Facebook for Nonprofits - Revisited
Photo by Andrew Feinberg on Flickr
Recently, Facebook updated their Organization Pages to be much more fully featured. These new pages now combine the viral nature of the Personal Profile with the functionality of an Organization Page (thanks to www.thekbuzz.com for that great description of the new Facebook Pages). The key new features of these Pages include:
- Multiple "tabs" for different types of information and customization
- "Status Updates" by the Organization that go directly to Fans' news feeds (increases the viral nature of the Facebook Page immensely)
These new features alone have forced us to reconsider our past thinking about Facebook Pages vs. Groups for an Organization's official presence. Now, Facebook Pages are clearly superior to Facebook Groups for engaging with constituents. (For a very detailed comparison of Facebook Groups and Pages, please download the document we've prepared on this subject.) That said, if you have a thriving community on a Facebook Group, it may not be worth trying to change to a Page - there is no easy way to do so and you could easily lose some of your constituents in the transfer. Consider the needs of your Organization and constituents before making that decision. Also, grass-roots created Groups on Facebook must not be ignored. These Groups are full of individuals who are excited about your Organization - you must continue to listen to them and engage them where they prefer to congregate on Facebook.
If you decide to implement a Facebook Page (or already have one but aren't sure how to maximize its effectiveness), this article from Diosa Communications specifies some best practices for managing your Facebook Page. Some highlights from the short article include:
- Allow as much interaction with Fans as possible. Some Organizations are tempted to set up the Page so that Fans can't post comments or Photos or Wall Posts because of a fear of what they might post. However, to truly take advantage of the interactivity available on Facebook, Fans should be allowed to communicate back to the Organization and with each other on a Page. Of course, the Page must be monitored consistently so that any inappropriate content is removed in a timely manner.
- Include "http://" before any links in your Updates. Otherwise, Fans will have to copy and paste the links to check them out. Make it as easy as possible for them to go where you are directing them!
- Ask questions via your "Status Updates" to engage your Fans. Of course, continuing the conversation when Fans respond is just as important.
Beth Kanter offers a lot more detail about setting up and maintaining a Facebook Page on her blog. She took notes from a recent NTEN Webinar on the subject. Check it out - Beth and NTEN have lots of great tips on nonprofit technology.
In our recent Webinar called Facebook: What Organizations Need to Know, we discussed the differences between Personal Profiles, Groups, and Pages. We also briefly showed how to create a new Page. The presentation and session recording are available on our website.
What issues are you currently confronting with Facebook? Do you have any tips to help maximize the effectiveness of Facebook? Let us know!