10 Tips for an Effective Nonprofit or Do-Good Facebook Fan Page

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If after asking yourself the 10 Questions to Get You Started Using Social Media for Your Nonprofit or Do-Good Project, you are wondering about a social networking strategy, a Facebook Fan Page might be right for you. 

A Facebook Fan Page gives your nonprofit or Do-Good causes a friendly url like http://www.facebook.com/your.organization.name; people can find you via google, and there's no limit to the number of people who can tell you how passionate they are about your organization.  And, what's even better, it doesn't take all that much time and effort to have a successful Facebook Fan Page.

Here's ten tips to make your Facebook Fan Page rock:  

1.  Setup: Page Name and URL Is Very Important In a couple of clicks and seconds, you can set up a Fan Page.  But take a few minutes to think about the name.  Keep your page name short and accurate, you can't change after you create it.    You will also get the opportunity to create a custom url or what Facebook calls a username.  Think carefully about that too. More here.

2. Setup:  Share the Work You can add an unlimited number of administrators on Fan Page, so why go it alone?   By sharing the workload, you'll be able to do more.  Here's more details about how to manage your Facebook Fan Page.  But be careful, don't make any of these common admin mistakes.

3.  Content:  Create An Inviting Welcome Page The default welcome page for your Facebook Fan Page is your wall.  But why welcome people with wall when you can have a more inviting welcome mat.  The easiest thing to do set the default welcome to your information page.  Make the information tab complete, accurate, and honest.   But, if you want a customized look and feel, there are tools, like Sprout, that allow you design an attention getting landing page on Facebook.   Take a look at - it was designed in Sprout - and has a clear call to action.  It doesn't require a lot of technical skill, but you need to have a good sense of design or know someone who does.

4.  Content:  Think Outside the Fan Page Template/Box Face it, the Facebook Fan Page layout get boring.  Why look like everyone else?   As mentioned above, you can use a tool like Sprout.  But there are also some simple and easy ways to hack the look and feel of your profile.  Here's some suggestions from All Facebook.

5.  Content:  Engaging Nuggets Work Best The more interactive your content is the better results you'll see.  The worst thing you can do with a page is dump an RSS feed into the Fan Page, people get bored with that and they don't engage.   It doesn't take a lot of time and effort to share links, photos, videos, or write a wall post that asks a question.  You want to engage people so they will like or comment on your content and their activity gets shared in their stream with their friends.   My strategy for my Facebook Fan Page, for example, is to share useful links about how nonprofits can use Facebook.  This takes me 5-10 minutes per day.

6.  Content:  Play Tag With Your Friends One of the most engaging and viral ways to share content is to post photos and tag people.  Now, you can only tag people who are your friends - and that's why it is useful to have a multiple administrators for your page.   The best way to get photos and videos of your fans is through hosting events.   For example, one organization took photos of people at offline event of people holding a sign with their message and then uploaded the photos into their Facebook Fan Page.  This is not a new technique, it's called the "hold a sign meme." 

7. Promote:  Use Badges and Fan Box Widgets To Promote Your Page Outside of Facebook If you're a page administrator, you'll notice a "add the Fan Box Widget" link.   This allows you to create a customized badge on your web site or blog that promotes your Facebook Fan Page.  This is a highly effective way to recruit more fans.  More from the Fan Box wiki.

8. Promote: Use Suggest To Friends Link The "Suggest to Friends" link is probably the single best way to recruit new people to your nonprofit's Facebook Fan Page. You and other administrators can do this, but you can also invite your fans to help.  You can even make it a contest or award prizes.

9. Applications:  Use them One of the benefits of having a Fan Page is that you can integrate Facebook applications.   Your Facebook Fan Page comes with six applications, including photos, video, discussion boards, notes, links, and events.   Pages get more interesting with you a variety of applications.   You'll want to include Causes and the Static FBML app.  There's lots more to discover in the Facebook’s Application Gallery.

10.  Metrics:  Use Insight to Get Insight The Facebook Fan Page comes with a metrics tool called Insight which measure engagement.  At the very list, it can help you figure out what content is most engaging to your fans. Here's some resources to learn more.

Beth Kanter, Blogher CE for Nonprofits, writes Beth's Blog and her Facebook Fan Page focuses on how nonprofits can use Facebook effectively.

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