By Jeff Kline

Blog

10 Facebook Tips for Nonprofits

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

facebook logoFacebook is the world’s most popular social network. Of the 1.15 billion people registered on Facebook, 699 million users are active daily. 

By creating your nonprofit’s Facebook page and implementing best practices for interacting with your audience, Facebook can become a valuable tool for achieving your organization’s marketing goals. 

If you’re new to Facebook, you might want to start by checking out my Facebook Beginner’s Guide. But if you’re a Facebook veteran, this list of tips will serve as a refresher on tried-and-true strategies AND give you some new ideas of how you might use Facebook to promote and grow your organization.

1) Define your goals.

What do you plan to accomplish on Facebook? By defining your goals, you can ensure that everything you do on Facebook, you do for the purpose of accomplishing an important goal. Your goal might be to promote awareness of your cause, to earn new members, to drive donations, or a combination of these. Last week’s post on defining Twitter goals and developing a strategy can also be applied to Facebook.

2) Leverage your existing community to build the foundation of your Facebook audience.

When you’re first starting out on Facebook, send an email to your contact list asking your supporters to “Like” your page and share it with their friends. This will let your supporters know you’re on Facebook and give you a great head start to building your Facebook presence. Click here to download a prewritten email template for inviting people to follow your organization on social media.

3) Show the personality of your organization.

As a nonprofit, it’s important to show the human side of your organization. Try some of the following tactics:

  • Post photos of staff members hanging out around the office.
  • Spotlight a “Volunteer of the Week” or “Sponsor of the Month”
  • Share videos from the field. Take a video camera or smartphone along with you the next time you’re out in the community doing your nonprofit’s work, whether that’s cleaning up a littered hiking trail or hosting a small business owners’ luncheon.

4) Reach out to people individually.

Speaking directly to people using the @ symbol gets their attention (they’ll receive a notification) and demonstrates that you’re listening. (Not sure how to use the @ symbol? Click here!)

Here are some ideas for reaching out to people:

  • When someone writes on your timeline, copy and post it onto your Timeline, and thank them for posting. (When people post to your Timeline, the message often gets hidden. By reposting it yourself, others will see it and that person will get recognition!)
  • Show your sponsors some love—tag their page and thank them in a status update.
  • When someone comments on your post, ALWAYS thank them by name. For example, “Thanks @Allie Brack for your kind comment!”

5) Optimize your posts.

In order to make sure your posts are performing to their highest potential, follow these steps:

  • When posting an article or blog link, be sure a thumbnail image appears. If there are multiple images to choose from, select the image that’s most eye-catching and best reflects the article’s subject matter.

How to optimize your Facebook posts - choose a thumbnail image

  • Consider editing link titles and descriptions, so that they better reflect the contents of the page you’re linking to. Simply hover over the title or description (it will be highlighted yellow) and click to edit.

How to optimize your Facebook posts - edit link titles and descriptions 

  •  Delete the URL from the text portion of post, and write something compelling instead. 

 How to optimize your Facebook posts - delete URL

6) Post a large image, with a link in the description.

The tiny, auto-generated thumbnail images that appear when you post a link can only do so much to draw attention. Try letting the image do the heavy lifting. Instead of posting a status, post a large, high quality photo—and include a shortened link in the image description.  

post large images on facebook 

(Note: Facebook is slowly rolling out design changes, which may eventually improve the way auto-generated images are displayed. Some pages, such as Mashable’s, already seem to be reflecting the changes. To be continued…) 

7) Turn on “Similar Pages Suggestions.”

When a user clicks to “Like” a page, Facebook will now suggest similar pages. For your nonprofit’s page to be included in suggestions, you’ll need to go to Edit Page > Edit Settings and click to turn on the Similar Page Suggestion functionality. You can then view the number of new likes your nonprofit’s page receives through Similar Page Suggestions by visiting your Insights > Likes > Where Your Likes Came From.


8) Ask for engagement.

Sometimes the best way to get people to interact with your posts is to be straightforward and just ask for it. Here are a few types of posts that ask for engagement:

  • Ask for Likes: “LIKE this post if you’re a proud member of the Charlotte Chamber!”
  • Ask followers to fill in the blank: “Fill In The Blank: I volunteer because __________.”
  • Post an unusual photo (relevant to your cause) and ask your Facebook fans to come up with a caption.

ask for engagement

9) Be cautious with hashtags.

Hashtags are new to Facebook, and so far, the results are not so good. According to studies, using hashtags in your page’s posts actually decreases the likelihood of your posts going viral. People aren’t clicking on Facebook hashtags, possibly because they seem promotional and sales-oriented. If you do use hashtags, make sure they are being used in the manner they were meant to be—to help people find information on a specific topic.

10) Create Events.

For each event hosted by your organization, create a Facebook Event. Invite your personal contacts to the Event, and make sure the settings allow people to invite their friends to join the Event. Use the Facebook Event tool to provide guests with updates as the event approaches.

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I hope today’s list of Facebook tips will prove to be very helpful in implementing your nonprofit’s social media marketing. And if you remember nothing else about Facebook marketing, remember to keep it a 2-way conversation—share valuable content with your audience, but also listen and respond to what your followers are saying.

UP NEXT: Social Bookmarking

Everyone knows by now that one of the most important components of social media marketing is CONTENT. High quality, informative, interesting, relevant, up to date content. Not just your own content, but third party content as well. 

But locating and managing all of that content can be overwhelming. That’s where social bookmarking comes in. Come back next week to learn how sites like Digg, Delicious and StumbleUpon can help you collect and organize great third party content…and help your own content go viral!

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