Segmenting on Facebook: is it worth your while?
As a nonprofit, it’s easy to spread yourself too thin on Facebook. It only takes a minute to spin up a new Page or Group, which sounds like a great way to keep your different audiences in neat segments: one space for recruits and one for alums; one for donors and one for advocates; one for event participants and one for year-round supporters. Segmenting makes a lot of sense in emails and direct mail and elsewhere in your communications world, so why not Facebook?
The issues tend to arise when it comes time to feed and care for all of those different spaces you’ve created. Social networks take time and attention in order to thrive, and the more outposts you have, the more time it takes—it doesn’t necessarily get a lot faster or easier as you scale up. So if you’re like most nonprofiteers I’ve talked to about this issue, you’ll eventually find yourself copying and pasting the same status update three or four different times, just to make sure it reaches all of your people (who, by the way, are probably a little confused as to where exactly they’re supposed to go).
So if you’re thinking about the wisdom of creating a separate Facebook presence for a specific group or event, ask yourself two questions:
- Can you (and should you) provide content with unique value to this audience (separate from the rest of the people you’re talking to)—stuff that only they would care about?
- If so, will that unique content be distracting or off-putting to your other audiences?
If you can answer “yes” to both questions, you probably have a good reason for segmenting your efforts and making a separate Page or Group. For example, you might need to keep administrative info for your volunteer event coordinators (“Don’t forget—we’re meeting at 9 a.m. tomorrow”) separate from your main Facebook Page. (Of course, there’s also a question as to whether that information needs to be shared on Facebook at all—a topic for another day.)
But if you can’t answer “yes,” you might just want to keep it one big party on your primary Page and avoid spinning off smaller Facebook communities. It keeps things simpler—and sometimes, giving your different audience groups a way to interact with each other can pay off. Hearing about that alumni happy hour might lead a prospective parent to appreciate the warmth of your community, and a current participant raving about how awesome their experience is might inspire others to register.
How do you target all of your different audiences on Facebook? Share your approaches and questions in the comments.