The ability to build community is essential in order to have a return on your investment (ROI) when using social networking sites, and you can't build community on Facebook if you don't allow your Likers to participate on your Page. This will mean that you are going to have check your Page more regularly for rogue comments, but that is a small price to pay for increased community participation and ROI.
To allow maximum participation on your Facebook Page, go to "Settings" on the home view under the "Share" button and:
Your organization's logo a.k.a. avatar has never had more value than it does in the era of Web 2.0. People recognize your logo on Facebook on Twitter, YouTube, MySpace, Change.org, Flickr, etc. first, your organization name second. Make sure the use of your logo/avatar is consistent on all your social networking profiles.
The Links App allows you to add links to your Status Updates. The Links App comes with all Pages automatically. Don't delete it and use it with every Status Update.
Facebook Pages were designed to inspire comments and thumbs up by your Likers. A good strategy to increase activity on your Page is to pose questions in Status Updates. People will then reply answers on your Page giving it more dynamic, community-driven look and feel.
The Causes App allows nonprofits to fundraise on Facebook. Your organization must be in GuideStar.org for you to be able to use Causes. Donations are processed by Network for Good and JustGive.org. There is a lot of potential with Causes for fundraising, but have low expectations. For most nonprofits, few dollars have been raised. That said, the company is constantly inovating and new tools and functionality are supposed to be coming in 2011.
This Notes App essentially allows you to run a blog on your Facebook Page. Like a blog, notes are listed chronologically and fans can comments and give thumbs up. You can feature "Notes" as a Tab.
The Static FBML App is one of the most important Apps on Facebook. It allows you to add customized Tabs to your page that can include text, links and images as long as you have a basic working knowledge of HTML (View Basic HTML Tutorial). PLEASE NOTE: Facebook is only supporting the FBML App through December 31, 2010! Build those custom Tabs while you still can... easily!
In June 2009, Facebook started allowing Page Admins to select vanity URLs for Facebook Pages, such as www.facebook.com/nonprofitorgs. You need 25 fans to reserve a username. Grab your vanity URL ASAP at www.facebook.com/username if you have not already. Ideally it should match your organization's website address or other social networking vanity URLs.
To grab a Like Box, login as an Admin to your Facebook Page and go to Edit Page > Promote with a Like Box. On that page you can grab code for a widget that you can embed on your organization's website or blog that will display the status updates on your Facebook Page, thumbnails of your Likers, as well as a "Like" button. If your organization is investing time and energy into building your Facebook presence, then a Like Box is a must. See the Sierra Club website for an example.
Each Facebook Page has a link under the logo on the home view named "Add to my Page's Favorites". Use this functionality to build and foster partnerships on Facebook. If a foundation recently gave your organization a grant and they have a Facebook Page, then "Favorite" them on your page and post a comment on their wall letting them know that you made them a "Favorite." If your organization has numerous chapters throughout the country, then favorite each one on the Facebook Page for the national office. On the Nonprofit Organizations Facebook Page, I use the Favorites function to highlight the Nonprofits of the Month.
Protect your organization by making sure that you have at least two staff as Admins for your Facebook Page. If a staff person or volunteer leaves, and there isn't a second person named as Page Admin, then you have essentially lost access to your Facebook Page and your hundreds/thousands of fans.
Make sure you are logged into Facebook and designated as an Admin for your organization’s Facebook Page. Go to Involver's App Gallery [You can install two of the basic Apps for free]. Click the Facebook Install button for Twitter. It will ask you to choose which Facebook Page you want to install the App. Select your page and then click the “Add Twitter for Pages” button. You will then be prompted to enter your name, email address, phone number, and Twitter User Name. All four fields are required.
Click “Save & Continue” and then “Continue to Fan Page”. The final step is to click “+ Add a new tab” on your Facebook Page, then Select “Twitter”. The Twitter Tab will automatically appear. You can then drag and drop your Tabs in the order you think it most important for your Facebook Strategy. Keep in mind that the default settings are that the “Wall” Tab is first, the “Info” Tab is second. [See the Involver Twitter App live]
Simply repeat the steps above! You will not be prompted to enter your contact information again, however you will be asked to enter your YouTube User Name (www.youtube.com/username) and whether you want only your uploaded videos or your favorited video displayed, or both. That depends on how you use your YouTube channel. Most organizations would likely only want their uploaded videos displayed. [See the Involver YouTube App live]
The default setting on facebook is that your Wall and Info Tabs must remain and be in the first and second position on your Page's Tabs, but the remaining four Tabs can be dragged and dropped to feature your most important Apps. For the Nonprofit Organizations Page, I currently feature Twitter, YouTube, Notes and Links in my Tabs. A month from now I may move them around again. Keep your Tabs fresh and change them around every once in awhile!
It's a good thing that there is no way to sync Tweets to Status Updates on Facebook Pages or nonprofit organizations would be losing a lot of Likers on Facebook. The Likers of the Nonprofit Organizations Facebook Page have made it quite clear that more than one Status Update a day from your organizations, and you're in the realm getting unliked, or at the very least "Hidden". You can get away with two Status Updates a day as long as one is in the morning and the other is in the afternoon. The law of diminishing returns kicks in after that. View Poll.
Every once in awhile create a poll on TwtPoll and post it as a link in a Status Update. Most everyone now understands that successfully using social media for your organization means engaging your Likers, followers, and friends. In addition to asking your fans to take the poll, ask them to share their thoughts on the issue of the poll in the Status Update thread as well. TwtPolls work great on Twitter too!
