As organizations move more and more of their work into digital organizing because of the coronavirus, I’ve frequently been asked the question: “What, if any, changes should we make in our usage of Facebook?”
For others, the question is, “What should we be doing on Facebook right now?” Here are some of the recommendations I’ve been sharing with them.
If you aren’t already engaging actively your community on Facebook now is the time to start.
I’ve seen data showing that Facebook usage has increased anywhere from 50-to-70 percent over usage in “normal” times. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that this increased usage also means that there’s more content than ever that you’re competing with for attention. So not only do you need to engage, but you need to proactively engage. Ask lots of questions, create content that’s interesting.
That increased usage can be a double-edged sword.
While usage has increased, the number of folks in your community who are hurting, whether financially, socially or physically, has also increased. Be extra sensitive in your content creation.
At the same time, just because it feels like all anyone is ever talking about is coronavirus and related topics, the rest of the work your organization does hasn’t stopped.
Finding the balance can be difficult. Make sure you’re doing your analytics work regularly as your community will tell you what’s working for them and what isn’t through their engagement and behavior.
Create and encourage Facebook Groups.
I’ve long maintained that Facebook Groups are Facebook’s present to organizing work and I stand by that today. Create groups for your volunteers. Create groups for your supporters. Invite your supporters to help moderate your groups. Create content just for groups that isn’t available anywhere else.
Live stream like there’s no record button.
Even if you’re in a location that has opened up, or is in the process thereof, recognize that many folks still aren’t comfortable with the idea of attending large gatherings of people in person. This means our normal activities like door knocking, rallies and even parades are all on hold for now.
One of the best substitutions for those activities is live streaming. It allows folks to engage face to face, albeit virtually, and it allows you to really engage with your community. Do social events, do live Q&As with experts — or artists. Get creative.
Speaking of Facebook Groups and live streams, host watch parties.
With the new watch party feature you can hold live screenings of pre-recorded videos as a group — like going to a film screening from your own couch.
These are just a few of the things I’ve been recommending, but really there’s not much limit on what can be done on Facebook right now. Remember though, someday we’ll be gathering in person again. In the meantime, the work can and does continue on platforms like Facebook.
Beth Becker is the founder of Becker Digital Strategies, a boutique political digital consulting firm specializing in top-level digital strategy, social media strategy, and digital training. Well known for developing and leading week-long digital boot camp trainings and mentoring the next generation of digital campaigners, Beth and her team work with organizations of all sizes across the globe to maximize their impact on digital in order for them to be successful in their on and offline campaigns.