6 Ways Nonprofits Must Adapt Their Facebook Strategy Due To News Feed Changes in 2016

Tina Jepson
Tina Jepson

Everyone’s on Facebook, from your grandmother and sister to your hairdresser and best friend from 5th grade. And since the platform’s been around for quite some time, most nonprofits are effectively using it to connect and engage with supporters.

But, times are a changin’!

Facebook frequently updates their News Feed algorithm, and oftentimes, this has major implications. The News Feed changes that were announced so far in 2016 will impact how and when your audience views your content, which is why all nonprofits must adapt their strategies to remain visible on the platform.

In a way, these changes are pushing people and brands to use the platform how it was intended to be used- as a social platform to connect people (not necessarily brands) to one another.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty details, let’s discuss the big picture. Facebook’s News Feed changes should signal to your nonprofit that it’s time to start using your Facebook page less as just a way to promote your brand (“we”) and more as a way to transmit content to your audience (“you”).

John Haydon, a digital marketing expert recently featured on a Rally & Engage podcast, states “Taking full advantage of a Facebook page is really about viewing it as a tool, like a stethoscope. We’re publishing stories, conversation starters, news…” Using Facebook as a tool will keep your nonprofit relevant and help you avoid any decrease in visibility due to the algorithm change.

What can you do to adapt to Facebook’s News Feed changes? Start by learning about the News Feed changes and then adapt your social media strategy accordingly.

2 Changes That Will Impact Your Nonprofit

You’re Up Against Family and Friends

The most substantial change to the Facebook News Feed is that posts by friends and family are now prioritized over brands.

This means that your nonprofit’s content may not show up on every one of your follower’s feeds. However, if your audience engages with your posts by sharing, liking, or commenting, then there’s a higher chance that your content will appear on the feed.

An Emphasis on Video

Recorded and live-streamed videos are becoming a larger component of the Facebook experience.

As part of Facebook’s new video strategy, users will notice a new tab for video on the Facebook mobile app. They’ll also still be able to see the number of views of each video posted and experience video auto-play.

Another component of the new video strategy involves Facebook Live. According to Facebook, people spend more than 3x more time watching a Facebook Live video compared to a video that’s no longer live. Because of this, Facebook now prioritizes Facebook Live videos on News Feeds.

6 Facebook Strategies Nonprofits Must Use To Stand Out Amidst News Feed Changes

1. Rely On Your Audience to Be Your Voice

With these changes, it’s essential that you begin to encourage your audience to be your most vocal supporters.

Give your followers the information they need to advocate for your brand themselves. This involves providing them with content that they’ll want to share with their networks. Focus on content that:

  • Entertains
  • Provides value (such as “how to…” or “did you know…”)
  • Is visually appealing
  • Gives insight
  • Encourages action

Just as in peer-to-peer fundraising, word of mouth will help your nonprofit remain top of sight and mind on the Facebook News Feed.

2.Consider Using Facebook Ads and Custom Audiences

Though Facebook is a free platform for both your nonprofit and audience, it’s slowly transitioning into a paid distribution channel for your content. Ensure that you’re getting the right content in front of your intended audience by using Facebook’s promotional features.

These features are surprisingly easy to use, so try a few promoted posts and see if you notice an increase in engagement.

On the same note, tailor content to your audience (current donors, for example) and encourage them to share certain posts. Visit Facebook’s Audience Optimization guide for more information on how to target and engage your desired audience.

“Tailor content to your audience (current donors, for example) and encourage them to share certain posts…” tweet this

3. Consider Facebook A Channel

It’s easy to use Facebook as a one-stop-shop destination for your audience. But it’s time for nonprofits to begin using this platform as a means to get people to their website.

The number of people that see your posts will increase as your content gets likes, comments, and shares. This is because Facebook both promotes content that offers ways to engage and shows posts to friends of people who interact with the content. To continue broadening your audience, you’ll need to post Facebook content with lots of opportunities for engagement.

Encourage clicks that direct back to your website by:

  • Sharing articles, blog posts, videos, and images posted on your website to Facebook
  • Running contests or offering special content on your website that are promoted through Facebook
  • Using a call-to-action to drive the audience member back to your site to donate, volunteer, advocate, etc.

4. Focus On Video

SocialFlow, a company that promotes millions of videos on Facebook every month, found that though videos accounted for less than 1% of posts, they accounted for 7.15% of reach, 5.2% of likes, and 11.1% of shares.

While videos may take more time (and money) to create, your hard work will not be in vain. Creating videos may be intimidating at first, so start out small by telling the story of your nonprofit and the people you serve through video. This post has some great examples of impactful stories.

“While videos may take more time (and money) to create, your hard work will not be in vain…” tweet this

Make your video stand out by:

  • Creating surprising, unique, and inspiring content
  • Use trends, such as a holiday or news event to be relevant
  • Promote video lists (ie. 10 Ways to Help…. Or 6 Animals That Want You to Adopt Them)

5. Try Facebook Live

Facebook Live allows you to interact with your Facebook friends and followers in real time, and both people and Pages can “go live” for up to 90 minutes. It’s a great tool that your nonprofit can use to connect and engage with your audience.

Facebook news feed changes Facebook Live

Before you give it a try, be sure you set yourself up for success. Follow best practices such as:

  • Communicating (ahead of time) when you’re going to go “live” and provide a description of what’s going to happen
  • Respond to your audience by name and address all comments during live feeds.
  • Do something unique to draw people in.
  • And, as always, be sure that your internet connection is strong enough to support the entire broadcast.

6. Use Outside Channels to Promote Facebook Content

Leverage the connections you have through all communication channels, including your website and other social media platforms, to help you promote your Facebook content and increase your reach.

Cross-promote your content across all channels by:

  • Asking people to share stories published on your website with the social media share buttons.
  • Including easy-to-use share links for content, stories, calls to action, etc. sent out via email.
  • Segmenting those connections that are more likely to share your content based on their past engagement and support. In an email, ask these people to share your nonprofit’s Facebook content, events, etc.
  • Asking your audience to share a specific post from Facebook and give them a prompt to do so.
  • Encouraging your contacts to join a peer-to-peer or other types of fundraising campaign as an individual fundraiser and share their support with friends.

While some nonprofits are businesses are understandably concerned about the implications of these News Feed changes, there’s no need to panic.

In fact, taking the steps to adjust your Facebook strategy today will definitely benefit your nonprofit in the long run. That’s because there’s power in recommendations and connections. Your nonprofit can thrive in the new Facebook environment if you work to create a loyal and engaged audience!

“Your nonprofit can thrive in the new Facebook environment if you create a loyal and engaged audience! tweet this

Let us know how you’ve adapted your Facebook strategy in light of the News Feed changes the comments below!

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