Facebook‘s strategic partnerships manager Libby Leffler works to ensure non-profits and causes on Facebook understand how to use the platform to best reach their communities and make the strongest impact.
She says the biggest struggle non-profits have with Facebook is not understanding how to best use the platform’s tools to engage with their communities. Mashable spoke with Leffler to dive into the must-know information for non-profits and causes on Facebook.
Leffler shared her favorite tips and tricks, highlighted some key examples, and outlined how a non-profit can turn its page around overnight.
Q&A With Facebook Strategic Partnership Manager Libby Leffler
What’s important for Facebook in crafting your work with non-profits and causes?
The work that we focus on is really simple. The first piece is education — it’s all about scaleable resources. How do we spread the best practices for using our platform? We provide really great examples of non-profits using Facebook groups, Facebook pages and now some great examples of non-profits using Instagram in the Non-Profits Resource Center.
Our second focus is platform integration. We have partners integrating with our platform, by building apps with open graph. A couple examples of those partners include DoSomething.org launching Pics for Pets last year, which let anybody view pictures of different pets and share them to help find homes for different pets. charity: water launched this past month, pledging your birthday for clean water with open graph.
What else should non-profits know about the Non-Profit Resource Center?
We use our page as a living, breathing example of our own best practices — how to curate content; how to post interesting and engaging stuff. We really encourage non-profits to use the resource center’s posts as an opportunity to lift great ideas and spark really great creative content. How can you launch a page that will bring a community together? This week, we’re releasing an updated version that includes best practices for Instagram.
We have tons of organizations that come to us and say we want to sit down and brainstorm. I tell them this page is worth its weight in gold, because it highlights all of the best examples of people doing great work on Facebook. It’s not just big non-profits and it’s not just corporations that are launching foundations and crowdsourcing dollars. It’s also grassroots, it’s organic, it’s real people who launch a page in their kitchen over a cup of coffee.
As an agnostic platform, does Facebook ever need to decide which causes it partners with?
When I meet with an organization, my conversation is not about how Facebook is partnering with or backing that organization. That’s not something that we do or can do. During the conversation I say, “Tell me about your mission. How can we use Facebook to achieve your goals?” The Boys and Girls Club may have a totally different mission than the American Red Cross and they use our products in totally different ways. Really what we are focused on is letting people know what they can do with our products.
Being agnostic means anybody can build on our platform. The main thing to think about when we meet with non-profits is that everyone has a different mission and an individual approach. Each of these organizations is going to go about achieving that mission in a different way on Facebook. For us, it’s about giving non-profits the tools to understand how they can do that.
Beyond creating open graph apps, what are the big new trends for non-profits on Facebook?
Increasingly we’ve seen non-profits do a lot of cool stuff on Instagram. Some examples that come to mind are Oxfam America, the American Red Cross and UNICEF. So as we saw these non-profits emerge on Instagram, we thought it would be good to refresh our best practice guide.
We tell non-profits all the time: Photos are everything.
We tell non-profits all the time: Photos are everything. We have this great product that anybody can use — adding a filter to a photo that makes it look great. The cool thing about non-profits is, they’re a perfect use case for Instagram because people really care about seeing the impact their contributions are having in the world and in their community.
How do grassroots initiatives fit into the umbrella of Causes and Non-Profits?
Typically we use the non-profits page to highlight grassroots and organic things that pop up. When a partner has done something that we think is particularly impressive, we may do a case study with them, to use as a hallmark example for other people to learn from and glean ideas for themselves. We use the non-profits page every day to highlight partners like Movember as well as organic, grassroots initiatives’ stories and individuals who are doing great work.
Do you have any advice for non-profits looking to fundraise on Facebook?
Fundraising is a really powerful segment of non-profits and causes that we’re starting to see partners execute on really effectively. We don’t have any specific advice but we do highlight partners that are doing great work in fundraising. One example is JustGiving, a UK-based organization that let’s you give globally to different causes and organizations. Last year, they raised $53 million on Facebook. They have an open graph app that any non-profit can use. They attributed that every viral share was worth $10 to a non-profit organization.
Do you ever see non-profits resistant toward trying new products?
What we aim to do is give non-profits easy, seamless solutions that they can employ right now on their Facebook page.
What we aim to do is give non-profits easy, seamless solutions that they can employ right now on their Facebook page. When we see partners like charity: water launch an app or an open graph integration that’s powerful, but a non-profit could go onto their Facebook page right now and share a really compelling photo and get lots of great engagement, too. It doesn’t have to be as complex as building an app.
In addition to being resource-constrained, there’s a reluctance because non-profits are super protective of their brands — as they should be. We see some hesitance from non-profits as they think about, “How do we curate this content?” “How do we know what’s in line with our brand?” and “What do we do if somebody responds in a negative way?”
What are three things a non-profit can do to change its page overnight?
The first thing that I would say is find a voice. When people connect with your page, you want it to be in an authentic way. How do you do that? Talk to them like they’re your friend.
The second thing I would say is visual imagery is huge. That can be a photo, a video or an Instagram. To create compelling content you have to be willing to experiment. Combining a visual with a really short caption between 150-200 characters — three lines of text — yeilds much higher engagement then a post that’s much longer, without visuals.
The third thing I always tell people is analytics, analytics, analytics. Know your audience. Every page admin has access to page insights, and you can see anything down to the post level. As any organization gets strategic about who they want to connect with their page, they should know who’s connecting with it now and who they want to connect with. If you’re not connecting with that group, how do you tweak your post to get there?