Looking to increase your adoption profile’s visibility on Facebook?
Welcome to the club.
As the world’s leading social media network, Facebook is a great place to spread the word about your parent profile and tell prospective birthmothers about your hopes to build a family through open adoption.
But ever since Facebook’s algorithm change, organic reach — the number of people you can reach for free by posting on your page — has dropped significantly.
Gone are the days when all of your Fans would see your updates. Today, only a small percentage — about 16 percent — on average see them.
As a result, in Facebook’s new “pay to play” world, a growing number of waiting parents are reaching into their pockets and buying advertising in order to get seen.
But not everyone wants to do that or can afford to.
So is there another way to get your adoption profile noticed without breaking the bank? How can you increase your visibility for free so that you and your adoption profile can get found by and connect with prospective birthparents?
Over the last little while we’ve experimented with a lot of different techniques and have gotten some pretty good results. In some cases, we’ve even managed to double our reach.
I’ll tell you how we did it in a moment. But first, it’s important to understand how Facebook determines what to show in your news feed so you can optimize your page accordingly.
Many people mistakenly believe that it all comes down to “Likes”: The more “Likes” you have, the more popular your page is. And the more popular your page is, the more people see it.
Facebook “Likes” used to be a way to gauge a page’s popularity and measure its clout. Problem is, so many people started gaming the system and buying “Likes” that they’ve lost a lot of their value.
So instead, Facebook now looks at engagement as a metric — how you’re converting your “Likes” into interested, engaged users.
When you post an update, are your Fans interacting with it? Besides just “Liking” it, are they sharing, commenting and clicking on it?
The higher the engagement, the more prominently your update will show up in the news feed. And the more people — your Fans and others — will see it.
For instance, this graph that I copied from our Insights section today gives you a quick snapshot of how our Facebook page compares to those of other services like ours.
As you can see, we don’t have as many “Likes” as some of the other pages (the second column to the left). But in some cases, our engagement (the column on the right) is significantly higher than pages that have 5-7 times more Likes” than we do.
When you consider that adoption profile services are all about getting you exposure, that’s something you may want to factor in when making your decision about which one to choose.
(To find out the engagement level of any page on Facebook, click on the “Likes” link. Then look at the number directly under the heading that says, “How Many People Are Talking About This.” That tells you how many people are engaged and interacting with the page.)
So, as an adoptive parent, are there things that you can do that will help you boost your adoption profile’s visibility on Facebook without spending huge amounts of money on advertising? You sure can. Here’s how.
1. Optimize your profile for search
This is probably the simplest way of all. In order for prospective birthparents and others to find you, they need to know who you are and what you stand for.
Start with you page’s title. Use targeted adoption-related location-specific keywords that expectant parents are looking for. Instead of calling it “Dan and Theresa” call it “Dan and Theresa Are Looking to Adopt” or “Dan and Theresa’s Adoption Profile – Oakland, California.”
Fill out the “About Us” section in the same way. Include a short keyword-rich description of yourself and include a call to action to drive people to your site or to contact you directly (subject to your state’s advertising laws).
2. Post content that your fans are interested in
Facebook users are posting updates at an unprecedented rate. As mentioned, the way that Facebook decides whether to show yours depends on how your fans respond to it.
Are they commenting on it? Are they passing it on to their friends? What kind of interactions are they having?
If your updates don’t meet this criteria, Facebook will decide that your posts have no value and will bury them at the bottom of the newsfeed where your Fans won’t see them.
So avoid posting the same message over and over again. Yes, let people know that you’re hoping to adopt and about how much you love children.
But if that’s all you have to say, don’t expect the world to see it. Find content that is relevant, engaging and appeals to your Fans. Offer snapshots of your life. Take them behind-the-scenes. Show your personality. Invite them into your life.
3. Post photos
Visual content like photos and videos get more engagement than text updates, so they should definitely be part of your outreach strategy.
In other words, don’t just tell your fans about a recent family dinner or an outing to a car show. Illustrate them with photos. If children were involved in the event, make sure to include them too.
Did you spend an afternoon playing at the park with your niece? Bake gingerbread cookies with your nephews? Read a bedtime story to a friend’s infant? Share the experience and what it meant to you, but also illustrate it with a photo. There’s a reason why a picture is worth 1,000 words.
4. Post other types of visual content
Visual content like images and infographics are another great way to increase your visibility. On our Facebook page, for instance, we try to post a different branded inspirational quotation every day.
