One thing that DoSomething.org has been focusing on in the last year is how to make our campaigns more social, and how to utilize more social platforms to get teens to take action. As you’ll note from our national survey results, a huge factor driving teens to volunteer is whether or not their friends are involved. They want a volunteer event to feel like a party; they want to know who is going, whether or not there will be snacks, and they never want to be the first one there.
As we began to develop Pics for Pets, a campaign that involved young people taking and sharing awesome pictures of shelter animals to help get them adopted, we realized that it was the perfect opportunity to build a campaign on a platform that was completely focused on social interaction: Facebook.
We built the Pics for Pets app so that it would be easy and meaningful to both our content creators and our sharers. The beauty of the app was that a user could see a post on their timeline about an adorable adoptable animal in their area, click on the post and be taken to a profile page of the animal to then re-share or even adopt, without ever leaving Facebook. If they then chose to, they could find a shelter that needed some photography help in their community and get all the tools to get a great picture to then submit to the gallery and share with friends. Any user could participate in the campaign, on any level, without leaving their Facebook comfort zone.
Here are 6 important things I learned when creating a Facebook app:
- Building on a social platform doesn’t make something inherently social. One thing that you need to think about when developing a Facebook app is whether or not your app is more fun with friends. If not, you might as well keep it off the platform.
- Test. We tested different types of messaging to increase click-through rates of the timeline posts to see what drove more people to action once they saw a post. With each test, we got closer and closer to a respectable click-through rate.
- Find out what is important to Facebook. We ended up using Open Graph posts instead of stream.publish because Open Graph is a priority to Facebook, and the posts get more visibility.
- Find benchmarks. When you start to analyze engagement on your app, you will realize that there aren’t a lot of comps to compare your metrics too, but they are out there. Search and search until you find someone that can help you understand how your app is performing compared to the industry standards.
- Launch in beta first. You’re going to make changes to your app, even if you think you have a winner already. Until you see what the data says, you don’t know anything, so you’ll want to give yourself time to pivot after you launch. Even when you are out of beta, it's important to keep testing and iterating. Launch early, test often, as our fearless CEO tends to say.
- Launch strong. If you don't have strong post-beta launch, with all of your marketing and PR guns hitting at once, you won't be able to cut through the clutter and get your app noticed. Focus all of your firepower on a small window of time, even a few hours, to try and rise above all of the app noise out there.
- Greg Thomas is one of our amazeballs Campaigns Managers. He's also pretty sick on the guitar.