facebook for nonprofits

This week is we’re devoting the entire week to focusing on Facebook as a core social media marketing platform for nonprofits that you can’t ignore because of its pre-donor acquisition, donor involvement and fundraising potential. Facebook has grown in popularity and made some key strategic choices that increase advantages for nonprofits. But Facebook (or FB as the insiders call it) isn’t easy to master or use well. In fact my frustrations using Facebook are the basis for this series. Today we begin with a Q&A between Hoots and me on a couple of Facebook basics (this is a completely unrehearsed blog post–I wrote my part and she answered–no editing tricks were used).facebook logo

OK Hoots, I’ve been the CEO of an international ministry, successfully done a business start-up and deliver killer strategy to all sorts of nonprofits BUT I can’t figure out how to use Facebook professionally. Here’s what I know about Facebook that makes it the strategic platform that most nonprofits should utilize:

1. Facebook has an amazing growth curve in a critically important demographic…more and more people who fit the profile of donors are spending tons of time on Facebook. That’s a big deal for a nonprofit. It isn’t just kids hanging out on Facebook anymore.

2. Facebook is driven by relationship connections. People are talking with each other about everything about their life. In just the last week on Facebook I’ve heard from friends I haven’t talked to in years; I’ve learned about a ministry I didn’t know before; I’ve read a new blog; I’ve promoted a friend’s open house for their home sale; on and on. Bottomline: Facebook friends connect each other with their lives.

3. Facebook is a terrific integration tool that allows you to connect all of your social media platforms plus you gain some SEO (Search Engine Optimization) advantages and audience targeting opportunities.

But, I have no idea how to use Facebook well professionally–and it really frustrates me.

Here are my starting questions:

1. How do I maintain an image as a professional on Facebook (OK, no cracks about what my image really is) and still have a personal life on Facebook?

Hoots: As with all social media strategies, you have some choices to make. How much do you want to overlap your work with your personal life? How much do you want to share about your personal life? That said remember these things:
– These are your friends. Treat them the way you’d want to be treated.
– Make a friending policy. Some people only friend people they KNOW. Others only friend people if they write a personal message in the friend request. Some people friend anyone who asks. Make a policy that works for you and follow it.
– Monitor your profile privacy settings. The defaults are wide open. How much do you want people on Facebook to see? How much do you want the whole world to see?
– Monitor your application privacy settings. Every time you install an application, confirm the privacy settings are what you want them to be for that application. Nothing wrong with playing games or taking quizzes, but do you really want everyone to know you did. You may even lose some friends if you bombard them with all the results of your extracurricular activities.
– Only share as much as you are comfortable with the world knowing about you. (No matter how private you are, one of your friends can copy anything you say to them electronically and tell the “world.”)
-Become a fan; join a group or a cause. Find organizations you like and join their fan page or group.
– If you choose to significantly overlap your personal and professional self, be congruent and respectful. Don’t be one personality professionally and someone completely different personally. You’ve heard the stories about people losing jobs or other consequences far worse because of photos or comments posted on Facebook.

2. How do I do have time to do this? I don’t have enough time now and I know I’m not using FB well.

Hoots: Some people literally set a timer so they don’t get lost. Some have a checklist and they login, complete the items on their list and logoff. Just be disciplined so you don’t get overwhelmed. You need to do what works for you. In saying that, here’s what should be done on a consistent schedule:
– Update your status. Ask a question designed to inspire conversation with your friends. Include a link to an interesting blog post or book you are reading. Invite them into the world of your nonprofit. Share an accomplishment you are proud of.
– Engage in conversation with your friends. Comment on or “like” their status. Write something new on their wall. Tell them how you something you saw, read, ate, heard reminded you of them.
– Be a fan. Engage with these fan pages or groups in the same way you engage with your friends. Tell your friends why you support these organizations.

Hoots: Joining the corporate world with our real lives is the very best part of the social media relationship that can be found in Facebook. It’s an exciting adventure and worth the risk.

It’s good job Monday and we’re giving a shout-out to one of our friends and partners who is veritable force in the online and social media world. “Good job Michelle Tjelmeland of e-websmart.com” Michelle is the real deal–she delivers great strategy and the best in technical design. Whether she’s creating a unique social media marketing plan or a website or a fully integrated marketing campaign, Michelle takes her clients to what is really the next level. Michelle has also launched a new 4-in-1 communications company called Alerts Made Easy, an innovative approach to communicating any message to any list. Plus, Michelle started her own foundation, Cochlear Implant Awareness Foundation, to help families with resources and information about cochlear implants. We stand amazed at the work Michelle and her team do. Good job Michelle Tjelmeland!!!

Do your part today, tell someone who made last week great for you that they did a good job.

How about you, how are you using Facebook? Do you share any of my frustrations about how to use it well?

Steve Thomas
Partner, Oneicity

Picture of Steve Thomas

Steve Thomas

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