrates the purpose of your nonprofit and the impact it wants to make.
For instance, take a look at this cover image:
The cover image of Charity: Water depicts its cause; to bring clean and safe drinking water to households in developing countries. Choose a cover image that best represents your organization to spark interest from visitors who land on your Facebook page.
As your organization gets strategic about Facebook marketing, the tips mentioned above will enable you to expand your reach, build more brand advocates, and find new donors. Understanding the best way to use the platform will allow you to reach your overall objective; i.e. to spread awareness about a cause.
Do you know any other tactics that could help nonprofits with Facebook marketing? Feel free to leave comments.