150 million people (as of October 2010) view Facebook on a mobile device monthly. Half of those users view Facebook on a mobile device daily. Currently, few nonprofits have mobile websites, but that is going to change dramatically in 2010-11. DIOSA Communications is a firm believer that the Mobile Web is the next frontier in nonprofit communications. That said, if your organization has a mobile website, then make sure that you link to the mobile version of your Facebook Page (m.facebook.com/nonprofitorgs) on your mobile website (www.nonprofitorgs.mobi).
The reality is that the vast majority of Facebook Pages by nonprofits (99.9%) do not go viral on Facebook. Only those with international brand recognition tend to go viral, such as NPR, Greenpeace International, and World Wildlife Fund (the top three nonprofit Pages by number of fans as of November 2009). For most other nonprofits, the big challenge is getting new fans and there is no magic formula for that.
The truth is you have promote the page to get new fans... a lot. In my experience, most of my new fans come from mentioning and asking people to "Like" the page in e-mail newsletters. And I stress "ask". Some will Like the page if they see a Facebook icon in your e-newsletter, but most need to be prompted.
Advanced Facebook strategies requires advanced tech skills. If you know HTML and have a good graphic designer, then you can use the Static FBML App to create and completely customize Tabs on Facebook Pages. For example, the “Get Involved!” Tab on the Special Olympics of Northern California Facebook Page and the "Of the Month" Tab on the Nonprofit Organizations Facebook Page were created using the Static FBML App.
If you don’t know HTML and want customized Tabs for your Facebook Page, then you have two options: 1) Pay for a service like Involver.com. 2)Hire someone who knows HTML and Facebook.
Greenpeace International is a great example of a nonprofit that consistently uses customized Tabs as their default landing page on Facebook. Instead of seeing their Wall when potential new Likers first click their Facebook Page, they see a customized Tab that asks them to subscribe to their e-mail newsletter or to take action. Definitely a best practice. Once you have created a customized Tab for your default Landing Tab, simply go into “Settings” on your Facebook Page and under “Default Landing Tab for Everyone Else” select the Tab you want for your default Landing Tab in the pop-down menu.
Now that group texting is incredibly affordable for most nonprofits, launching a text alert campaign is essential. Send out a text alert asking your subscribers to Like your Facebook page, but make sure you link to the mobile version of your Facebook Page i.e, m.facebook.com/nonprofitorgs. As of October, 2010, 150 million people access Facebook on mobile devices each month. You can bet a good number of your Likers view your Status Updates on their mobile device(s)!
Post a Status Update and send an Update to fans asking them to suggest your page to their Facebook friends. Let them know that they can easily suggest your page by clicking the "Suggest to Friends" link just under your Page's image in the left column. Inspiring your Likers to help build your community is one of the easiest ways to quickly grow your supporter base. Ask every month.
Most nonprofits direct online donors to a "Thank You" web page after they make a donation. Make sure you include a "Like us on Facebook!" pitch on this page, as well as in the "Thank You" e-mail that is automatically generated to online donors.
The News Feed on the Facebook Home has two versions: 1) Top News and 2) Most Recent. All Status Updates from Facebook Pages show up in the Most Recent version. Only Status Updates with 5 or more Thumbs Up and Comments show up in the Top News version. Thus, to increase your organization's presence in the Top News Feed, ask fellow staff, board members and volunteers to regularly give Thumbs Up and post Comments. This will also help inspire your Likers to get more active on your page. Please Note: "5" is a low guesstimate of Facebook's mysterious News Feed algorithms. Sometimes is takes 5 Comments.
Once a month or so, post a link to your organization's Facebook Page on the walls of the Pages listed below. It won't increase your supporter base by large amounts, but you will get a few new fans from time to time... and maybe on Facebook's radar:
Located directly under your Page image on the left side of your Page is a Note Box. Make sure you update this box at least once a month with content that is timely to your organization and interesting to your fans. It could be used to promote a new campaign, a powerful statistic, or a call to action. See the Nonprofit Organizations Page as an example.
The vast majority of interaction between your organization and your Likers occurs in the News Feed, not on the home/Wall view of your Page. That's why 90% of the power of Facebook is in your Status Updates. Rotating your avatar/profile image every few months could prompt your Likers to visit the home/Wall view of your Page and Tabs (where you hopefully have donation and e-newsletter subscribe information). Just make sure that the various versions of your avatar/profile image include your logo. See EcoViva's Avatars on Flickr as an example.
If you are an advocacy organization that utilizes online petitions and e-mail campaigns, then make sure you add Facebook Share Buttons to all your online petitions and e-mail campaigns - both on the home page and the landing page (after a supporter has signed on). Also, on the landing page, add a plug to have the supporter "Like" your organization on Facebook. See the landing page for a Forest Ethics online petition as an example.
Odds are your organization has a Facebook Community Page though in some cases it may not be easy to locate. Find it, claim it and link it to your organization's Official Page! This is crucial because Facebook Community Pages often trump Official Pages in Facebook Searches.
You can post Status Updates on other Pages as a Nonprofit Admin by following the steps here.
This also works very well on Twitter! Powerful stats make people think and often have the power to shock your supporters into action:
Less than 700 mountain gorillas remain in the wild. Please donate $10 to help protect the world's remaining mountain gorillas from poachers!
And though long-time communicators may feel that inspirational quotes are a bit of a communications cliche, the online masses love them:
"Activism is my rent for living on this planet." - Alice Walker
32) Get professional training on how use Facebook!
Knowing how to use social media in your personal life is quite different from knowing how to use it professionally. Training is essential for launching and maintaining a successful social media strategy for your organization. Be sure to take DIOSA's Webinar on How Nonprofit Organizations Can Successfully Use Facebook and Facebook Apps.