Seven Simple – Yet Powerful – Tips to Grow Facebook Engagement

social fish
social fish


Can a few simple modifications to a social action drastically improve the number of supporters driven to action? Yes. Here’s a great example of how one organization improved the performance of their Facebook social actions by 300%.

Polar Bears International, a Montana-based organization dedicated to saving these striking creatures, launched a successful social action campaign during Polar Bear Week, annually held the first week of November. The first Facebook social action they posted inspired…

  • 1,142 people to like, share, comment and/or click on the post
  • 161 people to complete the action and provide their contact information
  • A 14.1% conversion rate

Given the size of their Facebook page and engagement activity, those are solid results. Yet, with an eye toward constant improvement, Polar Bears International made a few simple changes to its format and content — all based on lessons from some of the best nonprofit social media managers. The results:

  • 1,980 people engaged with the content through likes, shares and comments.
  • 577 people completed the action and provided their contact information.
  • Conversion rate jumped to 1%

These simple changes increased the response rate by over 300%. These changes weren’t dramatic and are the kinds of things anyone can do. In that spirit, let’s look at the changes Polar Bears International made and the seven tips any Facebook page manager can use to get the same (or better), results on their Facebook page.

The Post Before and After Changes


Tip #1: Paint a Clear Call to Action (CTA)

Providing a clear call to action early on in a post (substantially) increases the chances of a person seeing and completing it. The vast majority of Facebook users first see an action while scrolling through their News Feeds on mobile devices. Immediately explaining exactly what the action is, and why completing it will make a difference, increases the number of people who follow through.

The best actions have a clear directed “target”; they provide an easy explanation. Expressing urgency, having an emotional hook, and using powerful language will boost supporter engagement and participation. This CTA succeeds because it communicates urgency and reward.

Tip #2: Use Powerful Images

Pictures are still worth a thousand words, but on the internet pictures have the power to go much farther and faster. The second post uses a more sympathetic and shareable picture, has vibrant colors, a clear illustration of the impending problem, and cute polar cubs with their mommy — a perfect fit. When in doubt, reuse a photo that worked before, whether on your own Facebook page or elsewhere.

Tip #3: Leverage Link-Posts

While there’s a growing debate about whether link posts are better than photo posts, link posts generally do a better job at driving action. Users seem to prefer this format because when they click on the image of a link post, it takes them to the social action page.

For this reason, Facebook chooses to prioritize link posts, noting that these posts receive twice as many clicks. And, from a Facebook page manager’s perspective, it gives yet another opportunity to add a title and more of an action-description below the image. Use that extra real estate to your advantage!

The Action: Before

The Action: After

Tip #4: Set Goals

Goals are an age-old trick to drive up form completion rates on online petitions. Notice that the second version sets a clear goal. When a problem seems too overwhelming, people are less likely to respond.

Conversely, when actions are presented as “bite-size yet meaningful to the cause,” is when they gain traction. Goals make users feel like their individual actions will add up to something bigger and result in change.

Tip #5: Blatant Privacy

More and more, people care about their privacy and data. Polar Bears International added an explicit privacy statement that many supporters appreciate because it tells them exactly how their data will be used.

Tip #6: Motivate Your Supporters

It’s important to understand what motivates people to take action. In the better performing post, the language below the image is far more detailed. It presents the problem, provides a solution, and moves supporters to take action to make that solution a reality.

Tip #7: Use an Explicit Button

In the end, the button matters. Doing so makes it clear that the person is signing a petition when they click the button. The revised button is both simpler and more straightforward.


Bonus Tip: Tap into Comments!

Polar Bears International chose to enable comments on the post-action page of the second version of their social action. This gave supporters a way to personally express themselves after completing the action. And here’s the bonus… every comment also shows up on their friends’ News Feeds. This helps increase virality and sharing. Moreover, people are more likely to share when they have an invested interest, which a comment helps to provide.


By making these simple changes, Polar Bears International increased the number of supporters who took action on their Facebook page over the course of Polar Bear Week. With a goal of 25,000 signatures before December’s climate talks in Lima, Peru, the organization is well on its way to making a significant impact, one Facebook page user and action at a time!

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