Facebook Fans Do Not Equal Success

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It’s easy to see why Facebook is such a valuable resource for nonprofits. It lets them connect with their supporters, is a great outlet for storytelling, and provides opportunities to raise awareness about their mission. Facebook has the potential to be a marketing and fundraising workhorse, and is especially attractive because it is free to use (or is it?).

Because Facebook has such potential to spread awareness about a cause, many organizations focus almost exclusively on winning new Facebook fans on the platform. Having a ton of likes on Facebook looks great, but lots of Facebook fans does not always mean increased awareness or heightened engagement. Instead of focusing on the number of likes you have, focus on your social media goals and how you’re engaging with fans. Having the most popular Facebook page ever is useless if it doesn’t help you accomplish your goal!

There are two common goals for nonprofit organizations’ Facebook pages. Organizations generally use their pages to raise awareness and/or help with fundraising and attracting volunteers. Most organizations do a little of both at the same time. When you think about accomplishing those two goals, what do you have in mind? How will you measure your success? And how the heck does the number of Facebook fans play into it?

If your goal is to build awareness about your brand and your mission:

Having a lot of Facebook fans is a good start, but that doesn’t mean it should be your main focus. Having lots of likes doesn’t always mean that people are talking about you and spreading your mission! Instead of tallying fans, encourage people to talk about you, share your updates, and engage with you.  Work on posting updates that resonate with your fans, encourage conversations and sharing, and focus on keeping your supporters involved with you online. Thousands of fans who don’t engage with you are less valuable than fewer active supporters. The best part is that your page will become more visible if people are interacting with you — that can mean more likes on your page!

If your goal is to find donors and volunteers:

A Facebook fan is not always an engaged donor/volunteer. Put your fan base to good use by including regular calls to action in your posts. This is a fine line to walk — you don’t want to ask your fans to donate in every post (you know how everyone gets annoyed with fundraising programming on radio stations? It’s the same concept), but you don’t want to go without asking for support. Try posting content from your webpage to your site, where it should be easy for interested people to find and use your donation page.

Having a lot of Facebook fans is nice, but it’s not as important as engaging with your fans. Focus on quality interactions with your fans instead of worrying about how many you have. Keeping your fans happy and involved is better than having tons of inactive followers!

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