Austin Smiles’ Facebook page was stuck at just under 500 likes.  It would slowly creep from 492 to 493.  Each new like caused a “yippee” in the office.  So today at 498, we asked our Facebook followers to ask 2 people to like our page.  I don’t know why, but 500 seemed like a magic number, a nice round number that we wanted to obtain.  So, just shy of 2 hours after our plea, we received the elusive 500th like.  Yay!   Now why do we want to succeed on Facebook?  And, how can we keep the interest?

For a non-profit, a successful Facebook page brings awareness to a cause.  One can quickly reach many people in a relatively short amount of time.   For Austin Smiles, the visibility and buzz generated from our Facebook page let’s people know that we are a) not a dental office and b) are not Operation Smiles. It shows people that we are Austin Smiles, the Austin Plastic Surgery Foundation.   We are an organization which provides reconstructive plastic surgery, primarily cleft lip and palate repairs, to the children of central Texas and in various locations in Latin America.

We have found that the most successful posts are pictures.  The old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” is true, especially with the impactful “before and after” photos from cleft lip surgery.  Wow.  People also like to see pictures of themselves or their peers.  Our photos on “Throwback Thursday” are always a hit.  With over 25 years of photos to choose from, “Throwback” can really be a blast from the past.  Kendyl with black hair, the various stages of Rick’s facial hair, Elsa on her first trip.

The photos and posts are not always light hearted, however. Our most viral post was when we shared that one of our beloved volunteers was in the hospital with a brain tumor.  The outpouring of love and support for Joe was incredible.  He said he was deeply touched and blessed to have such a wonderful Austin Smiles family.

To keep the interest we try to have creative and brief posts.  Pictures, links, and 30 second videos are what work.  People are on Facebook to get quick glimpses.  We want to catch their eye as they scroll through the myriad of posts.  We also want to keep the interest up, but not inundate our followers with a barrage of posts.  We want quality content over quantity.  Impactful over inane.  Not to say we won’t post the silly and frivolous.  Some days that’s all we can do.

Don’t forget to “Like” us on Facebook!

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