3 Recent Facebook Innovations Nonprofits Need to Know

While it may be true that Instagram is growing faster than Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook combined, Facebook remains one of the most popular social networks in the world. (And it’s important to remember that Facebook now owns Instagram).

For any nonprofit, there are a few key trends to watch that may impact how you continue to interact with your Facebook audience, and I’m pleased to share these innovations with you:

1.     Mobile

In the last quarterly earnings call just before the holidays, Facebook noted the rapid growth of mobile users and ad revenue. Mark Zuckerberg says that 48 percent of Facebook’s daily active users use mobile devices only, and 49 percent of total ad revenues come from mobile ads.

Facebook is often a top referrer back to nonprofit websites. Now you should assume that a strong and growing percentage are coming to your website from Facebook using a mobile device. What happens when they arrive at your website on an Android or iPhone? Is your website optimized for mobile actions such as petitions, sharing or donations? If not, 2014 is the year to prepare your nonprofit’s web presence for the future.

2.     Apps and Games

Facebook is creating more features to highlight apps and games. For example, apps and games can now create and manage Facebook Groups via the Graph API. The idea is to help app and game users to connect and share their experiences more easily with like-minded people. (Note: this feature is still in beta). You’ll be able to post within a game and create game-related events. Facebook is also giving more prominence to games – they’ve created a quick link in the lefthand panel for your most used & popular apps & games.

As gamification increases, your nonprofit might consider how you can add an app or a game to help build awareness and community around your mission. Can your nonprofit be in that lefthand corner for more people?

3.     Post Reach

For some time now, it has become increasingly challenging to reach all of your Facebook page’s fans and members simply through a page update. This has been well-documented with organic reach declining by 40% beginning in 2012. Many say that Facebook has changed its algorithm to encourage advertising and it’s true: even a small spend can greatly increase the number of people who see your Facebook status updates. Beth Kanter and others have suggested that Facebook should adopt a program similar to Google Grants to help nonprofits compete on a more even playing field. It’s a good idea and I hope Facebook considers it strongly in addition to the new Donate button it’s rolling out. In the meantime, there are some ways you can make sure you reach more fans and friends of fans. Try running Page post ads when you have a popular post with lots of likes, comments and/or shares – make sure the maximum amount of your Facebook fans see a popping post. Consider running Page Like ads and Page like stories.  Boost that post!