Facebook Tips

According to a 2015 study from Forum Research, almost 60% of Canadians, of all ages, have a Facebook profile. So make use of yours to spread the word about the importance of electoral reform.

Basic Guide - Facebook best practices

The good news is there are no hard rules in social media. It is about having a unique voice, and reaching the masses directly. There are few right and wrong answers, but there are techniques and strategies you can implement to maximize your success.

  • The first step is to decide if you are posting on a personal profile or a political page. Candidates, for example, want to set up politician pages, and anything campaign related should be posted there every time. Posts can then be shared on a personal page, but you always want to post from one official page, rather than a personal profile. This will allow you to concentrate your efforts and growth in one place. EDAs can make riding pages and use them the same way. Volunteers should continue to use their personal pages to share national, candidate and EDA posts as often as possible.

  • Now it’s time to get to the fun part. The first rule of successful Facebook posting, and social media in general, is that you want to stay interesting!  You always want to stay on-brand and relevant to your audience, but try to never be predictable. This means to vary your content, sources, posting times, caption styles, imagery, etc. Each post should have something unique and different to offer. Otherwise, why would anyone share it? You have to give them a reason.

  • Sharing is the key - Your goal is to post something so interesting that your friends will want to share it. Likes and Comments are nice, but without Shares, you will only reach your own circle (of people who have already Liked your page). Sharing exposes your posts to new audiences with multiple degrees of separation (your audience’s friends, and their friends, etc.). That is the key to spreading the word.

  • The best way to share information is by sharing the posts of third parties, such as media stories. They provide credibility to the unique points you want to make. When sharing another page/individual’s non-media post (which should not be done too often), be sure to add your own, catchy caption. Give people a reason to follow YOUR page, not the page whose post you are sharing. The best posts tend to follow this process (but remember, there are no rules):

    1. This is a fact, as stated by this reliable, independent source of information

    2. This is the unique perspective I/we have to offer in relation to this fact

Note that you are not regurgitating information, nor making a statement without a reliable claim. The combination of both, the reliability, and the unique perspective are what gives this type of post its power.

  • Always ask yourself, who is your audience and what is your goal? Is the goal to reach a new audience? To reinforce ideas among your existing audience? To gain support for a movement, or attendance at an event? Is the post for a younger audience? A female audience? All of these and many more are appropriate goals, but they will be most effective with different tones, content, imagery, etc. Be sure to pay attention and constantly think about those goals. It is perfectly fine to target segments of the potential audience with posts, as long as the proper adaptations are made to make the targeting effective, and that not too much time is spent reaching the same audience. (I.e. Targeting your existing audience is a good thing, but preaching to the choir without appealing at all to the people you haven’t convinced yet, or reached, is not an ideal strategy).

  • Very important: always take a moment to stop and review your post. Reflect on it. Social media does move very quickly, and the timing of your response is important, but there is always an extra moment to make sure you are making an appropriate statement. Before every post, ask yourself, “If I were a person who disagreed with this, what would I say?” If it seems like something unpopular and easy to refute, even if you believe you are correct, it is less likely to be a successful post. Posts should have built-in credibility (such as information from a third party). When in doubt about the effectiveness of a post, reflect on it and make a judgment call. When in doubt about the appropriateness of a post, do not post it.

  • Try not to pay too much attention to comments section. This is a very common mistake. More comments, both good and bad, are a good thing. If all comments are positive, you are likely preaching to the choir, which means you are not reaching new audiences. With new audiences comes skepticism, and with that, come healthy criticisms. Feel free to block anything you deem inappropriate (crude, insulting, etc.), but do not be afraid of criticism. You do not want it dominating the comments section, but its presence is fine. It will likely engage your more supportive audience and they will offer the positive retort for you. In general, do not comment on your own page. Respond to audiences with your own, new posts (i.e. if a post criticizing a trade deal receives lots of negative feedback from free trade proponents, post something separately, the next day, providing more detail as to why certain trade deals are acceptable, but that one in particular is not, for reasons x, y and z - reasons that go beyond simply free trade). Should you feel compelled to respond to a comment, keep it simple, friendly but professional, and end it there. Never reply a second time, especially to a criticism. Shouting matches on the internet never end well, and the likelihood of changing someone’s mind on the internet by responding to a Facebook comment is… zero. You are simply bringing more attention to the negative comments by commenting on them yourself. Facebook also ranks comments on a post based on engagement, so the more you comment or react to something, the higher you bump it up on your post and make it more visible.

Social media is notoriously weak for fundraising. It doesn’t hurt to try (as long as it’s not often), but rather than fundraising directly on social media, the goal should be to gain a new follower (someone who “Likes” your page). Do not post other organizations’ petitions or donation requests. Your social media audience will tire very quickly of asks such as those, which means you only have so many. Be sure to save them for your petitions and direct calls to action, not someone else’s.