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Drew is the founder and CEO of ActionSprout.com; a Facebook app that empowers nonprofits and political campaigns to engage supporters beyond like, share and comment.
Drew has been helping organizations build productive relationships with supporters online for over ten years. From 2001 to 2009 he helped create the online strategy program at the former nonprofit technology leader Groundwire.
Drew is a a rabid supporter of entrepreneurship in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors and is active angel investor. He serves on the board of GetLittleBird.com and lives in Portland Oregon with his wife and kids.
Hi Vitus - I hear you! And you're certainly not alone in feeling that FB has become a waste of time and money.
Ironically, I felt that way about it 5 years ago when organic reach was high but the ROI for such traffic was at or near zero for most orgs. Back then, if you asked people how they were measuring ROI from their Facebook page, they would point to some false metric like "fan count" and say things like "Facebook is for building awareness". Then they would probalby roll their eyes at you as if you were an idiot for "not getting it."
Today, on the other hand, many orgnaization are measure the ROI of their FB page in terms of meaningful things such as they ability to reach, cultivate and convert new supporters to support their mission as advocates and/or donors.
We have quite a few customers telling us that Facebook is simply the most cost effective channel they currently have for aquiring new supporters and reengaging existing ones.
As for Facebook's job, I personally think their job is to listen to their users and help them find more content that value. I truly appreaciate the fact that they do not surface every piece (or any) of content my crazy aunt Betty posts. I also apprecaite that they have stopped cluttering my news feed with content from that organization that creates content I no longer care about. I might not want to ruffle Aunt Betty's feathers by unfriending her and I might still want my friends to know that I like the organization behind that page, but that does not mean that I want my limited time on FB to be spent wade through her silly cat memes or reading about a topic I no longer care about.
And you have to remember that what Facebook is doing seems to be working from their end users. Every month we are seeing their user stats go up. People are coming back more and staying longer.
I think you're spot on with regard to relevance and the call to "reconnect with your followers, reply to conversations and involve people for advocacy".
In terms of having to pay too boost posts, we're not finding that it's requird for all pages. If a page has been doing a good job creating relivant and engaging content, they are not seeing a decline in organic reach.
Facebook is not trying to punish pages and force them to pay so much as they are prioritizing high quality content no matter where it comes from. Pages are esentially being treated just like everyone else on the platform.
Interesting hashtag strategy. I can't wait to try it. We have found hashtags can drive drown conversion when they are embedded into the main body of the posts. But I like the idea of putting them at the end if the post. I can see how that might work well.
On the paid front, we are seeing candidates and nonprofits focused on list-growth and reactivation are having great success with custom audiences and look alike audiences as well.
Great Article, Mila. I'll be sharing this with the nonprofits we're working with.
We created www.ActionSprout.com specifically to help orgs leverage Facebook's open graph to engage supporters in ways that go way beyond Like, Share and Comment. With ActionSprout, nonprofits can now let supporters take all sorts of one-click actions directly from their Fan Page and their supporter's news feeds.
The system has dozens of actions that nonprofits can give their supporters to take right in Facebook. These include things like "Thank Our Volunteers", "Recommend our Organization", "Sign a Petition", "Sponsor a Child", and even "Donate". And when a person take the action and auth the App, the org also gains access to that person's contact information and a reason to follow up directly with the supporter.
The open graph really is changing what engagement can mean for nonprofits using Facebook.