Once you have built an energized and engaged Facebook community for your organization, it’s time to ensure that it’s having the greatest impact on your mission possible. While social media is growing into a direct source of fundraising, email is still where most online fundraising takes place. Not only is email fundraising a reliable source of revenue, it also allows you to cultivate relationships with donors through another channel and communicate more directly with your supporters.
The key to successful email list building on Facebook is giving your Facebook community a reason to take an action that provides you with their contact information. We call this a “Call to Action”. And once you find a good action, you can use it again and again.
Picking a Good Call to Action
Be audience-centric: The most important part of creating a call to action is putting your audience first. In order to be audience-centric, you need to know your community. Each post that you send out is an opportunity to learn something about your supporters. Look for patterns and clues; what actions and issues do they engage with most readily? If you don’t have good data from Facebook, what about from email or even offline conversations? When it comes to calls to action, past performance is a great predictor of future success.
Tip: Use Facebook Insights or ActionSprout’s Timeline to look at your posts and find what’s working.
Solvable: Your audience has to believe that taking your action will lead to some positive change. Can you express what that change is and how the action will help?
Writing Social Content
Whether you are writing for a Facebook post or the action landing page, keep these tips in mind:
Be motivational: Using a motivational format can help catalyze people to take action. Try this simple format: state the problem, share the solution and tell people how they can take action to make that solution a reality.
Just right: You don’t want it to go too long or too short. For a post, don’t be shy about a full paragraph so long as you aren’t adding in filler. And if people are actually bothering to read the content on your landing page, it usually requires a few paragraphs to help move them to take action.
Be clear: When you ask supporters to take action, make sure it is very focused. You don’t want your supporters to have to think too hard or they will simply scroll on by. Think about your causally involved supporter and make sure that they would understand the problem and the solution.
Be consistent: Just have one simple call to action, such as signing a petition, pledging support, volunteering, etc. Copy that call to action over and over again throughout your content, so that it remains clear what you are asking people to do.
Try putting your call to action right up front. Use language like “SIGN THIS LETTER to XYZ” or “PLEDGE NOW to XYZ”. Then, add another couple of sentences that provide color to the topic and the action you are asking people to take.
Tap into emotion: Why do you care about this action? Seriously, if you don’t care about it, why would you expect anyone else to care about it? Why do you believe that members of your community care about this issue? Try creating an evocative hook that speaks to the heart of the matter.
It’s always urgent: You only have your supporters’ attention for a few seconds. You need to find a way to convey that this action needs to be taken right away!
Tips: Set a goal, have a deadline, and talk about a growing challenge or impending decision.
Make action-takers look good: Facebook is a social space. Your action should be something that members of your community want to be seen supporting. Will taking this action make your supporters look good to their friends and family? Ask yourself what your friends would think about you if they saw that you have taken this action.
Have a target for your action: Having a clear and understandable target to which your action is directed makes a big difference. So is having a clear and specific goal for what you are asking that person to do, e.g. keeping open a children’s hospital, saving a local park, passing legislation, etc.
The Right Image
Picking the photo: Make sure that the image is powerful and attention-grabbing, but also relates directly to your action. Think of the image as a shorthand for your action. Will people understand the theme just by looking at your image? Will it catch their attention? And you can use free images from sources like Creative Commons if you don’t have the budget—just make sure to follow their citation requirements.
Be consistent: Your image should be the same for both the post and the ActionSprout landing page.
Optimize for a link post: This is a biggie. Facebook’s link post format for images is optimal because when clicked, it will take your supporters directly to the landing page. Make sure that the image is 1200×627.
Make the text count: If you have the ability, add your call to action to the image. Free tools like PicMonkey are great for this. If you decide to run ads as well, keep the text to no more than 20% of the image.
Repost the best: The best actions deserve to go out again and again. Since only a small portion of your supporters will see any given post, make sure to keep reusing the best. When you find an action that is working well, use it until it stops working.
Create many actions: Some actions will do great and some will bomb—that’s just how it is on social. But the more you create, the more chance you’ll have to get a viral hit. Some organizations create at least one new action a day—if that’s more than you can do, shoot for two a week.