Using Facebook advertising to increase likes and engagement [case study]
How did one nonprofit go from 85 to over 24,000 Facebook likes? From almost no engagement to an extremely active, vibrant online community? The answer for The Caregiver Space is Facebook advertising.
TheCaregiverSpace.org is an online community that allows caregivers to share their experiences, find resources, cope with stress and effectively combat the isolation and exhaustion of providing care for someone they love. The Caregiver Space offers 24-hour access for caregivers in need of emotional and informational support, as well as a community in which to share openly.
In 2012, during the organization’s early days, despite knowing that the majority of their audience (primarily women 40-60 years old) was actively using the network, The Caregiver Space was having a difficult time engaging new followers on their Facebook page.
In pursuit of more Facebook likes
“We had only 85 likes on our Facebook page and we were looking to get the word out about the site we just launched. We were also looking to establish ourselves as a nonprofit serving caregivers,” explains Alexandra Axel, Media Director for The Caregiver Space. “We had started implementing a couple of posting strategies that were slowly getting traction but because our posts weren’t reaching too many people, engagement wasn’t high.”
“We’re aware that likes alone aren’t an indicator of success or the good work a nonprofit is doing, but we identified Facebook likes as a good metric to determine how much of our audience we were engaging.”
To solve the problem, after ruling out a Google AdWords campaign (too expensive for the organization which had not yet established charitable status), the team decided on Facebook advertising as the most efficient use of their $1,000 budget. They brought on consulting firm social/agenda to lead the process, with a particular emphasis on really honing in on the right demographic; targeting the right audience for The Caregiver Space. According to Axel, because she wasn’t as familiar with Facebook advertising, working with consultants was a great way to do it right the first time.
Facebook advertising translating into increased engagement
“We went from 98 likes to over 4,000 from November to January. By February 2013, we had reached 10,000. Today, we have over 24,200 likes,” says Axel. “And these aren’t people who are liking our pages and then leaving; they are engaging with our posts. We fluctuate between hitting 2,000 to 23,000 impressions for one post. People comment, they reply to our questions, they reply to other’s replies, they share, they like; it’s a social media marketer’s dream.”
Axel describes the factors that contributed to Facebook advertising working so well for The Caregiver Space: “First, we have a potential market of at least 65 million. Almost everyone has been touched by care giving in some way. Secondly, we were the first (or at least one of the first) nonprofits of our kind to use Facebook ads to target our constituents. And finally, we were posting the kind of content our audience wanted. It was inspirational, motivational and honest – sometimes unflinchingly so.”
More than just increased engagement, the social proof established by the organization’s large number of likes has helped to establish a profile for The Caregiver Space and given the organization a competitive edge. According to Axel, the popularity of their Facebook page has served as proof of their market share. And that market share has established the organization’s thought leadership, authority and reach, helping to attract potential sponsors, advertisers and partners.
The next challenge: Facebook-to-website conversion
Despite their highly successful experience with Facebook advertising and engagement, The Caregiver Space has been surprised by how difficult it has been to move the community from Facebook over to the social network at caregiverspace.org. With a future goal to get more caregivers to connect and engage in the private community, Axel is working on building a social media campaign aimed at increasing the engagement of their audience and an Instagram video to showcase the work of the organization.
“We are trying to get to the root of this conversion problem from all angles – user experience, populating the forums, marketing features, etc.,” says Axel. “But as a starting point to expand our reach to caregivers, their friends and families and raise awareness of caregivers and the support they need, Facebook advertising has been an incredible strategy.”