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Six Advanced Facebook Page Strategies for Nonprofit Organizations

December 8, 2009

Nonprofits that have been using Facebook for a year or more consistently comment “OK… Facebook is great, but how can we take our Facebook Page strategy to the next level?” Below are six advanced Facebook Page strategies in response to that question:

1) Create Customized Tabs.

Advanced strategies requires advanced tech skills. If you know html and have a good graphic designer, then you can use the Static FBML App to create and completely customize Tabs on Facebook Pages. For example, the “Get Involved!” Tab on the Special Olympics of Northern California Facebook Page and the numerous customized Tabs on the Facebook Page of The Humane Society of the United States were created using the Static FBML App.

If you don’t know html and want customized Tabs for your Facebook Page, then you have two options: 1) Pay for a service like Sprout.com or Involver.com. Neither publish their fees online for customized Tabs which usually means they are too expensive for most nonprofits. It doesn’t hurt to ask for a nonprofit discount though. Many of these new services want exposure and buzz. 2) Hire someone who knows html and Facebook, like myself. My fees start at $300 for a Facebook Page with one cusomized Tab using graphics and content from your website.

2) Create a customized Tab for your default Landing Tab.

When you click on Central Michigan University inside of Facebook it goes to a a customized Tab called Unleash the Power. First impressions are important on social media sites, and this page sends a clear message that CMU gets Facebook and is taking it seriously. Compared to other pages by universities of their size, they are definitely doing much better in terms of number of fans. My guess is that this strong first impression is making a significant difference in building their fan base.

Greenpeace International has also set their default Landing Tab to a customized Tab called Take Action. Definitely a best practice, though the Tab could be improved by adding some images and possibly a video. It’s a good start.

Once you have created a customized Tab for your default Landing Tab, simply go into “Settings” on your Facebook Page and under “Default Landing Tab for Everyone Else” select the Tab you want for your default Landing Tab in the pop-down menu.

3) Integrate Facebook “Share” buttons and/or Fan Box Widgets into your “Donate Now” Page(s) and online petitions.

After someone makes a donation on your website or signs an online petition, how about asking them to “Share” with their friends on Facebook that they donated to your organization or signed your petition? At the very least, prompt donors and signatores to become fans. For example, after someone signs the online petition at  Forest Ethics’ Do Not Mail campaign, they are then prompted to become a fan of the campaign on Facebook:

The campaign has almost 7,000 fans… a good indicator that this simple strategy works.I would also suggest that nonprofits add a fan box widget to the Web page that thanks online donors for their contribution.

Another possible strategy is adding “Share” buttons to your “Thanks for Signing/Donating” pages. Ideally, the Share post should say something like “I just donated to [Organization Name]!” and then links to your organization’s Facebook Page. The donor gets thumbs up from friends, and your organization hopefully gets some new fans!

4) Incorporate your Facebook Page into your Thank You emails.

Most nonprofits send immediate thank you emails to online donors and signatores of petitions. Make sure to add a simple “Become a fan of [Organization Name] on Facebook!”  into your email.

5) Incorporate your Facebook Page into your mobile campaigns.

Ask your text alert subscribers to fan your Facebook Page, but make sure you link to the mobile version of your Facebook Page, such as: m.facebook.com/nonprofitorgs. Also, on your mobile website, make sure you link to the mobile version of your Facebook Page. See www.nonprofitorgs.mobi as an example. Most nonprofits haven’t even begun to think about mobile tech, but mobile Web usage is on track to hit 1 billion+ users in 2010.

6) Incorporate Facebook Connect into your organization’s blog.

If your organization blogs via WordPress.org, there is a Facebook Connect Plugin for WordPress.org Blogs. Facebook Connect allows individuals to post blog comments via their Facebook login. For those with super duper tech skills, you can customize Facebook Connect in order to add it to your website or blog, where useful. I do not know of any nonprofit currently using Facebook Connect, but Mashable has compiled a list of 10 Great Implementations of Facebook Connect. Ironcially, in 2010 your going to see MySpace on that list. They are fully integrating Facebook Connect into their website which is great news for those nonprofits utilizing MySpace.

For a complete audio and visual demonstration of beginner, intermediate and advanced Facebook strategies for nonprofits, please take the How Nonprofit Organizations Can Successfully Use Facebook Pages and YouTube webinar offered by DIOSA Communications (which is me!).

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27 Comments leave one →
  1. @Sue_Anne permalink
    December 8, 2009 10:47 pm

    These are great but more strategies need to be focused on how to engage fans once you get them and less on the fun bells and whistles.

