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Converting Facebook Likes to Dollars

Submitted by Jason on May 13, 2013 - 12:42pm

“So we have 100 new Facebook followers, how does that help our bottom line?”

How to convert people who simply like a page into folks who will take more concrete action is a common discussion among organizers. Luckily the book Measuring the Networked Nonprofit by Beth Kanter and Katie Delahaye Paine does an excellent job of providing an in depth explanation on how to convert low level engagement such as liking a post or group on Facebook into concrete actions such as volunteering or donating to a cause.

Measuring the Networked Non-Profit provides us with an excellent tool in the “Ladder of Engagement”. The Ladder of Engagement is a tool to analyze and improve the various ways supporters increase their engagement with your organization by taking a look at every step of the engagement process and finding ways to encourage folks at each rung of the ladder to the next, more involved rung.

So what are the levels of engagement you ask? Measuring the Networked Non-Profit breaks engagement into 3 levels:

High level engagement:
Creating their own content for your site/page, donations, social fundraising, volunteering, becoming a Board member.

Medium level engagement:
Twitter re-tweets, people who spend more than a minute on your site or visit more than two pages, linking to your site, sharing a Facebook post or petition

Low level engagement:
Facebook likes, twitter followers, petition signers, people who only land on your homepage, views on Youtube or Flickr

Converting followers from low to medium engagement

Most social networks are comprised of mostly low level supporters. Converting someone from low level to mid is to convert them from a passive observer to taking an action to further your cause. The conversion from someone who simply likes a page to someone who shares your page is a classic example. This person has now changed from a passive observer of your content to a messenger for your cause. What helps them make that choice? Your content! If a piece of content is emotionally or intellectually engaging, or helps them express a sentiment they are already looking to share, your low level followers will be more likely to share it. The process of changing someone from passive to active also indicates they view your organization as a credible source for information, and worthy of further involvement.

While there is no easy answer to what specific content will work, you can perform experiments (Through A/B testing, or using Facebook insights) that will help you weed out the low performing content from the more engaging content, and over time more effectively offer your audience exactly what they want. By testing which types of content perform better at the achieving your goals, you can fine tune your content to make sure that what you are posting is what your supporters are looking for, and find enough value in to share with friends. Once they have taken the step to use their personal social media page to share your content, you have now turned a simple Facebook “like” into an engaged spokesperson for your cause. They have shifted from the low level to medium, and are now actively engaged with your organization.

Converting from mid-level engagement to high

While awareness is key to any organization's growth, we all know we need more than just a buzz around our efforts to get things done. What we really want is folks willing to volunteer time and/or donate money to our cause. In any organization there are clearly those who are very active on social media but are not engaging beyond sharing and commenting. We can identify these individuals and encourage them to increase their engagement by speaking directly to them. Asking for their input or opinions on campaign actions or content will encourage two-way communication and build personal rapport with that individual.

Through these conversations we can identify possible Champions for our cause and turn them into any nonprofits best friend: Social Fundraisers! Social fundraisers are individuals that use their social networks to help raise money for a cause. If you have been asked by a friend to donate to a charity through Facebook causes or Kickstarter campaigns, you've been contacted by a social fundraiser. These individuals will directly impact your bottom line and not only raise funds but also spread the word of your work simultaneously.

Converting members of your social networks into individuals willing to join your online fundraising efforts will boost both your social networking power and your bottom line. Nonprofits are in a perfect position to turn their social media efforts into both online and offline action. So next time a client asks “So we have 100 new Facebook followers, how does that help our bottom line?” just point them to this blog post and then get ready to have fun mobilizing your social network into real concrete social change!