With over 300 million users and over fifty percent of those users logging in daily, Facebook is a platform that’s proven to be effective. It doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon either. Millions of people use the tool to stay connected with family and friends – sharing photos, videos, links, resources and personal day to day information. Some nonprofits are even figuring out how to connect with their supporters, donors, volunteers and advocates in new and unique ways. Taking it one step further is a small percentage of nonprofits using Facebook to successfully raise money. However you slice it Facebook has potential. You just have to figure it out for your organization.
Jeff Patrick and I had a chance to speak to over 350 nonprofits recently. We shared a Facebook 101 for Nonprofits type of presentation that was focused on highlighting what a few nonprofits are doing really well in order to help others see the possibilities.Facebook 101 For Nonprofits — View more presentations from frank barry.
Below are 11 tips to get you started or help you enhance what you’re already doing with Facebook. You’ll learn from the best through real world examples.
1) Brand your page for success
You want people to know that it’s your page when they arrive. Simple as that. Facebook allows you to do a few things to brand your page. Make sure to take advantage of them all.
- Get a vanity URL (i.e. http://www.facebook.com/ChildrensLA)
- Use your logo or get creative and do something that stands out
- Provide basic info on who you are, your mission and why you’re on facebook
- List other ways people can connect with you (i.e. Blog, web site, Twitter, etc…).
Check out Children’s Hospital of LA to see what they are doing.
2) Allow fans to communicate, interact and engage
Facebook allows you to set your page up the way you like it. Although security and the ever dreaded “user generated content” is something that needs to be taken into consideration don’t let that make you lock down you page. Allow your fans to post on your wall and interact with each other via commenting and liking wall posts. If you don’t allow this type of interaction your efforts will be in vein.
Check out LIVESTRONG to see what they are doing.
3) Use Video, Photos, Links and more to keep your page fresh
Content is still king so don’t be fooled into the “build it and they will come” mentality. Putting up a Facebook Fan Page isn’t enough by itself. You’ve got to continue to put up fresh content on a regular basis in order to nurture your community.
Check out ChildFund to see what they are doing.
Engagement is the name of the game. This might be the most time consuming part of the whole equation. Without it you risk having a stale Facebook Fan Page – One that doesn’t make people feel closer to your organization or create strong ties between fellow supporters. Make sure you take time to interact with your Facebook Fans on a regular basis. Use the platform to deepen relationships. Don’t just push your agenda.
Check out LIVESTRONG to see what they are doing.
5) Share news, stories and other important information
Now, I said you need to engage with people. That’s not going away, but you can also share your information, news and stories. Do it in a human way though. Don’t recycle your press releases. Don’t put up stale, old, boring content. Think about how you can take your content and Humanize it so that people want to interact with you. Think conversational. Think helpful. Think useful.
Check out the American Red Cross to see what they are doing.
6) Make it easy for people to support your efforts
Fundraising is important for most nonprofits. Facebook can help with that, but you’ve got to make it easy for your fans and others to support you. Causes is a great little Facebook application that you can quickly get up and running. You can also look into more robust and fully featured applications that integrate more closely with your Facebook Fan Page and what your other online applications.
Check out the American Heart Association to see what they are doing.
7) Use common tools
Facebook has some simple applications that you can easily turn on for your Fan Page. Look through their application directory and find some that help you enhance your page. A few commonly used applications are: Photos || Videos || Events
8) Share your blog content
Your blog should already be written in a human or less corporate voice. If that’s the case then the content you are publishing should be shared on Facebook as well. The Social RSS Facebook application makes it easy to do this. A few clicks and you are set.
Check out Kiva to see what they are doing.
9) Connect your social worlds
YouTube, Twitter, Flickr and other social media sites have applications that allow you to integrate your efforts on these sites into your Facebook Fan Page. Don’t keep your individual social media efforts in silos. Bring them all together on Facebook so that your Facebook Fans benefit from your efforts all over the web.
Check out Athletes for a Cure to see what they are doing.
10) Create a custom experience
Facebook lets you add custom tabs to your Facebook Fan Page. This type of feature helps you create a more tailored experience for your Fans. Think about how you can make this work for you – Ask your Fans to take a specific action. Tell your Fans about a new campaign you’re running. Give Fans information on how their efforts are helping make an impact through Facebook.
Check out the ONE Campaign to see what they are doing.
11) Leverage the social map
By doing the above nine things you increase the chance of your message being spread through your Facebook Fans social map. By this I mean you’ll be taking advantage of the numerous relationships your supporters have on Facebook. Each time they post on your wall in some format (link, photo, comment, like, video, etc..) that also updates their wall and their news feed. This then makes it possible for all their friends to see what they are doing and who they are interacting with.
What’s your Facebook story? How are you using the platform to further your mission and cause? What have you found to be successful? We’d love to hear your tips.
- 4 Facebook Tips for Nonprofit Success
- So you want a Facebook Fan Page for Your Nonprofit? Here’s the Scoop! by Beth Kanter
- How To Develop A Facebook Page That Attracts Millions of Fans by All Facebook
- Facebook Groups and Pages – Features, Benefits And Killer Tips by John Haydon
- A beginner’s guide to Facebook for non-profits by Wild Apricot