Facebook has made it harder for your nonprofit organization to understand your clients, donors, and prospects in depth. I’m both grateful… and annoyed.
Knowing What They Like, Besides You
You used to be able to use Facebook Graph Search to find out a lot about the people who followed your organization on Facebook. You would type in “Pages liked by people who like [your organization].”
Voila, up popped a list of all the pages that your followers had liked, and who liked which page. You could also easily discover:
- How many people, total, like that page.
- Other pages that people who like a specific page also like.
- Which of your own friends liked that page (if you are using Facebook as an individual)
Knowing what your audience likes, besides you, helps you send them the messages that interest them most.
If you’re an agency that runs a pre-school, for example, wouldn’t it be great to know if your followers also like pages about books or about sports? That could help you decide whether to post more about the topic “How to read to your 4-year-old” or the topic “Soccer for preschoolers.”
But What About Privacy?
You might never have heard of Graph Search before, and now you might be excited at the chance to deliver the content that your donors want most. Or, you might be worried about looking like an online stalker.
We’ve all had that creepy sensation when we looked up snow boots on an online shopping site and then ads for snow boots kept popping up on Facebook for days or weeks.
Most nonprofits would have the emotional intelligence to make a donor feel complimented (“They really know me!”) rather than threatened. But not everyone has tact, or good intentions, either.
…bloggers showed how Facebook Graph Search could be used to uncover potentially embarrassing information (e.g., companies employing people who like racism) or illegal interests (e.g., Chinese residents who like the banned group Falun Gong).
So, in December 2014, Facebook did away with some of the features of Graph Search that nonprofit researchers and marketers found most useful. Now you can use Facebook Search to find photos, posts, videos, and links by searching for words in the post. But you can no longer find out what your page followers like with a simple search. Or can you?
Knowing Your Facebook Audience in 2015
You don’t need Facebook to do good audience research. As Marc A. Pitman points out, you have your own donor database. You have the record of which recipients opened your email (if you’re using an email service provider like MailChimp or Constant Contact). And you can even go on Facebook and other social media to see how your fans interact. But that’s a time-consuming process.
Using Facebook Ads Manager
International media consultant Stacey Kawakami tells me that if you have at least 1,000 people following you on Facebook, you can use Facebook Ads Manager as a research tool. Here’s what you do:
- Go to Ads Manager
- From the top bar, click Tools
- From the Tools dropdown, click Audience Insights
- Select “Only people connected to your page”
- Enter your page in the navigation on the left side
- You’ll land on the demographics page by default
- Click “Page Likes”
Using other tools
If you’re interested in finding out whether Facebook followers of your nonprofit like another page, specifically, you could use the 1ntelligence Facebook Search tool. It’s designed for employment recruiters, but it will do the job for you.
- From the drop-down menu, choose Like.
- Fill in the name of your Facebook page. (For example, mine is communicateconsulting.)
- Click the AND button.
- Again, choose Like, and this time put the name of another Facebook page that you’re wondering whether your followers also follow.
- You will get a list of all the people who like both pages, along with where they work and who you have as mutual friends.
You could also use this tool to find followers of your page who live or work in a specific area, or who speak a certain language. Again, knowing this information may help you send the right message to the right people at the right time–which is what effective communication is all about!
Using Search Strings
What if you don’t have 1,000 followers but you do have some technical savvy about search? Then you could try the queries that Balazs & the Magic Sourcing World recommends.
For instance, you want to find Google employees and run this one: /104958162837/employees/present/intersect where the long number is the Facebook ID of Google.
And thanks to Balasz, I can now tell you how to duplicate my old, extremely useful search, “Pages liked by people who like [your organization].” Here’s what you do:
- Find your organization’s numerical Facebook ID. You can go to http://www.findmyfbid.com/ and type in the name of your Facebook page, and it will tell you the number.
- Then, go to Facebook and search on https://www.facebook.com/search/your ID/likers/pages-liked. (Where it says “your ID,” put in the numerical ID before you search.)
- And voila! There’s the list again!
Remember, the point is to build a better relationship with your followers. Don’t shock them with how much you know about them. Just use your research to find the common ground where their interests meet your cause.