    • nonprofitorgs permalink
      December 9, 2009 4:34 am

      Thanks @Sue_Anne. Well… I always say 90% of the power of Facebook Page is in the Status Updates. Facebook really doesn’t allow you to engage fans beyond that… only through Status Updates and Updates… the later which I don’t think people read much. “Discussions” don’t work at all and engagement via photo albums is a rarity. Facebook doesn’t allow one-on-one emails between nonprofit Page Admins and fans, or wall comments on Fans profiles by Page Admins… so in my webinars I always say despite all the bells and whistles on Facebook, it’s all in the Status Updates. And if a nonprofit isn’t getting “Thumbs Up” or “Comments”, then they need to be posting different content… and find their Facebook voice.

      There are ways to engage fans off Facebook if you can get them to surrender contact info, but FB really doesn’t have much of a toolset for engagement… beyond the Status Updates. FB really wants engagement to be passive… so nonprofits, brands, businesses, etc. don’t start spamming via wall comments, emails, etc… as is the case with MySpace and Twitter.

      The reality is I don’t think most nonprofits realize the engagement toolset is limited intentionally… and for good reason. Facebookers tend to like clean and neat… and passive marketing.

      For beginner and intermediate FB stuff, see my best practices:
      http://www.diosacommunications.com/facebookbestpractices.htm

      And thanks for the RT!

  2. December 9, 2009 11:50 am

    As always, Heather, this is really helpful–and I like that you’re honest about the fact that taking FB to the ‘next level’ is going to require some advanced technical skills (your fees seem imminently reasonable, I’d add), but that you also include some very low-tech ideas, like making sure that you include FB in your other communications–I’d add even on e-newsletters, and even hard-copy newsletters, too–redundancy seems to work here. Can I put in a new year’s wish list? I’d love to see more on nonprofits and mobile communications from you in 2010. It’s something that few NPOs with which I work seem to have even thought about, unlike social media in general, which is all the rage, but there are so many possibilities, not just for fundraising and outreach, but organizational operations, too. Thanks! And happy holidays!

    • nonprofitorgs permalink
      December 9, 2009 1:24 pm

      Thanks so much Melinda. I appreciate the feedback. Your wish is granted. This blog will focus quite a bit in 2010 (starting in January) on mobile tech. Right now most nonprofits do not have the time to wrap their heads around it or start something new… that’s why I am waiting until the New Year, but my blog post to do list on the subject of mobile tech is quite long. ENJOY the holidays!

      • December 15, 2009 10:39 am

        I’m really looking forward to your observations and recommendations for mobile tech in the non-profit space, Heather. If I had to focus on one issue that feels like a huge stumbling block to me, it would be providing an effective call to action to decision makers at non-profits about mobile technology. It feels like the beginning of the social media revolution all over again, complete with flabbergasted comments such as, “Mobile! I don’t know *when* we’ll get to *that*!” — as if it were some exotic animal you might pet if the zoo came to town.

        I can see this huge wave coming, and I want to be able to assist non-profits with this before suddenly we’re dashed against the rocks. I’ll definitely stay tuned!

  3. December 11, 2009 5:28 pm

    Love this!!! Glad to have found this blog. I look forward to reading more – as Melinda said above – about the blending of non-profits’ outreach and fundraising via mobile devices. Very interesting stuff.

    Thank you!

  4. December 19, 2009 8:30 pm

    Greta tips I found these very useful. I like your tips about adding a subscribe link to emails your email signature can be a really good way to get people to subscribe to facebook, twitter, rss feeds and more.

  5. Jennifer permalink
    December 23, 2009 2:43 pm

    Hi Heather! I find your information to be very helpful. Keep up the great work. I look forward to learning a lot more from you and reading your past posts. Thanks and Happy Holidays!

  6. December 29, 2009 10:45 am

    Thanks for sharing !

  7. January 16, 2010 1:38 pm

    Thanks for sharing these ideas. I started reading thinking that it’s unlikely there’d be anything I hadn’t done but the email signature is a great idea, probably the most obvious for marketing a facebook page. Thanks.

  8. January 22, 2010 8:09 am

    I learn a lot of thing with thsi post…
    Facebook seems more powerfull now !

  9. January 28, 2010 7:07 am

    Very interesting, thank you

  10. July 4, 2010 8:51 am

    One of the biggest features on Facebook is the photo. This social networking service is now a ‘host’ world’s largest online photo. This makes up for Facebook to develop their newest features are. Most recently, Facebook will introduce features automatic face detection.

  11. September 28, 2010 1:16 pm

    I thought it was funny how the article promotes all of these great ways to connect on facebook and so, after reading, I went to ‘share’ this post on Facebook and low and behold there is no Facebook ‘share’ button???

    I was so excited to share this on my facebook page:-)

    • nonprofitorgs permalink
      September 28, 2010 1:17 pm

      You can’t add Facebook “Share” buttons on WordPress.com blogs… just WordPress.org. 🙂

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