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Facebook Promotion Tips for Animal Rescue Groups and Shelters

It's Not About YOU. (Timing Matters)

By now, you have figured out that the "newsfeed" is king.

Yes... people do visit your page, and that is important... but most of the time, they are visiting your page to post, or share, etc... not simply to find out what you have to say.

Browsing through the Facebook newsfeed is the way that many of us find posts from friends, family, and the pages we have "Liked".

Of course, we are not going to scroll "forever"... and depending upon how popular we are (friends), how big our clan is (family), and how many pages we have "Liked"...
will determine just how many posts are in our newsfeed.

WHEN we check our Facebook newsfeed, also matters.

But lets be honest... we have many, many fans... they all have busy lives... some are night owls... some get up early... some kill time at work on FB... others check only at lunch (which time zone?)... there are fans that are only on Facebook in the evening... 
and the variations go on and on and on.

You, on the other hand, are busy running an Animal Rescue or a Shelter.

Problems... Problems... Problems...

I have seen many groups use the "shotgun" approach. After a long day, they stay up late, posting multiple posts on their page, just before going to bed.

The thinking behind this is often "Fans will visit our page in the morning and see all our posts."... which is simply NOT what happens.

Instead... these posts go into your fan's newsfeed late at night, often while they are sleeping... then posts from their friends and other pages start again in the morning... pushing your posts down, down, down their newsfeed (and out of sight!).

If they get on Facebook in the AM, they might see a few of your posts... at Noon... maybe one or two... If they don't get on Facebook until the afternoon or evening... probably not going to see any of those "late night posts" of yours.

Posting all at once, or at a time that is convenient for YOU... can hurt your exposure.

Imagine for a moment, your home is on riverfront property that has many, many houses downstream. You have a basket of bright yellow rubber ducks. Your goal is to have as many people see your ducks as possible.

So... one Saturday morning, you dump the whole basket in the river... and watch them float down stream, past your neighbors houses. A few people were in their back yards or looking out their windows (eating breakfast) and saw the ducks.

Some slept in... some were at the farmer's market... some were in the shower... some were watching TV... some were doing yard work in the front of the house... and because the timing was off for "these people" none of them saw the ducks.

 If you would have tossed a duck in the water, every hour or so, during the entire day... many, many more people would have had a chance to see them.

Think of your fan's FB newsfeed as a river... and your posts as ducks...

Spread your posts out, and you will get better exposure. If you are a busy person, think about recruiting some of your volunteers... make them admins on your FB page, and have them post for you. 

Facebook now has a feature called "scheduled posts" so you can pre-schedule your posts. So... if your "free time" is late at night, you can simply "enter" all the info tonight, and schedule those posts to go out to your fans at different times during the next day. It is easy to setup. 

1. Click on the Share Now, then Schedule

2. Enter the date/time you want your post to appear. 3. Click "Schedule".

You can also use a subscription service like Hootsuite to pre-schedule your posts... or post on-the-go, via a smart-phone app.

Here is another frustration of ours... Often, when we make a donation to a group involved in our t-shirt fundraising, we will post on the group's wall... announcing we made a donation, and posting a link to that group's t-shirt page on their wall.

Some Rescues/Shelters see this and think "Good, more fans will see the link now".

What they don't understand is a post on their wall, by anyone who is NOT a FB page admin for their group, is ONLY seen by the small number of people who ACTUALLY VISIT their page. It does NOT go out to their fan's newsfeed.

And... since only 10-20% of your fans visit your page... (again, most see your posts in their newsfeed)... any post made by "someone else" on your wall, is only seen by those fans who visit your page.

Bottom line... if you see a post on your page (not made by you) and it is something important that you want your fans to see, you must re-post it on your wall (or use the SHARE feature).

There is one important way in which the newsfeed is NOT like a river... 

You can easily delete your posts.
(Getting the rubber ducks out of the river, a few hours later... not so easy.) 

Why would you want to do this? Well... let's say you have a really important announcement. You post it first thing in the morning so people can see it in their newsfeed. By noon, those who haven't seen it already, probably won't... so you post it again. Evening runs around, and you have a whole new audience, so you post again... however, you don't want 3 duplicate posts on your wall.

A method called "newsfeed fishing" can be used. It's where you delete an older post, then repost the same post... so that fans online at different times, can see it.

Some fans WILL visit your page, so deleting the old posts is a good idea to keep your wall from looking cluttered with duplicate posts.

This is not an "everyday" technique... but something you can use for extremely important and time-sensitive announcements.

Another thing to consider is that many of your fans are "creatures of habit".

Because of their schedules, they may be on Facebook during similar time periods, every day. For posts that are not that time sensitive, you don't have to go "newsfeed fishing"... instead, you can repost every few days, at different times.

We have discovered how this works by watching the groups that take part in our t-shirt fundraisers. For example, we might see one group post their t-shirt page on Facebook ONCE... not get a good result... then seem to just give up.

Another group... posts their t-shirt page (with exactly the same shirts for sale) at 8am one morning... Noon 2 days later... 4pm two days after that... then 7pm another day.

Then... because they know that even with all those posts, only a small percentage of their fans saw them... they repeat the cycle every week or two.

Their sales were much better, because they repeated their posts... at different time slots... on different days... and thus, many more people saw the posts (and purchased shirts). This works for any type of message, event posting, fundraiser, foster recruiting, etc... where you need to reach a large number of people.

Time and time again, groups with smaller fan bases outsell much larger groups, simply by posting multiple times, throughout the week, at different times of the day.

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