Five Facebook Tips from an Arts Education Advocate and Social Media Whiz

The Challenge: How does a short on time local advocate keep her Facebook page current and dynamic? 

The Strategy: Use these five tips to increase the quality and number of your posts, while decreasing the amount of time you spend on Facebook! 

The Story: When it comes to Facebook, Suzanne Oehler the Local Organizer for the San Joe Alliance for Arts Education has an advantage! She’s a professional. 

In addition to being a dedicated advocate for arts education and dedicate parent, she owns a communications company, Yapper Girl, that helps nonprofit organizations use the Internet and social networks to increase awareness, reach more potential donors, and increase donations for their fundraising campaigns and events. The California Alliance is happy to have her on our team – and grateful that this month, she’s offered some savvy strategies for getting more out of your Facebook efforts – in less time! 

Five Facebook favorites for arts education advocates from Suzanne Oehler: 

1. Share other people’s content:
What better way to build community, good will and promote the work of your arts education allies than to share their content on your Facebook page? It will also save time since you won’t be creating all your own content. Suzanne says, “I try to keep bragging to a minimum and instead curate content that shows what collectively we are doing.” 

2. Use what you have (And use pictures!):
Research shows that people respond to visual content far more than text posts – and, as arts education advocates, we have a very visual cause! So make use of what you have! If you’ve partnered with an arts organization or a school – share their photos and videos. Suzanne recently ran an awareness-building and action-oriented campaign for her county’s Office of Education’s annual student art contest, posting an image of the previous winners’ artwork each day leading up to the contest deadline. She included the name of the student and school to highlight their work and garner interest and engagement – likes, comments, and shares - from their school, family and friends.  
3. Automate / But don’t just automate

Thanks to Facebook’s new scheduler feature (When writing a post, click on the little blue clock in the bottom left corner and pick a year, month, day and time for the post to appear), you can prepare your content in advance. The up side is that you can do your posts all in one sitting and the down side is that if you only post this way, your content may be a bit flat. So plan to stop in regularly (at least once a day for five minutes) to share allies’ current content or respond to conversations unfolding on FB. (See #1). 

4. Ask friends for shares and comments
Every time someone interacts with one of your posts – by liking it, making a comment or sharing it – it increases the post’s likelihood of appearing in your followers’ and their friends’ newsfeeds. Facebook uses "Edgerank" (calculated by previous engagement with your page and posts) to select which posts (of the overwhelming amount of content) are generating the most interest and publish them in a person’s newsfeed with that priority. Asking friends to comment on or share an important post can be a great way to get that ball rolling and increase the number of people who see the post. It’s okay to ask! Reciprocate! 
5. Create time-based activities
Set a deadline. Launch a week-long campaign. Take part in collective efforts like Arts Advocacy Day or Month. Time-based projects can create a sense of urgency, belonging and can narrow the focus – giving advocates a specific task or theme for a period of time. Remember the social media campaign around the student art contest (see #2)? Well, it was a driver of increased following, engagement and contest entries. In fact, the results showed a 205% increase in “engagement” (post likes, comments, and shares) and a 41% acceleration in new “likes”. And the County Office of Education was ecstatic to receive a record number of student artwork entries!