Social media (user- generated and interactive web content such as Facebook and Twitter), works incredibly well for companies like Starbucks and Coca-Cola, but did you know it can be powerful for nonprofits?
When it comes to communicating messages widely and effectively, Facebook has the potential to benefit most nonprofit groups regardless of size or budgets. And in terms of reach (number of people who use it), Facebook recently surpassed Google. This dominance is good news for organizations that learn to use it effectively.
If your nonprofit wants to broadcast information to a widening group of people, Facebook is the tool for you. Like all social media tools, your success is linked to your ability to utilize it efficiently and effectively.
Once you’ve set up your Facebook page, these 5 quick tips will help insure your success:
1. Build your fan base. Inviting your existing Facebook and email contacts to Like your page is time well spent. It’s also effective to search out and “Like” other pages on Facebook that relate to your work, as you’ll often attract their audience to your page. Once you get your page “fans” to 20-30, you’ll be on your way. You should also participate in other page communities by leaving comments and notes regarding their links and news. If you want fans, you need to be a fan. (Although the term “fans” is no longer prominent on Facebook, it indicates the frequenters of your page.)
2. Communicate with your fans. Fans are members of your page and have joined because they’re interested in what you’re saying and doing. Your Facebook page allows you to email your fans directly about timely matters such as upcoming events, celebrations, or contests (see point #3). The key to successful fan communication is to not spam people. Once a month is about right, unless there is something pressing or timely such as a call to action or an event.
3. Hold a Contest. Page contests allow you to inject some fun into your Facebook community and increase participation in and enthusiasm for your work. Some popular ideas include caption contests, guess the story behind the picture, or name our [fill in the blank] (fundraiser, new office space, new employee title). Contests can be fun, and are a great way to boost your page fan base.
4. Update page daily with news, links, and shares. By updating your page with organizational news and views from around the web, you’ll help your fans stay plugged into your mission and message.
5. Put a Facebook badge on your website. Facebook makes it easy to create a badge promoting your Facebook page, which you can add onto an existing web page. If you take the time to create one and ask your fans to place it on their site as well, you’ll soon see a jump in your fan base. Don’t forget to put one on your blog!
For a nonprofit, sharing your mission through page communications will strengthen your work in the long run. For more nonprofit-related tips on using social media, check out PKIDs’ Communications Made Easy program.