As I was browsing through numerous nonprofit Facebook Pages today, I was quite surprised to see that many nonprofits still really don’t understand the Facebook Page tool set. Here are five of the most common mistakes being made by Nonprofit Admins that I saw today on Facebook:

1) Not knowing how to use Apps on Facebook Pages.

When you create a new Facebook Fan Page, the page automatically comes with 6 native Apps: 1) Photos 2) Videos 3) Discussion Boards 4) Notes 5) Links and 6) Events. Facebook Pages don’t really get interesting or fun until you start adding and using the Static FBML App, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr Apps, the Social RSS App, the Flash Player App, Causes, etc. There are thousands of Apps in Facebook’s Application Gallery. If you have never added an App to your organization’s Facebook Page, then you still have some work to do. Also, if you are not dragging and dropping boxes/Apps on your home view, or dragging and dropping Tabs, and if you have no idea what I am talking about, then you need to get some training on how to use Facebook Pages. :)

2) Not understanding the value of community building on Facebook.

If you aren’t getting any “Likes” or “Comments” on your Wall in response to your Status Updates, then you haven’t found your Facebook voice and you need to be posting a different kind of content. Facebook is not about one-way communication. It’s not just about pushing out information about your nonprofit to your fans. It is about interaction and engagement. The best community builders understand this and pose questions to their fans, stimulate conversation on their Wall, and rarely post press release-like content on their Facebook Page. 90% of the power of a Facebook Page is in the Status Update, and if yours aren’t getting any action, then you need reevaluate what kind of content your posting.

3) Limiting their Facebook fundraising to Facebook Causes and then leaving their Cause at $0.

In the early days of my nonprofit career, I used to table at a lot of events where I put out email newsletter sign-up sheets. I noticed early on that a blank sheet would sit there for hours, but after the first person signed up, then many others followed. It then became standard practice for me to then sign up my mother, my boyfriend, and my grandmother on every new sign up sheet in order to get the sign ups rolling. There is just something about human nature that most people are followers and not likely to be the first [to sign up].

The same concept applies to Facebook Causes. If your Cause is at $0 with no donors, then you’re going to be waiting a long time for that first donation. If you are going use and promote Causes, donate $10 to your own Cause. This is also important so you understand the donor experience. It might come as quite a surprise to you that during the donation process, you’ll discover that donors can opt out of providing your organization any contact information. In that case, maybe in addition to using Causes, you might also want to be using your Facebook page to send folks your website to donate as well.

4) Posting too many Status Updates.

My gut tells me that nonprofits shouldn’t be posting more than one or two Status Updates a day. Some nonprofits are posting three to four Status Updates a day, sometimes one right after another. It is way too easy for individuals to “Hide” a nonprofit from their News Feed and nothing will do that faster than posting too many Status Updates. If you do want post two or three a day, at least make sure they are spread out over the course of your work day and not all at once.

5) Not reserving a Facebook Username for your Page.

I guess a lot of nonprofits haven’t heard the news that after your page reaches 100 fans, you can reserve a Facebook Page Username at www.facebook.com/username. I saw at least 10 well-known national organizations today on Facebook that had not yet done this. You better hurry. Over 100,000,000 usernames have been taken already!

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