July 12, 2010

Facebook 101 for nonprofits

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Here’s a simple guide to getting started in 5 easy steps

Target audience: Nonprofits, social change organizations, businesses, educators, citizen publishers, individuals. This is part of Creating Media, our ongoing series designed to help nonprofits and other organizations learn how to use and make media.

Guest post by Azin Mehrnoosh
Founder, HiDef

Facebook isn’t just a potential market that many nonprofits haven’t yet tapped. It’s also a place for real-time personal conversation and feedback from your constituents. You shouldn’t treat it trivially, but you shouldn’t be afraid of it, either.

Many posts emphasize the need to get started on Facebook and offer a long list of tips. Those lists can be quite daunting, so in this post we’ll help you get up and running from ground zero — nice, easy and simple.

To start off, you should already have a personal Facebook account and be logged in. Don’t worry, you’re not going to share any of your personal information. Facebook just needs an administrator for your organization’s new Facebook Page, and you can do that via your personal account. You can add other administrators later.

Now, if you’re already familiar with Facebook for personal use, you’ll quickly notice how similar creating a Page for your organization is to your own Facebook profile. Most of the functions — like uploading pictures, posting updates, updating your organizational bio — are almost exactly the same.

Let’s get started!

Create an official Page

1For this step, navigate to http://www.facebook.com/page.

Note: Don’t create a “Community page.” Those are used for creating communities around ideas that don’t necessarily represent anything tangible.

Select your page type, give it the name of your organization, click the terms and conditions checkbox, and click “Create Official page.” It’s that simple.

Create a Facebook page

Now you’ll do some configuration before you promote it to the world.

Upload a logo or image for your organization

2Make sure you have your logo or a clearly identifiable branding image that your potential Facebook fans will be able to draw lasting connections with. It’s important that this image match up with your website and even print materials. Photos of people are often more effective than a logo — sometimes you can incorporate the logo at the bottom of the image.

Put your mouse over the big gray “?” image and click “Change Picture.” Upload your logo or image by selecting one of the upload options.

Upload a  logo or organizational image

Enter your organization’s bio and mission

3You’ll need to make sure to update the organization details under the “info” tab. Write a well-crafted and concise bio of your organization and put it in the Company Overview box. Facebookers like short, sweet and fun, and the more you deliver on that in your overview and bio, the better.

When you’re done updating your organizational information, click “Done Editing.”

Update your  organization’s bio and mission

Note: Jill’s Habitat for Horses isn’t real, but if you’re a horse enthusiast and your name is Jill, you now have a stellar concept for a nonprofit.

Invite friends

4With these basic steps accomplished you can start adding people. This process works the same way as getting people to sign up for an event or any other “suggest to friends” workflow on Facebook. You’ll find the “Suggest to Friends” link in the left sidebar beneath your image.

The key here is to get at least 25 people to Like your Page — that’s the magic number that will allow you to register your own unique Facebook URL, like facebook.com/jillshorses, rather than facebook.com/pages/Jills-Habitat-for-Horses/115950995087518. The former is much easier to market on websites and print media. To get to 25, a true friend’s recommendation goes a long way, so take advantage of the “viral” nature of the network!

Invest time in posting regular, quality content

5facebook-appsUpload some photos, start posting news and events, and get engaged as soon as possible. At minimum, commit to posting and interacting with your fan base at least once a day. One day could be a simple text post — a unique stat, a bold statement, a question. The next day could be a photo.

There are also many applications and features that you can start deploying on your Facebook Page to help with engagement, so start trying some out.

The key is to stay engaged

We can’t speak enough to the need for nonprofits to stay engaged in their Facebook Pages. The more you post and update, the better your chances of engaging your constituents on a deeper and ongoing level. Eventually, your fans will want to come to your Page to get the latest scoop about your organization, events and other goodies about you, like how to donate!

Those are the basics. At a later date you can start fine-tuning your Page by reworking the tabs at the top of the page and by customizing the left sidebar. But don’t worry about that for now.

There are so many other things you can do to give your Facebook Page the best chance at success. So get going!

HiDef Web Solutions Azin Mehrnoosh is founder of HiDef, a top-tier team that creates Web solutions for great causes.

How to set up a Facebook Page — screencast (Socialbrite)

Facebook tutorials: Plug-ins, Facebook Insights & more (Socialbrite)

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One thought on “Facebook 101 for nonprofits

  1. This is another useeful guide to assist my campaign. This is teh Big Society, whcih can be used to make a difference.