Why so many organisations fail at Facebook

If you find Facebook is not really working for your organisation, I am willing to bet that it is not Facebook’s fault – it’s yours. Too many take too lightly on their social media work – and get the results to match it. No such thing as a free lunch guys!

When I work with charities and businesses to improve their social media returns, there are some mistakes nearly all of them make. Fix these things, and I guarantee you will get more return for your efforts.

The 10 reasons your Facebook channel sucks:

1. You don’t plan the work
If you post whenever you feel like it, with no plan for growing the stories over time, how can you expect effect? Social media has to be meticulously worked with like any other marketing. You need a detailed publishing plan to make sure you have balance in content and frequency, and that important stuff is published at the right time.

2. You post without a goal
Just posting for the sake of it does nothing for you. Every post should have a purpose and a goal. Only then can you write something that will fulfill your goals, and measure wether you reach them, and adjust accordingly.

3. You write like a bureucratic press release
It’s no problem writing like you when you post to your personal accounts. You know who you are, what words you use, what your humour is like and what angers you. When writing on behalf of an organisation however, you don’t know these things unless you’ve taken the time to write them down. Too often, we just put our “I am very official”-hat on, and write in a way that will make people fall asleep at the third word. Making a good style and tone guide gives you a coherent personality.

4. Your posts are too long (also known as: you are giving me the Blue “See more” Link of Death)
Facebook is not a blog. I understand that you have a lot to say, but sorry kid – I’m not going to press that “see more”-link (unless you’re saying something unbelievably interesting. But, see point 2.). If you can’t write it in under 200 charachters, it should probably not be in just one post. Hat tip: if you feel the need to use paragraphs, write a blog post instead.

5. You’re posting the first draft
You would never send out the first draft of your direct mail appeal, right? So don’t do that on Facebook either. Your first draft is bound to be written chronologically the way it comes out of your head. Meaning, the most important things are probably last. Make sure you write a second time to restructure. Then a third time to shorten and sharpen. Then a fourth time to put that personality in there. Then maybe even a fifth, when you think of a genious new way to say it.

6. You’re using the wrong format
Facebook’s changing algorithms have people chasing different post types to try and find the one with the most organic reach this week. Stop that. Example: links posted in photos are bound to deliver fewer clicks, even if you get lucky and it spreads to more people. Think about what you want the post to achieve, and use the apropriate format for that. Want clicks? Use a link post. Want views and engagement? Use a photo. Want to just say something, or ask a question and get feedback? Use a text update.

7. You are not thinking about your audience
If you want people to respond to your stuff, you have to actually write it in a way that’s interesting to them.

8. Your posts photo have nothing to do with the thing your saying
So you listened to a social media expert who said you should use eye catching photos. Well, if the photo in question has nothing to do with your link or your message, it’s not going to work no matter how eye-catching. The photo you use has to tell my eye very quickly what this message is, so that I may stop to read more. If the photo lies to me, I’m going to move on very quickly.

9. Your posts are devoid of emotion and stories
Please don’t bore people to death. Remember you show up in between their friends’ baby photos, last weekend’s parties and next weekend’s weddings. Tell stories! And if you will be making an appeal – make sure the problem is well known before you ask. Don’t be afraid to be personal. Use emotions.

10. You don’t ask
The number 1 reason organisations don’t raise money off of Facebook, is that they simply do not ask for it. It’s perhaps an idea that Facebook should be all “nice” and not be used for direct marketing. I vehemently disagree. Fundraising rules are equally important here folks; if you don’t ask, you don’t get.

So those are my two (ten) cents. Now I want to hear from you. What about your organisation, have you found that Facebook and other social media help your work? Are you guilty of any of the above fails? Ever raise money from Facebook?

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