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TechSoup kicked off its Social Media
Mondays in May, designed to accompany the launch of the Nonprofit Social Media 101 wiki,
with a discussion on using Facebook for nonprofits. The
discussion answered common questions, such as the difference between profiles
and pages, and included insightful contributions from nonprofit chat
participants about how their organizations are using Facebook. Six questions
guided the conversation so we've posted the questions and responses below:
1. What is the difference between pages, groups and profiles? Organizations just getting a their start on Facebook can find themselves unsure of what type of account to set up and why. Groups and pages are markedly different from the profiles individuals set up to connect with friends and family. It has become accepted practice to opt for pages as they were created by Facebook to help companies and brands to promote themselves and their product, which in the case of nonprofits is their cause. Those concerned with privacy should note that one of the newest features added to Facebook pages allows administrators to post as their organization. Groups, on the other hand, can also be useful for more intimate and deeper conversations or to organize before the launch of a campaign or event.
practices work best for nonprofits on Facebook? After choosing the right
platform for your organization on Facebook the obvious question becomes: how
best to use Facebook? Many organizations use Facebook to promote updates and
activities that are added to their organization website. It is considered a
wise practice to not post too many updates on your page in one day as it could be
construed as spamming and drive followers away. For most, one post a day is
considered sufficient with many chat participants noting higher response rates
to content posted on weekends and at the very beginning and end of workday
hours on weekdays.
information is best to share on Facebook? As far content, it is not only advisable
to post your own organization's content but to offer up other content and
resources that might be of interest to followers. Pictures and videos should
also be shared in addition to status updates as they add a dynamic element to
your page. Ultimately, the purpose of sharing content is to start a
conversation with your Facebook fans. Pages should be open to comments and fans
should be made to feel comfortable commenting and sharing content. A simple way
to get conversations going is to ask your fans questions. Keep the tone
conversational but professional, avoid jargon and don't be afraid of using
Facebook use be controlled and managed? Organizations often struggle to get
started on Facebook because they feel the need to have a social media policy in
place to control employee use of Facebook and interaction with fans. By
focusing too much on policy that outlines "dos and dont's" it can be overlooked that
in order for a Facebook page to be successful it needs regular updating and monitoring.
Managing a Facebook page, or group, requires administrators to think about how
they can create a space for exchange; this can be accomplished by sharing
content, listening, and asking questions. Several chat participants felt that
Facebook management requires organization leaders to take part in the
sharing and discussion.
How is a
community grown on Facebook? However, before having the opportunity to
engage with your fans you have to get them to your Facebook page first. Growing
a Facebook community can involve using campaigns, games, direct outreach, or
ads. One good strategy is to make all content easily sharable across networks.
Sharing content across channels will result in some overlap but ensures better
content exposure. A good example of an organization that is doing this is Epic Change; Epic Change achieves
this with well-timed email reminders and notes across social networks. Another
good example to start discussions that are part of larger conversations such as
the Nonprofit Organizations
page does by taking the focus off themselves and examining issues relevant
to many or all nonprofits.
Facebook be used for effective fundraising? One of the primary reasons that
nonprofits turn to Facebook is to grow a base that will help with their fundraising efforts. Fortunately, there are a range of tools that can help
nonprofits such as those created by Causes,
FirstGiving, Crowdrise, and Givezooks. As was noted by one
chat participant, the tools are not enough and it is helpful to make
fundraising fun if it is to be successful. Alternately, nonprofits can also use
Facebook to cultivate foundation relationships. Many foundations and
corporations use Facebook campaigns and crowdsourced giving so it is
potentially beneficial to organizations to build relationships with these
groups on Facebook just as they would with their own fans.
Monday's tweet chat on Facebook was just the start of a very
valuable discussion that continues with next week's chat on Twitter use for
nonprofits. For those who can't wait till then, check out TechSoup's Nonprofit Social
Media 101 wiki or any of the following additional resources for more help mastering
Facebook for your nonprofit:
Susan ChavezOnline Community & Social Media Team, TechSoup Global@Susan_Chavez
This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International License.
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