Facebook remains the most popular social media platform. Roughly 8 in 10 online Americans use Facebook – and three-quarters of those users visit the site daily, according to Pew Research Center findings.

What does that mean for your cause? Eyeballs. Lots of eyeballs.

But with a net as wide as 1.8 billion users, how do you locate your target audience and direct their gaze your way? It’s all about location. Fortune named “geolocation” the marketing buzzword of 2017, and we don’t disagree – so we looked closer at two ways geolocation can activate Facebook audiences around your nonprofit.


Using Location in Facebook Ads
Local awareness ads give you the ability to refine your audience by location – countries, states, cities, zip codes, even congressional districts – and goes deeper with the option to choose people who live in that location, recently visited or are traveling to the area. Once you’ve located your audience, you can layer additional demographics and behaviors. For example, if a nonprofit wants to raise awareness and engage volunteers for a neighborhood clean-up, they could drop a pin on the map around their planned location and target people who live in the area with an interest in the environment.

As we’ve detailed in previous posts, Facebook makes it easy to reach new people through lookalike audiences. Lookalike audiences are, quite simply, new people who share characteristics with your custom audiences. Don’t forget that you can also exclude locations from your audience in the same ways that you can define them, which can be helpful if a certain location falls outside your nonprofit’s market so you don’t waste money advertising to an inactive group. Geolocation maximizes your advertising budget by defining who sees your ad, while also spreading awareness about your cause.


Checking In for Charity
When Facebook first launched the check-in feature in 2010, it was announcing its arrival in the geolocation sphere (think Foursquare and Yelp), while other apps existed that were centered on the idea of raising money for charities based on check-ins. Now when you open Facebook on your phone, you’re greeted with three icons: Live, Photo and Check In. Tap check in, and you’ll see options to tag friends, add photos, even solicit donations. Understanding how and why to leverage check-ins introduces another tactic into your nonprofit’s awareness campaigns.

While some companies partner with causes or match donations that come in, any nonprofit can start a check-in campaign. Consider partnering with a local business – for every customer who checks in at their location, the business agrees to donate or contribute to your cause. Or think big like when Southwest Airlines donated $1 to the Make-a-Wish Foundation for every Facebook check-in at a Southwest airport, turning frequent fliers into donors.


Finally, make sure your Facebook Page is set up for check-ins if you’re going to ask your audience to engage! Every time a person checks in on Facebook for your nonprofit, you amplify your message and build awareness for your cause through personal connection. From Facebook ads to checking in for charity, geolocation is a tool that, when used correctly and tested often, can prove widely beneficial for your cause’s campaign strategy.