We keep hearing that nonprofit organizations are increasingly becoming social media powerhouses. It makes sense – platforms like Facebook and Twitter are free and wide open lines of communication directly to their communities, existing and potential donors, volunteers and supporters, and like-minded organizations and individuals. I am, frankly, shocked when I search for an organization’s Facebook page only to discover they do not yet have one! Get it together, unFaced organizations! Social media is without a doubt still a young phenomenon, but who can deny its tremendous potential? Whether for fundraising campaigns, event promotion, industry networking, or simply developing a voice and a presence in a crowded field, organizations need to put themselves out there.
Here at Zealous Good, we have an excellent perch from which to survey a wide array of nonprofits and observe how they use social media. We’ve noticed a few of our friends and partners using Facebook with particular savvy, capitalizing on applications and media to establish a colorful presence. Below are a few examples of nonprofits we like that are doing some stellar Facebooking.
A Dynamic Landing Page
Heading to the Open Books page lands you directly atop their Welcome mat. Their landing page is simple, clean, and contains in a small, well-organized space a wealth of information and links. In contrast to their General Info tab, the Welcome page informs visitors that they are an award-winning and self-sustaining organization that is looking for volunteers and is offering you a discount at their bookstore just for visiting the site. Excellent, right? Of course it is! And they make it extremely easy to spread the word to your friends.
A landing page allows you to introduce your organization in your own voice, and provides more flexibility than a general info template to reach and engage your audience. From here, I can sign up to volunteer, read the latest news on the Open Books blog, and get myself a few bucks off my next book purchase.
Learn how to create your organization’s Facebook landing page here!
The NPR Facebook page utilizes the Questions application which, for those of us who are not shy with our “Hide User” button are aware, can be used for the wildly inane as much as sincere and productive engagement. NPR does it right, however: the question is broad enough to invite all fans to answer, not just those who may have caught a specific story; it is simply and clearly stated; and most importantly, it indicates a genuine desire on the organization’s part to know and serve their audience.
I’ve seen other nonprofits ask questions that inspire more levity from its fans as well, which I think can be a terrific way to give a warm conversational voice to an organization’s page. Consider what kind of information your specific audience might want to give you, and ask the question that gives them the opportunity to do so!
This is a no brainer. Your organization has an upcoming event or new program? Absolutely you must advertise that on Facebook! But with so many event invites, status updates, and high school classmates’ musings on his most recent meal, how do you set yours apart on the standard, overcrowded newsfeed?
Photos. People. Love. Photos. Do like the Chicago Children’s Museum, and don’t be afraid to capitalize on our rampant nostalgia. When I saw this photo, the 7-year old inside of me screamed “I LOVE LEGOS!” and the adult outside of me read the text and thought, “I LOVE FACTS AND LEGOS AND ALSO MUSEUMS!”
Think of the average attention span. Now consider the average attention span on Facebook – you have a split second to stop someone from scrolling right past your update; including a visual improves your chances at capturing your audience’s attention. Keep the text engaging (interesting facts or statistics, questions, sentences that a real human being would say) and don’t forget why you’re doing this – to promote your programs. I learned that I am among 400 million other people – including adults – who will play with Legos this year! I am a part of something greater than myself! And now I am definitely stopping by the museum to check out the spectacularly-named exhibit.
How does your organization use Facebook? What are some of the more unique or engaging ways you’ve seen your favorite nonprofits interact there?