Thursday, February 27, 2014

What Facebook's New News Feed Expansion Means for Your Nonprofit



Facebook announced recently that page posts that tag other pages will now show up in the news feeds of users who have Liked the tagged page. 



Your Facebook reach just got bigger.
There has long been a theory that Facebook actually helps shrink users' worldview by only showing them content from friends and pages that in some way validate the user's existing thoughts, politics, and general ideals. This latest news feed expansion should help keep content fresh, so users become more engaged and check Facebook more often. It should also help users come in contact with more content, which is a great opportunity for nonprofits to spread our messages further and improve support.

This is a game-changer for social media for nonprofits. This new development means that your nonprofit's Facebook reach just got a significant boost, if you play it right. Pages are often so focused on interacting only with their supporters that they forget to interact with other pages. Interacting with other pages just became critical. It will expand your reach, it's a great new way to curate content with immediate results, and there's a good chance that the other page's followers will also be interested in what your organization does.

Start by searching for other pages that are of interest to what your organization does. If your organization addresses housing needs, follow other nonprofit organizations that address housing needs. Follow a LOT of them, from your area and as far as your organization reaches. If your nonprofit digs wells in Africa, follow pages that are relevant to that work across the globe. Think outside the nonprofit sector as well. If you work for an animal welfare organization, follow similar organizations and pages for groups and companies that are involved in the pet care business. This can be anything from local groomers to large retail chains specializing in pet supplies. You never know when that groomer or retailer might donate supplies or services to your organization!

You can even send each one a message introducing your organization and asking their page to Like your page in return. Just make sure you change up the message for each one, or Facebook will penalize you for spam.

Check your page's news feed a couple times a day. A lot of page managers forget this step. To do this, switch to use Facebook as your page, then click the HOME button in the top right of the toolbar. Now, go through the news feed and Like and comment on posts that are relevant to what your organization does. Make sure you're providing something useful. Sometimes it's nice to simply say congratulations on a post - that shows humanity behind the social media screen. Try to also leave insightful comments that help that pages followers in some way. Remember to never be negative.

As you're scanning the news feed, look for content that you can share. Facebook doesn't give shared posts the same reach as unique posts, but the news feed expansion will help with that. When you hit the Share button, write a post that explains why this is relevant to your followers, and TAG the original poster in your comment. (To tag another page in a post, simply include @ in front of that page's name in the text of your post. Facebook will automatically look it up and tag the page). In doing so, you provide value to your followers and to that page. The more Shares a post gets, the more reach Facebook awards it. Keep the social in nonprofit social media and hopefully that page will repay the favor someday.



If the original post is to an article outside of Facebook, be sure to read the entire article first. Headlines are not quality indicators and you don't want to share something that actually goes against what your organization stands for. Once you read the article and determine that it is worthy of sharing with your followers, you can create a unique post linking to the article. In your post, be sure to TAG the page where you originally found the link, or the page that owns the article (possibly both). This way, you get the reach of an unique post, and the reach of the new tagging algorithm. Plus, you've given credit where it's due.

Test it out. Visit www.Facebook.com/HuTerra and Like our page- be sure to send us a message linking to your page so we can Like you back (this is also a great way for nonprofit communicators and fundraisers to get in touch with us). Then start seeking other organizations of interest to what you do, and get tagging!