You may not have the luxury of having a full-time designer on staff, but you don’t need one. There are many free tools out there like Pic Monkey and Canva that can show you how to do create these kinds of beautiful images yourself.
Or, if you have a blog, you can create a post around them. For instance, this post that we recently posted has been seen by thousands of people and has driven tons of traffic to our website. There’s nothing that says you can’t do the same on your blog or website.
5. Ask questions and respond to comments
Want to drive up your engagement? Ask your Fans a question. It’s a terrific way to get a conversation going and to learn more about them and what they like.
It could be something as simple as asking about their plans for the weekend. Then you can tell them what you’re doing and share pictures of it afterwards.
Or you can make it more adoption-focused and have some fun while you’re at it. Explore issues in the news (“How many celebrities can you name who have been touched by adoption?”) Create a mini poll (“How many people do they know that are adopted? a. A lot. b. A little c. Nobody) Or ask them to fill in the blanks (“The first thing I think about when I hear the word “adoption” is ______”).
The possibilities are endless. But don’t forget to respond to their comments. And if you want to send even more traffic to your page, leave thoughtful comments on other people’s Facebook pages and show them a little love by “Liking” their updates.
6. Post regularly
Posting once a day on Facebook used to be more enough to get your message out there. But since only a tiny fraction of your Fans see your updates under the new algorithm, there’s nothing wrong with posting 3-5 times a day.
Just because you check your Facebook page once a day at 9 a.m. or 1 p.m. or 7 p.m. doesn’t mean that your Fans do too. So take into account that their viewing habits are all across the board and that they’re on a different time zones.
And when you’re planning your posts, don’t forget the weekends. While the number of active Fans drops on Saturday and Sunday, engagement tends to go up since there’s less activity. Again, just make sure that the material you share is helpful and interesting for your Fans.
If nothing is happening in your life, you can always post a good adoption story in the news. Articles can generate a lot of discussion and boost your page’s reach.
Keep in mind that Facebook gives more weight to more recent content so keep your eyes peeled for interesting stories that have published that day. For instance, last weekend we posted two stories that were in the news. The first one, about an adoption reunion, reached more than 5,000 people, got 110+ likes and 16 shares.
The second one, a Buzzfeed “listicle” about adoption, did even better. It reached 8,600 people, got 100 likes and 53 shares.
7. Experiment with new techniques
Facebook is constantly changing its algorithm so things that may work today may not be as effective down the road. As a result, you’ll need to change things up and see what kind of content brings you the most engagement.
For instance, we have a feature called “Facebook Friday” on the first Friday or every month where fans can share a link to their page. Why don’t you do the same?
One of our clients did. They called it “Fun Friday” and it consisted of interesting facts about the couple that people don’t know — for instance, that he was a military police officer in the army and that she didn’t know how to drive stick.
It was a great way to show a side of them that wasn’t in their profile and it was a lot of fun too.
6. Be strategic
Now you’re probably saying to yourself, I don’t have a full-time content marketer on staff. I don’t have time to do all these things.
I hear you. The good news is you don’t have to. There are plenty of tools out there that will save you time and do them for you.
For instance, you don’t need to monitor the news 24/7 for interesting adoption stories. Just set up up a “Google Alerts” account, plug in keywords like “open adoption” “adoptive parents” “birthmother” “adoptee” and it will find the stories for you.
Plus, every so often take a look at the analytics on your Insights page to see which posts are getting the most engagement. Then find content that is similar to it or re-post it at a future date.
Your Insights page is a treasure trove of information about your Fans. Use it to find out who your fans are, where they’re located, when they interact with your page, and what kind of topics they’re interested in. Or just ask them directly yourself.
Plus, read up about other tips and tricks. For instance, did you know that keeping your posts under 250 characters can get you 60% more engagement? Or that you can get up to 66% more engagement if you shorten your posts to less than 80 characters? This article and blog, where we got this tip, and other social media websites like this one, can help you.
With Facebook’s new “pay to play” policy, waiting adoptive parents are finding it more challenging to stand out and get noticed. However, by creating a outreach strategy and adopting some of these tips, you can increase your page’s engagement and make your page and your adoption profile more visible to prospective birthmothers and other people you’re trying to reach.
Do you have an open adoption story? Email us any time or find out more about how to share it with our community.
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