The following is a guest post by Ritu Sharma, Co-Founder & Executive Director, Social Media for Nonprofits.
As we prepare to launch the third series of Social Media for Nonprofits with our New York City flagship conference on 3/7, we thought it’d be helpful to share a few of the many practical insights and tips enjoyed by our audience of 2,500 nonprofit leaders last year.
At our 2012 Boston program, slated this year for May 20, Facebook expert John Haydon shared these three easy-to-implement keys for helping your nonprofit stand out among the one billion people and groups with a presence on world’s largest social network:
- Pages vs. Profiles: Many smaller nonprofits have yet to make the jump from a Facebook profile, personally managed by their founders or EDs, to creating an organizational Page. This jump is crucial since Facebook can shut down profiles used for organizational purposes, plus they are capped at 5,000 friends. Finally, profiles are not open, whereas anyone can decide to follow your Page.
- Shorter Is (and Isn’t!) Sweeter: Online, it’s K.I.S.S. with a twist. In today’s attention economy, you need to grab people quickly, even on Facebook. Posts with less than 80 characters see an average 27% bump in engagement, so keep it short, but leave room for the full-length domain. Most folks don’t realize that Facebook users are weary of abbreviated, bit.ly-style websites- in fact, longer URLs are three times as likely to be clicked on Facebook.
- Timing is Everything: Buddha 2.0 may ask: If a tweet falls in the woods and there’s no one there to hear it, does it really make a sound? Surprisingly, the time of day that you post to Facebook, Twitter, and other networks has a big impact on the likelihood of them being seen. Try to catch folks in their downtime: morning and evening posts see a 20% higher rate of engagement, according to Buddymedia. Focus your energy on 9:30-11pm, after the kids go to sleep, when people are on their way into work, and over weekends, when there’s less social “noise” and you can really stand out. But don’t use Hootsuite or other third party tools to pre-schedule FB posts, as the network will de-prioritize those; instead, use Facebook’s new scheduling tool to pre-plan and time your messages.
We hope you find these tips helpful, and if you’d like to learn more, visit our website and consider joining us at one of our many upcoming conferences at the nation’s only series devoted to social media for social good. We’re kicking off 2013 in NYC on 3/7, and then we head to Boston on 5/20, Silicon Valley 6/13, DC 7/15, and Austin on 8/13. Follow @sm4nonprofits on Facebook or Twitter to stay tuned for details on all these, plus soon-to-be-announced dates for our September Seattle, June Vancouver, and November San Francisco, New Delhi, and Bangalore programs. Tickets for the full day programs, including breakfast and lunch, start at just $145 for nonprofits with budgets under $500K. Larger budget groups and companies or consultants can save $20 by using the “Star” discount code of our Global Partner, GuideStar USA.
Ritu Sharma is the Co-Founder & Executive Director of Social Media for Nonprofits, the only conference series in the country devoted to social media for social good. She is a public speaker, consultant, and event planner and heads up programming, marketing, and event logistics for the series. Previously, she produced the North American Social Media Marketing & Monitoring conference series for Our Social Times. Before that, she started a web development and social media business, which leveraged an international team across India, Romania, and the US.