I'm not sure there is anything more fascinating to marketers these days than the question of how to get engagement (likes, comments, shares) on Facebook. Nonprofit marketers are no exception.
How and when most people check Facebook may be the key.
An infographic from the arraenetwork blog, provides "10 Wowing Social Media Statistics." One of those stats is that 54% of FB users now access that social network through their mobile devices.
That certainly supports what Dan Zarella, the social media scientist at Hubspot, says about Facebook. I sat in on one of Zarella's free webinars last week, where he stated that his research shows that FB "likes" spike on Saturday and Sunday. They are lowest on Thursday.
Some of this has to do with the fact that people access their social networks when they are at leisure and usually by way of their mobile devices.
Dan says that brands (and that means nonprofit brands too) should try to reach their followers on the weekends and in the evenings.
Similarly, Ritu Sharma, of Social Media for Nonprofits and guest posting for Beth Kanter, makes timing one of his three top tips for social media.
Sharma says that you should be sending FB updates (and your Tweets) when people are on their way to work (8:45 am), at lunch (12:30 pm), commuting from work (5:30 pm), in the evenings (9:30-11 pm), and on the weekends.
Those are the times when people are also most likely to be on their mobile phones or tablets.
But sending updates during what is leisure time also means that you are competing with other distractions for attention, according to Zarella. He said in his presentation that we should remember the settings in which people are checking their mobile messages on Facebook. In the evenings and on the weekends, they might be in a mall with other people, at a restaurant or at home in front of their TVs.
Zarella says this is no time to be sending out boring, business-like information. People at leisure want to be entertained, not bombarded with information. He suggests light fare, such as photos...if you can work in a cute kitten, all the better!
Your followers are also averse, when they are relaxing, to negative messages, long messages, and updates that aren't fun to share, says Zarella.
So what is a charity to do? Well, actually plenty. Here are a couple of examples of FB updates, one from a small local charity and the other from a large national one.
Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center thanks a particular volunteer for a donation, using a delightful photo.
SmileTrain asks nothing of us but to enjoy this sweet smile.
There are lots of ways for charities to serve up a little joy to their Facebook followers. Asking a simple "fill-in" question, sharing an inspiring quote or the most heart warming photos of the people you help are all possibilities.
Have some other ideas for those "leisure" moments in your followers' news feed? Have you experimented with the timing of your Facebook updates? Please leave a comment.