Facebook Updates News Feed (Again)

Facebook has updated its News Feed algorithm again. What does this mean for you? It means that they want more people to know what is going on around them…and by pushing more stories with the most comments, the most shares, and the most likes to the top of your feed, they believe you will want to see that story. Almost one third of people use Facebook to get their news. So, Facebook wants to make sure more people can see the “newsworthy” posts first.

Personally, I don’t like the News Feed default and prefer the All Friends feed. If something hasn’t been commented on or liked you can miss a lot (cure the Fear of Missing Out (#FOMO) music). That said what if your constituents don’t see a post announcing a new advocacy initiative? What if you don’t have many followers on your page yet? Your posts may end up being missed by those who do follow or like you.

Which feed do you prefer?

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Is Liking Something on Social Media Hurting Your Org?

A recent study done by researchers from the Sauder School of Business found that people who like a post Facebook or retweet something are less likely to give you a donation. Once people like, share or repost something they are done with the action and are less motivated to give.

Here’s a video describing the study’s findings and what it means to us who work at charities who use social media to drive people to donate and to action.

This study’s findings contradict other studies done like this one done by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and this one from the Nonprofit Social Benchmarking Report that found when social media is incorporated into fundraising, donations increase.

What are your thoughts on this new study?

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A reflection from two talks

In the past week I’ve given two talks to two different groups on the same subject – social media and fundraising. The first group was a group of 32 professionals who work or volunteer for nonprofit organizations through the Foundation Center located at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. The second group was a group of 18 graduate students in a Nonprofit Communications course at Point Park University. Some of the students already work at nonprofits while others hope to when they are done with the program.

A couple of key questions that arose with both groups were:

  1. Should you schedule future posts to social media?
  2. How do you measure success using social media?
  3. What platform is the right one to use?

Well, the correct answer to each is what is usually my least favorite answer – it depends. Scheduling future posts is great idea if you don’t want to be tied down to your social media account 24/7. But, if you do use scheduled-posts to social media don’t forget about them. You need to be able to reply to questions and inquiries for people who respond. You still need to be social. Some people think that scheduled tweets are bad. That doesn’t have to be the case if you remember the posts!

How do you measure success using social media? It’s not always the number of posts retweeted or share, number of likes, number of people following you on social media or even the number of comments. Sometimes it’s the number of people who took the call to action you wanted, whether that’s making a donation or calling a legislator. Sometimes it’s what is spelled out in your strategic plan, your marketing and communications plan and your development plan.

Is Facebook the right platform? What about LinkedIn? In addition to the major social media networks there are so many niche social media networks and tools and its hard to say. It depends on your intended audience. Just because you have an agency page on Facebook doesn’t mean everyone will interact and engage with you on it. Just like some people prefer email to phone calls, others preer Facebook to Twitter or Tumblr to Facebook or something you may not have heard of before like BlueLine (a social network for cops). What you need to do is try a network to see what type of engagement you receive in addition to just surveying your constituency to see what they use. Just because one network is best of agency X doesn’t mean it will be the same for agency Y.

If you want to see my slides from the two talks just look below

It depends.

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What Social Media is Cool with Teens?

It seems that teens change their mind as often as we think. One day they like something, the next day they don’t. Well it isn’t any different with their choice of social media. Teens want to be able to express themselves but also not do so in front of their parents. A recent story in the NY Times highlights studies that founds teens are more interested in using Twitter this year versus last year. They’re also more interested in using Instagram but not Facebook. Parents, if you have a Facebook account only to monitor your kids, you’ll want to make sure you understand Twitter and Instagram, too.

Mom watching over shoulder of two teen girls on a computer

source: uknowkids.com

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Newest Changes to Twitter and Facebook

Twitter recently announced that they were going to start allowing people who follow your account on Twitter, regardless if you follow them back, to send you direct messages on Twitter. It’s also been reported that you cannot have and weblinks in your Twitter direct messages. Other than spam from companies trying to sell you goods, how do you think this will impact you and your organization?

Facebook also made news by announcing that it has changed its privacy policy…again… that will allow all users to be discovered using Facebook Graph (it’s search tool). It doesn’t matter if you’ve protected and locked down your account. Fortunately there are a couple of tips to protect your information on Facebook as best possible without taking the step of completely deleting your account.

Will you follow people on Twitter just to send them direct messages? Is that spamming people you otherwise can’t contact?

What about Facebook? Will you make the necessary edits to your account to keep it as private as possible?

Let us know in the comments section.

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How People Use Social Media

The nice folks at Wolfram Blog have created a set of charts identifying how people talk on Facebook as they age. Wolfram Alpha allows people to donate access to their Facebook feed so that they can study how we use technology. More than one million people have done so to date.

The newsflash is that the younger you are the more you talk about Facebook on Facebook.

Line chart indicating people talk less about Facebook as they age.  It is about equal between genders

source: Wolfram Blog

That’s not too surprising but some of the other charts might be of interest to you and your organization. Information like amount people talk about health on Facebook goes up as the user ages and women talk about family and friends much more than men.

Other facts that result from the analysis of this information is the media number of friends for a person on Facebook is 342 and looking at a broader group of Facebook users (these people in the student and their friends) there are many more people with almost no friends on Facebook, and the number of friends a user has peaks when the user is aged 20 and goes down from there.

If you knew more about the way your constituents, volunteers, trustees, donors, etc., used social media would you interact with them differently? Let me know in our comments section.

PS The man behind the research has a fascinating background and it’s worth reading.

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14 and Proud of It

LinkedIn recently announced they were going to drop the minimum age of users in the US to 14. Their reasoning is to help “pre-university” students in LinkedIn lingo, aka high school students to everyone else, prepare their online resume/online identity for a career once they are out of high school.

Will we see pre-university students connect their Twitter and Facebook feeds to LinkedIn? Does a student, or parent of a student, really want to let their child have a professional account connected to their other social media accounts that are for fun? Perhaps, but time will tell.

Here are some takeaways that I see that could benefit agencies by this move. You can encourage younger audiences to connect to your group through a professional social networking tool. Once they connect, you may be able to see their links, connections and interest in your organization. Perhaps those children who follow your organization’s group on LinkedIn will be a connection for not-so-distant future direct-support workers. Maybe they have the connections you need for your next gala.

What are your thoughts?

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