Facebook Tips for Nonprofits

Creating a Facebook (FB) page has become a regular part of nonprofit outreach.  It may seem easy, but it can be difficult to develop a page that draws a genuine and sizable community of fans. In order to succeed on the platform, use the following Facebook tips for nonprofits.

You can make a fabulous FB page with all sorts of Apps and Tabs and interactive tools.  But that takes some technical savvy and a lot of time.  This blog post is for those non-profits who have just begun or would like to begin an FB page, who don’t have much free time, and are not particularly techy.

I want to give you a few simple non-tech-type ways to make your FB page more attractive and some proven strategies for interacting with your fan community.  However, even if you have an awesome, tricked out FB page – take a look at “Impactful Posts” below for some data-proven best posting practices.

Let’s start with a basic checklist.  These are some of the easiest things you can do to increase visits to your page and shares of your posts:

1)      Fan Permissions: Encourage participation by ensuring that your fans have permission to post photos, videos and links on your wall.  You can do this within your “Wall Settings”.

2)      Custom URL: Once you reach 25 likes you can make a custom URL that is easy for fans to remember.

3)      Embed Buttons:  ensure that you have FB “like” and “share” buttons wherever possible (website pages, blog posts, even for different parts/tabs of your FB page).  In addition to these two buttons FB offers a few other “social plug-ins” that connect FB to other parts of your online presence including comment boxes, activity feeds, etc.  Without little effort on your part these plug-ins and buttons can help ramp up the number of FB fans and the level of their involvement. 

4)      Use Causes: If you only use one FB app it should be this one set up a Cause page for yourself.  It is user friendly, gives you another method for managing you fan community and an additional route to finding fans, as well as allows fans to donate to your org (or one of your choosing) without leaving FB.

5)      Quiz: In my opinion Quiz Creator is the second best app a non-profit could use for fan engagement.  It is also user friendly, and a well conceptualized quiz will be shared among friends many times over, greatly increasing your visibility.  Make a quiz that tells fans something fun or silly about themselves (think IQ or personality tests, or relationship quizzes — people eat these up!).  It only has to be slightly related to your org — the point is for it to spread, carrying your org’s name and increasing brand awareness.

Now let’s take a moment to consider how to cultivate an online personality for your org that your fans want to interact with and will share with their friends.  Start by considering the framework your fans are operating under when they are on FB.  It is a social network: people are there to connect with their friends and family.  What would you want to see on the page of an organization when you’re indulging in down time or social hour?  I would want to laugh, be intrigued, be inspired, or find something useful.

Post: number one rule for FB is to make your content “shareable”.  Post updates on and results of your work, lots of photos, emotional anecdotes, relevant news or resources — things you’d want to share with your friends.  Post industry related news articles, or comment on current news.  Ask your fans for help!  Need opinions on a decision you’re making?  Or ask them to be part of promoting your org or an event and offer a raffle prize for participating fans.  Reuse old pictures, videos, or event descriptions — past work can be as fun to share as the cutting edge.  Find quotes (Check out Brainy Quote) and have “Quotable Tuesday”.  Be creative, have fun with it!  If it’s not fun for you, it won’t be fun for your fans.

Respond: Being responsive is very important, ignoring wall posts from fans can create an uncaring impression.  Check your wall fairly regularly, or make sure you get an email about new posts by going to “Edit Page” then “Your Settings” and turning on email notifications.  Responding to posts on your wall encourages conversation and takes advantage of the viral nature of FB.  More posts from your fans means you show up more in the news feeds of their friends.  So have a chat, thank them for their comment, or “like” a fan’s post.

Impactful Posts: What kinds of posts get higher interaction rates?  Not surprisingly, timing is important.  People interact on FB more often during their non-work hours.  This makes the best posting times after 2pm but before 5am and weekends.  Those times may be a bit inaccessible, but they’re good to keep in mind if you’re after high interaction rates.  Post tons of photos, they do better with fans than any other kind of post.  Post throughout the day, not all at once.  The more post, the you show up on news feeds, the more often fans will come to your page – but don’t overwhelm fans.  They can “hide” your news feed if your posts get annoying, so stay engaging and spread out posts.  Put “calls to action” in posts where you directly ask fans to “like,” “share,” or comment on a post.  Again, it doesn’t hurt; it only increases your chances of interaction.

In terms of generating content it may help to ask others in your org to interact with your page.  Approach your colleagues and share with them your ideas for a fun and engaging fan community.  Then ask for contributions when they have time: wall posts, commenting on the page’s status updates, sharing their own photos, etc.  Maybe make it part of an internal newsletter, or send out emails once in a while encouraging participation.

If you’ve worked on all this and you have time to do more, check out Facebook’s page for non-profits.  They have an excellent Non-Profit Guide, and helpful introductions to FB applications and features you may wish to add to your page.


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