Nonprofits: How To Ask Engaging Questions On Facebook

How can you encourage your nonprofit’s supporters to participate in lively discussions about important issues on Facebook? Ask questions.

While asking questions to your organization’s fans on Facebook is an easy way to generate discussions about your group’s causes, many organizations still struggle with crafting questions that elicit many responses. Here are four tips on how to ask smart and engaging questions on Facebook:

1. Make it worth answering

Don’t ask random questions. It might be amusing every once in a while to ask a completely frivolous question, but nonprofits that ask questions unrelated to their cause or community will not receive much engagement.

Before posting a question on Facebook, ask yourself: what’s in it for your fans? According to viral marketing expert Jonah Berger, people often take action for social currency. Basically, people will take action if it makes them look or feel good.

One of our clients is a nonprofit that focuses on a health condition. We posted a question asking their Facebook fans about their experiences with Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy surgery. Take a look at the quality of responses:

mediacause-blog-questions2

By answering this question, our clients’ fans feel good about themselves, because they’re sharing helpful information with one another.

For example, if you’re a food education organization, you can ask your fans to share their favorite alternative for a typically unhealthy ingredient. Give your fans an opportunity to shine by asking a question that lets them share their knowledge.

2. Make it easy to answer

Focus on asking questions that your fans can easily answer. It should only take a few seconds to answer.

Take a look at this question we posted for our client NRDC that received more than 800 comments:

NRDC question screenshot

Multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank questions are also easy to answer. However, not all easy questions will yield many responses. The next point explains why this question from NRDC received high engagement.

3. Seek strong responses

NRDC’s question generated many comments not only because it was easy to answer, but also because it’s a question that its fans are likely to have strong beliefs about.

No one should feel scared to answer your question for fear of being bullied, so refrain from asking questions that could generate a heated argument.

For example, instead of asking:

“Do you believe Obamacare is helping our country?”

Ask:

“How have you benefited from Obamacare?”

People can argue with opinions, but people can’t argue with experiences.

4. Be specific

This ties in with the second point above. The more specific a question is, the easier it is to respond.

Instead of asking:

“How has Fair Trade impacted you?”

Ask:

“What was the last Fair Trade product you consumed?” (Notice we’re going from a “how” question to a “what” question.)

And instead of asking:

“Why do you support renewable energy?”

Ask:

“Would you rather support solar electricity or wind power?”

Also, if your question does receive high engagement, consider turning it into a promoted post to receive even more engagement, and promote it to non-fans to get more likes for your nonprofit’s Facebook page.

Do you know any nonprofits that are successful at asking engaging questions to their Facebook fans? Let us know in the comments section below.

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