5 New Facebook Features Your Nonprofit Needs to Know About

The landscape of social media changes so rapidly, it’s hard to keep up.

Social media giant Facebook has unveiled a slew of changes in recent weeks.

In order to maximize engagement on your Facebook page and use it to the best of your ability, it is important to stay on top of the changes.

Here are 5 new features of which you may not have been aware but could change the way you interact with your fans. Enjoy!

1) Yes, Facebook now has working hashtags!

What? Love them or hate ‘em, hashtags have been used for years on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and most recently LinkedIn video-sharing site Vine.

Twitter’s Definition: The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages. To put it simply, a hashtag is simply a way for people to search for posts/pins/tweets that have a common topic and to begin a conversation.

How? When you put the pound sign/hashtag # in front of a word of set of words with no spaces, a clickable link is created, and every image, post or tweet using that same word or set of words can be found all at once.

You can also conduct searches for a particular hashtag – example, #nonprofits, #Socialmediatips – in the regular Facebook search bar.

Why? This is fantastic for getting exposure to new people.

For example, my business partner Jeannine and I went to Tory Johnson’s Spark & Hustle event in Woburn this week. We posted quite a few photos from the event to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Vine with the hashtag #sparkandhustle.

People also attending the event searched those platforms for #sparkandhustle, found us, and we increased our fans, followers and connections with like-minded women entrepreneurs.

Facebook hashtags work a bit differently. Unlike on the other platforms, when you click on a hashtag on Facebook, a pop up window will show you posts in order of popularity – which posts are getting the most engagement.

If you have already created a specific hashtag for your nonprofit or your nonprofit event, you can now list it on Facebook!

A great example is North Shore Medical Center and their annual NSMC Cancer Walk. They use the hashtag #nscancerwalk on all social media posts so they can easily find what they have posted in relation to the event and what others have posted (if the posts are shared publicly).

In addition, every hashtag live on Facebook has it’s own unique URL that you can link to – for NSMC Cancer Walk (#nsmccancerwalk) its: https://www.facebook.com/hashtag/nscancerwalk

Neat, huh?

2) Photos in comments

What? When you leave a comment on a Facebook post, you can now attach a photo with it.

The feature is being rolled out for pages. Currently I can only leave photo comments for personal profiles and not Facebook pages that I like.

How? When leaving a comment for a friend under something that they posted, click on the camera icon on the right hand side of the comment box and attach a photo. (GIFs, sadly, are not supported.)

Why? Why not? It’s fun!!

3) Instagram adds videos

What? When Twitter bought Vine last year, it was only a matter of time before Facebook invested in its own video-sharing platform.

The popularity of Instagram made it ripe to incorporate video-sharing. You can record a 15-second video clip or a collage of video clips, along with 13 custom filters to make your video a bit more snazzy.

How? You can take and post a video as easily as you can take and post a photo on Instagram. (If you find these videos annoying, you may want to disable the auto-play feature.)

Why? If you are already actively using Instagram, this is a much more attractive option than setting up and using a new platform like Vine.

Also, Vine doesn’t allow users to edit and delete clips in the video collage, and does not offer filters.

4) Facebook Insights are getting an upgrade

What? According to the Facebook Studio blog, Facebook has been getting feedback that their Page Insights tool needs to be “more actionable”.

In other words – how can businesses and organizations maintaining brand pages use the information in Insights to accomplish their social media goals?

How? The overhaul will:

Make certain metrics “clear and simple” – such as People Talking About This (PTAT) and Virality

Help page owners create and post more engaging content

Give you more detail about the people that interact with your Page content – this is so much more important than just an overview of the people who like your page, as they may never again see your posts.

Why? Page owners are constantly asking the question – Now that I have all the information about who is visiting my page and liking it, how do I use this information to build my business or organization?

The full details are here: http://www.facebook-studio.com/news/item/updating-page-insights

5) Replies to Comments feature

What? The “Replies” feature, enabled on your fan page, allows your fans to reply to specific comments made on a post.

How? Simple! Go to Edit Page –> Edit Settings –> Look at the bottom of the list of items, check the box that says “Allow replies to comments on my Page.”

Why? This is from Facebook: “Replies are shown below the comments, so it’s clear who’s responding to which comment. The most active conversations are shown at the top, and comments marked as spam are moved to the bottom. To view the most recent conversations at the top, click Top Comments and select Recent Activity from the dropdown.”

Previously, Replies and Comments were all over the map and not displayed in chronological order so it was difficult to see who was talking about what. (I never understood why this was, but I’m happy that they have corrected it!)

Which Facebook feature are you most excited about? What else would you like to see Facebook add, delete or change?

Please leave your thoughts in the Comments section. Thanks for reading!

photo credit: mkhmarketing via photopin cc