Too many nonprofits live in snoozeville when it comes to sharing their good works on Facebook.
Official channels such as scientific studies, concept papers, press releases, or even re-purposed internal memos used to be enough to get your message out there.
But that was before the whole world logged online and had their attention span zapped. (More on that in a second. Is their attention span really zapped, or are they getting smarter?)
People want to know the good work nonprofits are doing, but they don’t have the time or attention span to go in-depth. On Facebook, people want (and expect) short, quick and snappy.
What can nonprofits do about it?
Do you just have to suck it up stoop to the level of Facebook users?
Is Facebook Making Us Dumb?
Everything is getting shorter and quicker. Some people call this “dumbing down”. But is it really about your audience being dumb? Or are people getting more discerning in their tastes?
Perhaps people are actually getting smarter. They want to learn about the world as fast as they can, so they choose to only check out information that enables them to learn new things, fast.
Yes, your press release or scientific paper might be fascinating (and relevant) to you and your nonprofit. But, chances are, if it’s written like most press releases or scientific papers, readers have to wade through a ton of crap to get to the gold nuggets.
It’s not about lazy readers, it’s about you.
Writing long communiques and updates allows you be lazy in your thinking. Instead of thinking “what’s the point here?” you can just waffle on however much you want. You leave the hard work of finding the point to your reader.
Today’s Joe Public, Gen X, Gen Y, and the Digital Natives don’t have time for your laziness. They’ll go elsewhere for their information. They’ll go to the people who know how to get to the point. They’ll go to the sources who know how to tell a story in a 140-character tweet, a 6-second video, or a simple image.
Another thing. It’s not Facebook that treats people as dumb. Facebook gives everyone a voice, a chance to comment and have their say. On Facebook, everyone’s opinion matteres.
That’s completely different from the old days when you put out a press release, news story or published a paper, and people had to just read it. That old model treated everyone as dumb. Few people got to say what they thought, and hardly anyone heard what they said.
Today, everyone gets their say, and anyone who wants to be can be part of your story (which is totally different to the olden days membership model).
On Facebook, you’re talking to a smarter audience and a more engaged audience.
How To Grab (and Keep) Attention on Facebook
Are you getting the plot here? It’s not about your readers being lazy. They’re not lazy, they’re smart.
It’s about you.
You can no longer be lazy, and put out information leaving your reader to work out what matters.
You can no longer put information out there and not care what your supporters think of it.
You’ve got to be smart. You must work out what matters before you post anything, and only post what matters.
See yourself as a translator.
When your nonprofit has a story to share (and if you’re doing your job right, you should have stories to share), think about how you translate it to the Facebook audience.
Copying and pasting your standard press release won’t cut it.
You’ve got to get right to the point, sharp and snappy.
Have trouble figuring out the point? Then chances are you’re trying to squeeze too many stories into a single update. Split it up. Make more stories. Facebook users love regular short updates way more than irregular long updates.
Tell your story in short videos, images and text updates. And tell it in a way so your audience can be part of the story too. Encourage your audience to comment. Ask questions. Say thank you publicly to people who raise money. Invite discussion.
I hope this sounds exciting. It’s meant to be.
Bringing your Facebook Page out of snoozeville could re-ignite and re-energize everything your nonprofit does. Why not get started today, and see where the Facebook journey takes you?
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