Use Facebook as a Community, not a Commercial

If you could watch TV or listen to the radio with no commercials, would you? What if you could opt out of those pesky “sponsored posts” on Facebook?

It’s very convenient to have access to hundreds of TV channels, free radio, and powerful tools like Facebook, but commercials and ads prove that nothing is really free. If you’re using Facebook Pages for your nonprofit, a company, or your own business, ask yourself whether you would choose to read your own posts. If not, your followers may find your posts as annoying as ads and commercials. (And they may have already hidden your posts.)

Your content strategy should aim to give your followers want they want when they open Facebook, and build a relationship before asking them to give money or support you in any other way. Here are some ways to do that:

Be real. Talk to your followers they way you would talk to your personal friends. Don’t market to them; engage with them.

Listen. Listening to your followers doesn’t just mean reading the comments and counting the number of likes your posts get. Look at the posts that get little or no response. What can you learn from that?

Show, don’t tell. There’s a reason Pinterest, Tumblr, and other platforms are so popular. Photos, infographics, and other visuals meet our needs for quick information without requiring us to read a lot. On Facebook, Google+, and increasingly Twitter, photos and short videos are among the most engaging and successful content.
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Be relevant. Keep up with cultural news, trends, and fads. The nonprofits that do this best adapt popular memes to bring their work to life, tap into major events like the Super Bowl, and even leverage celebrity scandals to engage their audience in serious ways. But they do it selectively, they don’t overdo it, and it doesn’t seem forced. Being relevant also means recognizing when a fad has passed or grown tiresome, so please don’t make a Gangnam Style video, even if your boss suggests it.

Entertain. You don’t have to be a standup comedian when you post, but don’t be afraid to show some personality — it will make your cause more interesting. Remember, people choose to follow you and invite you into their news feed, and they can just as easily change their mind. Give them a reason to stay engaged.

Here are some other tips from ShortStack and the Social Skinny:

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One response to “Use Facebook as a Community, not a Commercial

  1. Pingback: Infographic: Make the Most of Your Posts on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, and Vine | Communication Stuff, by Mark Miller

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