3 min Read
March 28, 2013

The quickest, easiest way to new likes (note: it’s neither quick nor easy)

Meghan Teich

It’s the question that every nonprofit with a social media presence asks themselves (and us Ducks!) all the time.

How do I get more likes/follows/insert newest social network jargon here?

Well, time and time again, we’ve had to let people down with the bad news: there’s no easy button to push that will get you a million new followers.

Since social media is such a low-barrier, cost-effective, and easy way to engage with your community, the thinking goes that it must be easy to boost your numbers. Right? Yet, you don’t hear people talking the same way about your email list. When’s the last time you expected to magically get thousands of new email addresses just by adding a sign-up form to your homepage? Everyone knows that a strong and healthy email list takes time and energy to nurture. Guess what – the same principle applies to your social media properties. 

That being said, there are two keys to growing your number of likes or follows: time and content. I know, I just heard you groan. Surprise! They both take work and resources.

Let’s start with time. A surefire way to stagnant numbers is by posting a quick status update, and then ignoring your Facebook page for the rest of the week. If you can’t devote at least a handful of hours each week to nurturing your community on Facebook or Twitter, it’s just not going to grow. The most important thing you can do when staffing your social media team is to take a good, honest look at how many combined hours you have available each week. It might be 5, it might be 20 – heck, you might be lucky, and have a full-time staff person who can devote all 40 hours of their week.

Once you have that number in mind, prioritize all the work that you want to do online. If you only have 5 hours, use them as efficiently as possible – now is not the time to experiment on Google Plus or Pinterest. Instead, be laser-focused on the channel you want to grow.

Here’s a possible breakdown for each of those five hours:

  • Review your analytics and Insights to see what’s happening
  • Listen in to see how people are talking about your organization
  • Engage by answering questions or responding to comments
  • Create, review, or update your content calendar
  • Create content to post that week

At a bare minimum, those five hours (spread out over the course of a week) can keep you above water. But the more time you can devote, the more you’ll learn about your audience, and the more you can deliver the content they want.

What a perfect segue to the second thing to keep in mind: content! People are inherently self-serving when it comes to social media. I use Twitter to follow people who interest me, Instagram to see pictures that I like, and Facebook to keep up with those who are important to me. Notice a theme? As a brand or organization, you need to balance your desire to spread your internal messaging and talking points with creating content that I’ll seek out and recognize as providing value to me.

Of course, there’s no single right answer about what type of content to put out there (why should it be so easy?). Every organization has a different audience, and every audience wants different things. This is where taking the time to test is crucial. If you always post status updates as statements, you might not realize that your audience loves answering questions. If you use photos from your events, you could be missing out on an insatiable enthusiasm for video. The point is that you should always be testing new kinds of content to see what resonates – and even when you find that posting funny dog pictures at 9pm on Wednesdays triples your number of shares, continue to tweak based on the feedback that you receive.

When I see a nonprofit creating content that is unique and interesting, I’m going to click follow or like so I can get more of it. By creating value for your audience, growth will soon follow. And with enough of those clicks, pretty soon you’ll be battling Justin Bieber for the most followers.*

*This is not a guaranteed outcome.