Most nonprofits make use of Facebook by building pages and attracting fans. The nonprofit will hire a social media expert to engage the public there. There may be contests that specify that in order to be entered, users must “like” and “share” the page. Or the page may be enough of an attraction that people will like and share the page without contests or prodding.
Once someone likes the page, the posts and updates from that page are added to the user’s newsfeed. As an example of how this works, the nonprofit car donation charity Kars For Kids has drawn 1,739 likes. That means that 1,739 people will see posts and updates to this page in their Facebook newsfeeds. Each of those 1,739 people has his own circles that may also see these posts and decide to engage with the car donation charity’s well-represented social media team.
In theory, that’s how it works, especially if the nonprofit has invested the resources to create a nice-looking page with quality content, as in this example. But sometimes, despite a nonprofit’s best efforts, the crowds don’t flock. Not to mention that the Facebook newsfeed algorithm may mean that some of the nonprofit’s natural audience will never see the nonprofit’s posts. Even when the nonprofit does reach people, it may not realize much gain from these efforts.
When that happens, a nonprofit may wonder whether it might be worth its while to experiment with Facebook advertisements. After all, Facebook ads are fairly cost-effective, beginning at $1 a day, and ensure face time and engagement with the target audience. There are several types of Facebook advertising for purchase and it may just be wise to try them all and discover what works best. Let’s see how this works:
Cover All Bases
Facebook Ads allows a logo or photo plus 90 text characters for promoting pages, applications, events, and websites. You can choose to target only those with a connection to your nonprofit or those you have yet to reach. These ads appear to the right of the Facebook newsfeed.
Sponsored Posts targets fans that might not otherwise see your posts by increasing your visibility with an existing audience. In this manner, the nonprofit circumvents or perhaps supersedes the Facebook newsfeed algorithm. If your nonprofit is running any sort of campaign or has done something newsworthy, you might want to sponsor a post on the subject to ensure that people see what it is you’ve posted. Not getting enough engagement? Ask some questions of your public and sponsor these as posts to increase the possibility that people will see them and respond.
Sponsored Likes suggests that users “like” causes to which their Facebook friends are already connected. This type of advertising has an impressive success rate, outperforming standard Facebook Ads by offering a click through rate that is 46% higher. Sponsored Likes are also more cost effective than Facebook Ads at 20% less per click. The reason this form of advertising works is that 92% of people would rather accept a recommendation from a friend or relative compared to just 47% of people that make choices based on newspaper, radio, and television. This is according to research performed by Facebook Marketing.
There may come a time when Facebook users become fed up with the money-making tactics of Facebook and those who purchase Facebook advertising, but that time has yet to come. For now, these tools offer the potential to reach many. Best of all, these methods of advertising are kind to the pocket. Of course, it makes sense to think about how much your nonprofit is willing to spend and what it expects to realize from the effort. Then go back and revisit your plan after a self-specified time period to see if it’s working to the advantage of your organization.