A Few Words of Caution: Small to medium-sized nonprofits should take Facebook case studies and best practices based on the success of large nationally and internationally well-known nonprofits (with huge email lists and multiple communications and development staff) with a heavy dose of skepticism. 99.9% of nonprofits just can not duplicate their success, and such case studies and best practices set up many nonprofits for failure and disappointment. Large nonprofits with well-known brands simply have a different experience on Facebook. They can post more often with less risk of getting hidden or unliked, their fan base grows faster, and they often have great content to share in status updates that easily inspire comments and likes. Great for them (they were small once too), but most nonprofits will have to make a concerted effort to grow their fan base and find their Facebook voice. It takes time, patience, great content, and a commitment to integrated online communications. That said, here are five ways to grow your nonprofit’s Facebook fan base:
1. Like other Facebook Pages as your nonprofit, and then participate in their status updates.
Facebook will likely disable or limit this functionality once the spammers and overzealous marketers get hip to it, but for now, get in while the getting is still good. First, select “Use Facebook as [the name of your page]:”
Next, “Like” the page you’d like to participate on:
Finally, participate in their status updates in the News Feed, authentically of course. Their fans will see your activity in their News Feeds and some will become fans of your page as well as a result. That said, don’t go overboard. Limit your activity on their page(s) to once a day or less, or risk being interpreted as a spammer. Pick 5-10 pages relevant to your mission and programs, and become engaged in those pages:
2. Tag other Facebook Pages to post on their wall.
Don’t put a lot of hope into “tagging” as a means to gain new Facebook Fans, but some Facebook users do spend time browsing the walls of Facebook Pages.When appropriate and with authenticity, tag other pages (HOW TO) in your status updates so that your status updates are also posted on the page that you are tagging:
3. Add a Facebook icon to your blog and website.
Seems obvious, but you would be surprised how many nonprofits do not have social media icons on their website and blog (see five nonprofits that do).
4. Add a Facebook icon to your e-newsletter and email signature.
The vast majority of online donations come from a click in an e-newsletter, as do most new Facebook Fans, Twitter Followers, and text alert subscribers. Nonprofits that do not publish e-newsletters are definitely at a disadvantage. That said, I am big believer in the upper right-hand corner (see four examples):
5. Add a “Like Us on Facebook” pitch to your “Thank You” landing pages and emails.
Your donors are your most committed supporters, and it’s highly probable that they will want to “Like” you on Facebook and follow your organization’s progress through your status updates. Make it easy for them for by adding a Facebook pitch to your “Thank You” landing pages and emails: