Why You Must Give A Little To Get A Lot

Photo by Anirudh Koul

This is a guest post by Tracy Sestili.

More often than not, nonprofits make the number one mistake of talking about themselves and tweeting or posting on Facebook about what they are up to, how they are in the news, and about events coming up. While it is true that your constituents do want to know what you are up to, they also want you to ask them what they are up to. People love to engage with brands of all kinds – including nonprofits.

Just like in a social networking event, you make small talk with people you don’t know and you get to know a little more about them. As you get to know them better they will volunteer information without you asking for it. For example, typically, a person you just met is not going to tell you that you have parsley in your teeth, but someone you know well will tell you without you having to ask.

Whether you are going for number of fans or fan engagement, you gotta give a little to get a little.

Increasing Engagement

  • — Ask a question that’s relevant and don’t take it personally that no one or few people respond just because you thought the question was a good one. You have to work on engagement. You can’t just throw a question out there and then expect massive engagement the first time. People need to know that there really is a person behind the profile and that you really do care about getting an answer to the question you threw out there. Show that you really want to have a conversation.
  • — For Facebook, encourage commenting by asking a question related to the post and encourage sharing by asking them to “Please Share:” before a given post. The more comments, the higher the EdgeRank of your post (Facebook’s algorithm for how posts appear in other’s news feeds). The more shares, the higher the EdgeRank and the longer it will stay relevant in people’s news feeds.

Getting More Followers:

  • — For Twitter, if you want more followers, you need to follow more people. Do a search on FollowerWonk to see who has your cause listed in their Twitter profile and then follow them. Once they see you tweet about something they are passionate about, they will follow you back. Since they are interested in your cause, they will more than likely amplify your messages.
  • — For Facebook, your best bet is giving a shout out to partners and even competitors within the industry by tagging them in your post. If you tag them in your post, then your post will show up on their Facebook wall (if they allow that). Remember you have to “Like” their page first before tagging them. Now of course, you can get more fans by giving something away as small as a $25 gift card. But keep in mind that although this will give you higher numbers, it won’t necessarily translate into quality fans that will donate or amplify your message.

Regardless of what you are going for, increasing engagement and following relevant people who are just as passionate about your cause as you are will pay off ten-fold in the long run. It’s better to have a small group of fans who are passionate than a large group of fans who are inactive. By just asking fans/followers what else they would want to see from you, will go a long way.