Tue, April 20 2010

My Facebook fans love me, they love me not…

Katya Andresen's avatar

Author, Robin Hood Marketing

Filed under:   Social Media •

When I was in elementary school, we’d send notes to boys on behalf of our friends that had check boxes:

_I like you
_I like like you
_I don’t like you

I was reminded of this today when Facebook announced that instead of forcing people to “fan you,” people who like you but feel “fan” is too strong a word can “like” you.

This spurred an interesting discussion on the Progressive Exchange, where the consensus seems to be this is good in that it lowers the barrier for attracting friends on Facebook for your cause - but also results in a less ardent following.

So what’s a nonoprofit to do?

I got an interesting email today from Shabbir Imber Safdar and Shayna Englin, who have just published an ebook about measuring Facebook’s impact on a nonprofit.  They took a year’s worth of data from US Fund for UNICEF’s Facebook fan page and website, studied it, and used statistical methods to find connections between certain activity and success in clickthroughs and donations.  “We found some amazing things about how posting frequency affects their clickthru and fan size, as well as some ways to optimize their work when there’s a high profile disaster that would yield them more donations,” says Shabbir.

They make lots of good points, the first of which is: have a goal if you’re doing this.  They also recommend measuring carefully against that goal.  Amen to that.  These two things are not done enough by nonprofits!

Nonprofits need to answer a few simple questions to justify the time and expense they’re
investing into maintaining a presence on Facebook:

1. How effective is the work I do on Facebook in producing bottom line results for the
organization?

2. What should I be doing differently on Facebook to improve my results?

3. Should I take resources away from Facebook and devote them to something else?

Unless you can answer these questions, Facebook will become yet another unproven checklist
task you must do without justification because “everybody else is there”.

Their in-depth analysis of UNICEF on Facebook is fascinating:

1. Clickthrough response spikes on Wednesdays and is most sluggish on weekends.

2. Except in the immediate aftermath of a disaster, clickthrough rate drops off when
UNICEF-USA posts to their fan page more than 3 times per day.

3. Clickthrough rates skyrocket during disasters, providing the best possible opportunity for
fundraising.  Though while the earthquake in Haiti had a tremendous impact on UNICEF-USA’s
Facebook fan base, other major events (natural disasters in Indonesia and the Phillipines) did not,
suggesting that unlike clickthrough and conversion, fan growth is more organic than episodic.

Especially of interest regarding the recent news about “liking” on Facebook: “Likes” and video plays on posts don’t correlate strongly with clickthrough.

So what does this all mean to your nonprofit?

Go read the full report here.  They have good suggestions for you!  Read it if you’re worried those folks on Facebook don’t really like like you…

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