Earlier this month, the Pew Internet and American Life Project released their findings on the effect of Facebook “Power Users”. The researchers analyzed 269 Facebook users and their activity over the course of one month. In that month of analysis, it was discovered that 20-30% of the survey sample represented “Power Users” – users who sent friend requests, added content, and liked content of their friends at much higher rates than the rest of the sample. The heart of the research details one important finding: because of these power users, “there is a consistent pattern” that Facebook users receive more from these individuals than they give to others. This means that users will get more friend requests, be “liked” more than to “like”, and receive more messages than they send. In addition, it was even discovered that more users comment on a friends post/update than they update their own statuses.
What does this mean for nonprofit organizations? Here are three applications.
Work harder to use conversational engagement on Facebook
Organizations need to spend more time developing conversational content through Facebook rather than typical blast message approaches. If we know that users are more willing to comment than update their own status, we should be prepared to create conversational updates that focus more on pulling the user to comment rather than inform.
Draw in users with comments to create better feedback mechanisms
Organizations should be spending more time working to engage users within the content. Organizations should be searching for Facebook user content and comment/provide feedback on conversations relevant to the issue of the cause. This will help to encourage more commenting and Facebook interaction among the community.
Understand “Power Users” and their effect on your cause
The study also discovered that the more friends a user had, their activity within Facebook increased. These “Power Users” increased commenting, posting, liking, and other forms of engagement within their network. As an organization, you should determine the effect of the “Power User” on your cause. Although their actions within Facebook has increased, it does not necessarily mean their influence has climbed to new heights. This would mean that some “Power Users” may not be influencers. This is evident in the main finding that these “Power Users” are driving activity but users are not reciprocating at the same rate. Therefore, nonprofits must understand “Power Users” in their network and whether or not activity will generate action, awareness, and/or conversation on the organization’s behalf.
Ultimately, organizations have to remind themselves of the conversational power of Facebook. It is a medium of conversation and engagement. As an organization, is the reach or virility important, or the engagement of the community in your conversations?