It’s time to move from cheating the system to being more human.

Back in 2017 I wrote a post about the Facebook Algorithm and Community Engagement. I wanted to add some thoughts and make some up dates.

The original post was written at a time when Facebook were beginning to make things more difficult for owners of brand pages and one way to combat declining reach was to optimise engagement on each and every post that was shared. Now, I want to turn this tactic on it’s head and look at things from a more human than magical algorithm perspective.

Picture yourself at a party. Everyone there has something cool and interesting to say (or so they think). There’s one person who, in an attempt to get you to engage with what they are saying so they shout louder than everyone else and poke you on the shoulder ’til you ‘take notice’.

There’s another person there with an equally interesting point to make. They engage with you, asking for your opinion. They are friendly and kind. They want start a conversation with you. Understand your points. They really listen to what it is that you have to say.

Who are you likely to want to talk more with? If you’re anything like me, it’s the person that has asked your opinion and shown an interest in you. Not the big brash me person shouting their opinion.

We are much more likely to buy from / support the people we like. So is it now time to focus more on starting conversations than trying to be heard above the rest?

People tend to say yes, if the request comes from someone they like…

We know that as a rule, we are more likely to say yes to a request that comes from someone we know and like. Here’s a great example shared in Robert Cialdini’s Influence

The clearest illustration I know of the professional exploitation of the liking rule is the Tupperware party… All other major weapons of influence are present to help things along, but the real power of the Tupperware party comes from […] the liking rule. The request to buy does not come from a stranger but from a friend.

Influence (Chapter 5, Liking: The Friendly Thief), Robert Cialdini

So how might we, as charity professionals turn this to benefit the work we do?Fundraising events such as the Macmillan Coffee Morning bring friends together to support a cause close to the heart of their friend. But, there is a step to be taken by the charity before their friends are invited. They must become the friend of the host…

For me, it should be less about using tactics of influence to reach KPIs and more about being a good human. Use this and the other powerful tools mentioned in the book by all means. But please, keep in mind that with this power to influence we must consider the ethics of our influence.