We recently explored the social media channels you were most likely to find your school’s alumni on, and unsurprisingly, the answer was Facebook. In fact, 84% of those between the ages of 30-49 are active there.
But Facebook users know that the website, on any given day, can be filled with so much content from friends, celebrities and businesses that it’s hard to stand out. So when your alumni visit the social network, how can you ensure that they see your advancement appeals?
Here are five of the best practices for engaging alumni on Facebook:
Share photos and videos
It’s no secret by now that multimedia posts on Facebook outperform text only messages. For context, 99 of the 100 most shared posts on the network last year featured a photo or video!
With this knowledge, Facebook’s News Feed algorithm also prefers multimedia updates that boost engagement rates. That means that if you post a photo or video update about your school, it’s more likely to be seen towards the top of your audience’s pages.
Discuss topics in the news
As Facebook continues to evolve, the “trending” topic section of the news feed has grown in importance. If you’re not familiar with it, you can usually find it on the right-hand side of the page, right below the list of birthdays.
Sharing updates that reference these trending topics can be an effective tactic. For one, Facebook’s algorithm will recognize that you have discussed a popular person, place, or news story, and that will boost it’s showing on a user’s feed. Plus, when users visit the “trending” page, they’ll have a greater chance to see your update.
There are a few ways you can post relevant updates. For example, when a medical or scientific story is in the news, you can share related research that has been done at your institution. Similarly, when a positive business story is making headlines, you can discuss notable school alumni who are involved in that industry.
Tag the other pages that you mention
A very effective tip for boosting engagement on Facebook is to make use of the tagging feature. This can be a simple adjustment for most schools. You are likely discussing companies or notable alumni from time-to-time, so taking the extra step to tag them takes just a few seconds.
When you do so, you’ll increase the likelihood that your alumni will see your post. You’ll have a chance to reach any users who follow that page but not your institution’s. For users who follow you both, Facebook’s algorithm will be sure to accentuate the post so that it is most likely to catch their eye, giving you a great engagement opportunity.
Interact one-on-one with alumni
Advancement efforts are often most successful when they’re personalized, and Facebook gives you a great tool for that.
If alumni comment on your posts, be sure to follow-up and engage them. This can be as simple as a “thank you” or asking a follow-up question.
You can also take a proactive approach by messaging or posting on your alumni’s status updates. A quick “congratulations” message when one shares a new promotion or helping to answer an occasional question can go along way towards keeping your school top-of-mind.
Make use of Facebook Event pages
Facebook Events are one of the longest-standing and most popular features the social network offers. They allow you to create a page for an upcoming event (even a virtual one) and invite guests. They can then see the details, accept or decline the invitation, share a message or invite others.
Facebook Events make for a very effective outreach tool, whether they’re used for a campus reunion, fundraising event, or anything else. Once someone has accepted your event invitation, you will have an easy way to message them on an ongoing basis with updates and appeals.
Plus, if you make your event public (which most advancement-related events would be), when your guests accept the invitation or share a message, it will be visible on their friend’s news feeds.
What happens when your alumni reach your donation page?
Engaging alumni on Facebook is just one piece of the puzzle. Encouraging them to visit your advancement donation page and converting them is the key!