3 Tips for Producing Visual Facebook Content for Your Nonprofit’s Page

With the new Facebook News Feed, not having an image associated with your post means not being seen. Not being seen, means not being clicked on, and not being clicked on means EdgeRank will make it so few eyes other than your own ever experience the content you post to your organization’s Facebook page.

So, long story short, it’s important to ALWAYS include images when posting from your org’s Facebook page. The following are some tips to be sure that happens…

The new Facebook News Feed puts a major emphasis on visual content.

The new Facebook News Feed puts a major emphasis on visual content.

When blogging, include a picture – For the sake of your blog you should be doing this anyway, but it’s especially important with Facebook. For every blog post you type, include an image that’s relevant to the post. Why? When you post a link to Facebook, Facebook will search that link for images it can place as a thumbnail in the News Feed. If Facebook doesn’t find an image, then your post appears in News Feeds with only a link (if at all). At best, this creates a bland post that looks about as interesting as a status update about a person’s choice of food for lunch. Worst case scenario, the post gets discarded by EdgeRank and is never heard from again. This is true of all content – whether a blog post, web page, or otherwise – include relevant, attractive images in whatever it is you produce.

Use your phone’s camera! – Where ever you are, if you see something that’s even marginally interesting and in any way related to your organization’s mission, take a picture of it. Thanks to smart phones, we now have a camera attached to our person at all times. Use those increasingly high-quality camera phones to capture images that can be added to posts or simply uploaded to your timeline. You can always delete a photo if you don’t like it, but you can’t create one if you never snapped the picture in the first place. Communicate this message across your staff – if they see something cool happening, and it’s even remotely related to your organization’s mission, take a picture of it! Then decide later if it qualifies as good content. The point is, you need more image-driven content and nearly all of us are capable of producing that content with the phones we carry in our pockets. Provide basic photography training if resources allow, but bottom line is – help everyone who cares about your mission understand that they can all be valuable content producers, regardless of their other roles.

Share photos from other users and organizations – Don’t put all the content pressure on your team. Use the image-driven content your fans, followers, and other organizations are posting by sharing that content on your Facebook page. First things first – ALWAYS GIVE CREDIT WHEN SHARING. Now that we have that established, make sharing a common content generation practice. If you see someone in your personal networks post something that works for your organization, ask them to post it to your org’s wall. If another nonprofit posts something you think your community might appreciate, click the “share” button and add it to your wall. If you see something on Instagram, ask the user if they’d be OK with you sharing it from your org’s Facebook page. Not only does this approach give you more content, but it will help strengthen your relationship with that follower. Asking to use their photo is a an enormous pat on the back and point of pride for many online and social media users. So you’re sharing great content with your Facebook fans AND strengthening a relationship with the original producer of the content. Win-win!

Justin Ware is a fundraising consultant who specializes in online and social media engagement at Bentz Whaley Flessner. To contact Justin, click here.

Curating Content from the Duluth Flooding

Producing enough content to satisfy the appetite of modern media consumers is an almost impossible task to accomplish for any single organization. Which is why we often hear the phrase “content curation” when it comes to supplying a large amount of videos, pictures, audio, and written content via the various online and social channels. Even for a news organization, a more complete story can be told when media captured and published by multiple sources is integrated into the overall story. That is exactly what Minnesota Public Radio is doing with the “historic” flooding that took place in Duluth, Minnesota (and surrounding parts) on Wednesday. To follow the collection of images from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. click here.

Minnesota Public Radio didn’t have a reporter on scene to capture this image of an escaped seal during the Duluth flooding, but thanks to a “content curation” approach, they were still able to share the image with their audience.

MPR is a great news organization, so it stands to reason they would be on top of stories like this, but the lesson can be applied to any nonprofit looking to tell their story (in other words, EVERY nonprofit). That lesson is, lean on your community and allow them to participate in the storytelling process. It’s one thing to have a contest asking for specific content. That can work when done thoughtfully, but an even better, more natural and authentic approach is to always be on the look out for content that helps convey your mission. In many cases, the person who originally posts the content might not realize their Instagram snapshot can be of benefit to the organization they support. It’s up to your social media manager to identify the content and package it for everyone to enjoy.

The benefits of content curation are many. For one thing, this approach allows you to share a lot more content, which is key in attracting more supporters online and keeping your current batch of supporters happy. Content curation also gives you content you never could have dreamed of capturing, regardless of how big your staff might be. The photo to the right of a seal that escaped from the Lake Superior Zoo is a perfect example of the opportunities content curation affords a nonprofit. This was an unexpected incident that took place on a quiet street in the early morning hours of a Wednesday – there’s no way MPR could have anticipated the incident and had a photographer there to capture the story. But, thanks to an aggressive presence on social media, MPR was able to grab the shot from a listener and post it to their blog. (Just a note …the seal is now home safe in the zoo.)

So what content opportunities are out there waiting to be discovered by your nonprofit’s content curator?

For more on how online and social media can boost fundraising, visit BWF.com.