3 Simple Tips for Using Facebook on a Budget

Credit: Dimitris Kalogeropoylos

Facebook – the pioneer of social media – isn’t what it used to be…

We’ve all seen our reach and engagement drop drastically over the past few months due to Facebook’s algorithm changes. Some have seen their audience and reach plummet from thousands of viewers to just a few dozen – and by now, you probably know that you have to pay to play.

That means that in order to get your posts in front of your followers and onto their newsfeeds, you have to pay to “boost” a post, which by some accounts, can be successful.

BUT (and this is a big but): Paid ads sometimes require consistent investment in order to maintain the engagement you expect, and for nonprofits with limited budgets, that’s just not always possible. Thinking resourcefully and productively, here are three tips for using Facebook on a budget:

1. Have a Facebook Page

In a recent Prichard blog post, “To Facebook or Not to Facebook,” in which my colleague Jennie Day-Burget weighs the value of nonprofit Facebook pages in light of these recent algorithm changes, she says:

“Your NEW Facebook should account for useful information that lends legitimacy to your organization. Not only should you fill out your profile fully, but you should design your content strategy in a way that lends authenticity to what you do and who you are. Make sure you’re posting frequently enough to maintain a presence but not so frequently that you’re feeling overwhelmed by the investment of time required to maintain it.”

I couldn’t agree with her more.

Not only does Google see your Facebook page as an example of your credibility and legitimacy, but so do most online users. Facebook is now just as important as having a website—you must have one if you want to be seen as relevant.

2. Use Facebook to Drive Traffic to Your Blog or Website

Your Facebook page should be one of the many tools in your tool belt that help drive traffic back to your content hub, generally your website or blog.

Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the popular novel, “Eat, Pray, Love,” has built a very loyal following of more than 300,000 followers on Facebook (including myself). Her incredibly long posts are often upwards of 300-500 words…that’s the typical length of an average blog post! They work for her audience, but…

DO NOT DO THIS.

Don’t get me wrong…

I love Elizabeth Gilbert and I’m inspired by her posts, but strategically speaking, she’s missing a great opportunity to drive traffic to her website where she can convert followers into readers. Clearly, that isn’t her priority, but if your priorities are increasing donations, raising awareness or recruiting volunteers, website drivers are crucial.

Write a post on your blog and drive traffic to it from your social media channels. Don’t use your social media channels as your main content hub. Use it to amplify existing content.

3. Post Visually Engaging Content Three Times Per Week

Since success on Facebook now comes with a price, many organizations are spending less time focusing on Facebook and more time on other social media channels like Twitter and Pinterest.

However, my Prichard colleagues and I agree that an organization should post at least three times a week on its Facebook page, and we’ve found that number to be really manageable.

Spend your time writing engaging copy and finding or creating an appealing image that you can also use across all your social media platforms. Visually appealing posts are more likely to be shared, which will increase your chances of showing up in your followers’ feeds.

For a list of free and lost cost tools to develop great visual media content, check out the list at the bottom of this post on the Prichard blog.

What is YOUR Facebook strategy for the new age of social media?

Jessica Williams

Jessica is a former account director for Mac's List and Prichard. In her spare time, Jessica can be caught hiking with her dog Zoey, traveling to foreign lands or practicing yoga.
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