How To Make Social Media Experiments Fun! | Beth's Blog

How To Make Social Media Experiments Fun!

Digital Strategy

Arts Council of Silicon Valley Staff

This year my work as Visiting Scholar at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation includes training, coaching, and facilitating peer learning sessions for grantees on using social media effectively, becoming a Networked Nonprofit.    It has been incredible laboratory to put the big ideas in the book in practice.

I’ve had the pleasure working with one of grantees in the Local Program, the Arts Council of Silicon Valley, to coach them in making the transition to being a Networked Nonprofit.     There is a wide range of comfort levels and experience using social media on staff, including the social media gurus who manage the Artsopolis which is focused on marketing the arts in SV.

This is an interesting process of spreading the expertise and way of working to all parts of the organization.   This is a fairly small staff, with limited resources.   As we discussed the challenges of culture shifts, many of the concerns were around lack of time.    The Arts Council’s leader, executive director Bruce Davis, came up a great idea.  “Let’s make the process of experimenting fun – let’s start with a Facebook Friday.”    Their experiment is going to be focused on deepening and improving their Facebook presence for the Arts Council and getting  everyone on staff to participate.   Stay tuned for more …

Sharing Some Facebook Friday Insights

I like to have fun experimenting and that’s just what I’m doing on my Facebook Page, a place for learning, and sharing insights about best practices in social media for networked nonprofits.     I learn so much from the conversation threads and people sharing what they do.  I’ve been remiss in summarizing some of the nuggets out here on the blog, so here goes.

Facebook Strategic Objectives

I asked folks on Facebook:  “What is your organization trying to accomplish on Facebook with its Fan Page?”   Here’s a few answers:

  • To disseminate short stories that are unique to the fan page, as well as to link to articles on our websites. We are much more successful when the stories come with a blurb than when they are simply automated RSS-feeds.
  • To keep up with our friends, to empower them to tell their stories to the world, to find out what they need from us, to introduce them to each other, to offer mission-related action items, and to have fun.

Techniques for More Engagement

Someone said to me during a workshop a few weeks back – it really sucks to log into Facebook and see a two-star post quality ranking.    This prompted me to post a question on my wall:  How many of you Facebook Page admins notice your post quality ranking every time you visit? What I learned is that “drive by” analysis of metrics is really a waste of time.  You need to grab the month’s worth of measures and look at them against your content.

Some folks have been puzzled by the Post Quality score which  is determined by the percentage of your fans that engage when you post content to your Page. (It is calculated on a rolling seven-day basis… See More. The number of stars depends on how your Post Quality compares to similar Pages (for example, Pages that have a similar number of fans.)

Holly Ross simply ignores it and track the number of comments and likes on individual posts.   Jon Dunn does something similar:  “I prefer to really try to key in to what days were successful in terms of content. Understand why we had more new fans on a certain day. What about a certain post created that big conversation. Rinse and repeat.”

That particular wall post had 31 comments and 15 likes, way higher than other types of posts.  Even better than the numbers was the knowledge nuggets shared.  And, ah, I found the secret sauce:   Simply Asking Questions That Allow People To Share Their Knowledge and Ideas sparks engagement!

Is there an App for that?

I have been wanting to test a poll app to see if having close-ended questions or running a poll might encourage engagement.   So I installed this app and set up a poll “Do you think polls increase engagement?  Yes or No?”   Of the 43 people who took the poll, 89% said yes.   Those who didn’t participate in the poll at all, but did on my wall asking for their feedback on polling apps said they didn’t like that the app asked for their personal information.

So, sometimes, the simple approaches work better.

A Couple of Useful Tools To Streamline Workflow

I asked an open-ended question “What are your Facebook administrator best practices?”  This produced a rich conversation on techniques.    This was the first time I noticed people posting on the wall taking to one another, not me.    The thread also includes some great nuggets about streamlining the content strategy as well as streamlining interactions with fans.

  • NutShell Mail is an software that aggregates comments and likes on your fan page and delivers it in one email.   Manny Hernandez shared this link to a post about it.
  • Spredfast is a listening/content distribution tool.  One feature that I like is that it will give you a list of the names of fans and how much a like/comment.
  • There is a way to link google analytics to FB insights.

A Couple of Good Facebook Links

I share about 2-3 really juicy how to links about Facebook a week.  Here’s a couple that got the most likes or comments over the past month or so:

How To Contact Facebook for Help: Directory of Help Forms

Ten Cool Status Update Tricks

Be Careful Not To Violate Facebook Promotional Guidelines With Contests

Four Proven Steps to Facebook Page Success

Top Six Social Media Mistakes and How To Fix Them

Creating a Custom Landing Tab

Facebook Book For Your Desk

Finally, Mari Smith has co-authored a book, “Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day” – if you want one book about Facebook best practices that combines tactical and strategic – this is it!


11 Responses

  1. A. Joy says:

    Very helpful post as usual Beth. I am in the process of helping a local nonprofit improve their marketing through social media, specifically by improving their Facebook presence. This article gave me some great ideas.

    I think NPOs may realize the need to have a presence in social media and connect with their markets via the web, but a lot of times don’t know how to effectively leverage those tools to get the results they want. So glad people like you are willing to share your knowledge to help those worthy causes in their pursuit to connect with people.

    Oh, and thanks for the recommendation for Mari’s book. I’ll definitely check that out also.

  2. Chris Syme says:

    Thanks for pumping out the info on Facebook. I didn’t realize there was a way to hook up Google Analytics. Thanks for finding that.

  3. John Haydon says:

    Beth – great job here! These are the kinds of tips nonprofits are thirsting for.

    Two things: Post Quality is useful if you understand what it means – percent of total fans on your Page that engage during a rolling seven days. But, as you and I both know, seven days is not enough time to see deeper trends within a Page community. Facebook Insights are much better for that. But I think folks should use both Post Quality (for “drive by” analysis) and Insights for deeper trends.

    Your experiment on polls was insightful – particularly that a higher level of engagement was realized with open ended questions. I’ve found that engagement increases with well-thought out questions that are either provocative or novell. Page admins should get to know the essence of their community so that they can post questions that truly resonate with the community. After all, Facebook users love to share and connect. Good questions serve this need.

  4. Mazarine says:

    Dear Beth,

    I like how you went META with that poll, “Do polls increase engagement?” Perhaps Holly Ross is right, perhaps the best thing to do is just look at the Likes and the commenting. Perhaps people are tired of polls and want to be engaged in a more meaningful way, perhaps through one on one emails?

    I think that this is what is going to separate our online generation from the previous ones, being able to say,

    “Okay, this is what we’re saying, and

    “This is how we’re saying it, and

    “Here’s the framework of ideas and assumptions around what we’re saying,” and

    “If we had a different framework, we’d be saying THIS instead!”

    Getting the power of the collective mind behind our comments and posts, allowing people to share their knowledge and ideas, as you said.

    Here’s a top tip.

    One thing which I saw Claire Sale of Netsquared get a LOT of results with was posting your blog question on linkedin, if appropriate, then getting the answers and posting these as comments on your blog.

    Suddenly, you go where people are, you ask an intelligent question, and you get the collective to come to your website.



  5. I need to bookmark this page and read it all over again… Thank you!

  6. […] How To Make Social Media Experiments Fun! | Beth's Blog […]

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  10. […] their Facebook presence for the Arts Council and getting everyone on staff to participate.” – Beth Kanter, blogger  Writing Prompt […]