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Building an Engaged Support Base on Facebook

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Growing your Facebook Page isn’t about Fan Count. You can have 1 million+ fans, but if no one is paying attention to your posts, it’s just not that useful. Instead, focus on engagement: the cumulative likes, clicks, shares and comments that each post receives. It’s Facebook’s currency by which everything else is driven. Engaged supporters are more likely to see your posts, like your Page, share with others, and take meaningful actions like RSVPing, joining your email list and even donating. Engagement is a consistent number that you can grow overtime.

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In fact, you can use engagement as a predictor of how many people will move to take an email action promoted on any given post. If 100 people engage with your average link post, then you can expect around 10–20% to take a higher-level action promoted in a post like “sign a petition” or “take a pledge”. That translates to roughly 10–20 people taking action on your average post with a call to action. So if your goal is ultimately to grow your email list, start by growing your engagement.

Here are 7 easy-to-use tips to grow your engagement:

Do what works: Building a successful Facebook community isn’t about hacking Facebook’s algorithm; it’s about creating content that your audience wants to be seen engaging with. Look for patterns—certain issues, images, types of posts—that have worked on your own Page before, or Pages doing similar work with a similar audience. When you find content that works, do more of it!

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And finding patterns is easy. You can always check Facebook Insights to track your post performance or use free tools like ActionSprout’s visual Timeline.

It’s about being seen: People engage with content on Facebook because they want to be seen engaging with it. As a Page manager, your job is to give people content and actions that help them show their friends something about themselves. Post content and offer up actions that they can take to show their friends who they are and what they care about. Does your content make them look smart, caring and fun? These are the things they want to engage with.

Post better content:

Only a small percentage of your supporters will see any single post that you send out. We’ve been told by Facebook that as long as you post good content, you can’t over post. And we’ve seen Pages post as much as 30 times a day and thrive. You don’t have to do that, but here’s how to quickly get more great content up on your Page.

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We’re all curators now: Look for content that is doing well on Pages with similar audiences or that create content you think your audience likes. Then either share those posts on your own Page or look to them for inspiration when you set out to create new posts for your community.

If you can, focus on over performance. If something is doing really well for the Page that it’s on, if it has a similar audience, or it’s an issue you work with, it’ll probably over perform for your Page too.

Tools:

  • ActionSprout Inspiration
  • Crowdtangle
  • Buzzsumo
  • Topsy
  • Facebook Trends, Lists

Follow the 80/20 rule: 80% of the content you post should have already proven itself to have some viral potential. The other 20% can be totally raw and new. But don’t be surprised when most of that fails to take off. The 80% includes posts that look like posts you’ve seen work on your Page before; reposted content that previously worked on your Page; curated content that has succeeded elsewhere; and new content that was inspired by successful posts from a similar Page.

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The real heroes: Post content that celebrates your donors and supporters as heroes. Give your Facebook community ways to join you in thanking and celebrating them with you. Putting your heroes at the front can generate great engagement and also build direct relationships.

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Have a conversation: Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your job is done when you push the “Publish” button on a great post. Creating real relationships with supporters and donors on Facebook requires real dialog. Ask questions in your posts, reply to comments, like and share comments made by your supporters, etc.

Post multiple times a day: Every organization has limited capacity, so use what time you have wisely and post at least a few times a day. The more often someone sees your content and engages with it, the better your relationship will be. To keep the volume up, don’t hesitate to repost a great piece of content from last week or share a piece of content from other Facebook Pages.

For more information on CCAH and ActionSprout.