Let’s be frank.
If you are a nonprofit organisation that engages with humans, then Facebook should be a serious part of your organisation’s strategy.
Why? Well, for a start:
- There are over 12 million Australians using Facebook every month, and
- A whopping 9 million of us are checking Facebook every day – that’s almost 40 per cent of the Australian population.
If you don’t think you could benefit from a slice of that action – stop reading my blogs – because I’m all about securing long-term financial sustainability – and that means engaging with the masses.
Full disclosure – I’m a huge fan of what a well-executed Facebook strategy can bring to a nonprofit. But Facebook is not a magic wand. It is not something you can gain knowledge of spontaneously without effort, and like so many other things in life, it works on the fundamental rule that the more you put into it, the more you get back.
Facebook is a tool. And like any tool it is only as good as the person who wields it. A poor tradesman will blame the tool. A smart one will learn when to use it, why to use it and how to use it to maximum effect. It is not rocket science – but it is a skill, and you need to make the effort to learn how to do it well.
Fortunately, there are a lot of things you can do to improve your performance on Facebook. Many of them take little time and negligible money. Some will require a modest investment in time and money in order to achieve the desired return.
So, if you are ready to make the commitment to getting serious about Facebook, then read on, and let’s get to work.
We’ll start at the very beginning, with four basic blunders & the accompanying fast fixes, and then build your Facebook credentials from there.
Basic Blunder #1: Not being on Facebook
To paraphrase Woody from Toy Story: “A Facebook Page. If you don’t have one – get one.”
You need to be on the platforms your supporters and potential supporters care about – and for almost everyone, that means Facebook. While people may go to your website in the first instance as the source of initial information about who your organisation is, and what it does, they will look to social media (especially Facebook) as the way to stay up to date with the cause you are championing – all from the comfort of their Newsfeed.
Here is the Facebook guide on creating a page. If you have any troubles, just post questions to the comments section at the bottom of the blog, and I'll get back to you.
If you already have this in hand (or you are primed to get it sorted) – read on.
Basic Blunder #2: A Profile not a Page
If you are currently using a Profile, rather than a Page for your organisation – fix it now. Back in the old, antiquated days before the Page option existed, organisations who were looking for a presence on Facebook had no choice but to set up a Profile for their organisation, but those days have long gone.
If you are not sure if you have a Profile or a Page, go to your organisation’s homepage on Facebook, if it says ‘Friends’ you have a Profile. If it says ‘Likes’ you have a Page.
If you still have a Profile for your organisation, there are many reasons why you should make this change – today. Here are just four of them:
1. You are violating the Facebook user agreement
Profiles are for individual people. They must be held under an individual persons actual name and cannot be used for organisations. If you are using a Profile account for an organisation you risk Facebook disabling the account, and permanently losing access to all its content, including your ‘friends’.
Facebook has a way to help convert a Profile to a Page. Don’t wait – check it out now if this applies to you.
2. You’re missing out on the metrics
There is a wealth of data and metrics that are available (free) for organisations as part of the Pages functionality. If you are going to get serious about Facebook – you are going to need them. In the coming months I’ll be helping nonprofits understand how to make the most of these metrics. If you don’t have a Page – you just won’t have the data you need.
3. You’re missing out on supporters (& it’s ethically questionable)
Being someone’s friend on Facebook, via a Profile account, gives you access to do things that you only want a friend to do, like tagging you in photos and posting on your timeline. These aren’t things that pages can do – as a way of protecting the privacy of people who Like a Page – but aren’t people’s mates.
As a result, a lot of people who would otherwise like your Page, won’t befriend your Profile, and so you are missing out on the chance to engage with supporters.
Numbers aside, I also just find it need-to-take-a-shower-ethically-questionable to be asking people you don’t know to befriend you personally in order to follow your organisation. Switch to a Page and reclaim your virtue.
4. You are missing out on accessing Facebook Ads.
You might not care about this at the moment, because the word advertising might send your nonprofit-poverty-mentality into convulsions, and/or you might not know much about it – but Facebook offers Page owners the ability to purchase Facebook Ads, which are incredibly well targeted for very low investments. We’ll be talking about this in coming months – but you definitely want the option to access them.
Basic Blunder #3: Not deleting old accounts
If you originally had a profile account for your nonprofit, and then created a Page without doing the official 'transfer', then your old profile might still be floating around out there. It's not a good look. If people go to that link instead of your current Page they are likely to find old and outdated information - a pet peeve of social media lovers.
If you are certain you will never use that old profile again (and why would you if you have moved everything to a Page) you can ask Facebook to permanently delete that account. If you think you might have some 'friends' there who have still not converted to your Page, you might like to send a final message redirecting them before deleting. For more information on deleting an account head to
Basic Blunder #4: Hiding your website URL
Facebook is great for engaging supporters, keeping them involved, building those relationships and encouraging people to invest time and/or money in your mission. But – we also want to guide them to your website. The place with a ridiculously clear and enticing donate button. The place where you organisations contact details are just one click away.
Go have a look at your Page. If you can’t immediately see your website URL in the About section (below the profile image) – then you are missing the most important opportunity to drive people to your website.
You need to ensure your URL is up the top of the ‘About’ section on your organisation’s Page. If I have to click something open to get down to the URL – that’s a fail. This is a very easy thing to fix, and it will help your web address to be front and centre on your page – helping to feed supporters through to those Donate buttons (as well as all the other relevant information you have there).
Here are some examples of nonprofits doing it right and getting their URL into the ‘About’ preview.
So that’s the list for the week.
As a final piece of blatant self-promotion I am excited to announce that I will be conducting a dedicated all-day workshop on Thursday 20th February 2014 entitled Facebook for Nonprofits. It is specifically tailored for nonprofit organisations, and will empower nonprofit staffers, leaders and volunteers by taking them from the basics through to the more advanced skills they can use straight away to enhance their performance on Facebook.
A very special Early Bird (New Year's) special is in place for a limited time - offering 50% off the standard price. The attendance has been capped at 30 to maximise time for individual questions and attention, so book quickly to avoid missing out.
If you know an organisation or individual who might benefit from attending, please share the event with them.
To find out more please visit:
Shout Out: This shout out goes to Meagan from beckersher.tumblr.com for her outstanding image of Sheriff Woody, and to Act for Kids, the Kurrawa Surf Club, The Royal Flying Doctor Service, QMusic and Greenpeace from whom I lovingly borrowed snaps of their excellent URL prominance.