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Social Media 101: Using Facebook for Your Nonprofit

Community & Social Media

By: Corbin Hartwick, Techboomers.com

This post is part of TechBoomer’s Social Media 101 blog series. Check out the intro, Twitter, and Pinterest blogs to learn more about social media and how it can benefit your nonprofit.

What is Facebook?

Facebook is one of the world's largest and most functional social media websites. It allows people to connect with each other and then share ideas, activities, pictures, videos, Internet links, and more. Other people can leave feedback on what's shared, such as "likes", to show appreciation and comments to convey their personal thoughts about something. Facebook also allows for the creation and organization of groups and events. To learn more about Facebook check out these Facebook tutorials on Techboomers.com.

Why should I use Facebook for my nonprofit?

  1. Reach out to a broad user base, and even to niches

    A big advantage of Facebook is that it's not aimed at a certain demographic (e.g.the way LinkedIn caters to businesses and job-seekers). The sheer number of people who use Facebook means not only more potential visitors for your page on Facebook, but also the possibility that there are groups of Facebook users who are exactly whom you want to reach out to, even if your target audience is rather specific.

  2. Keep your followers in the loop with real-time updates

    Facebook's easy-to-use interface allows you to quickly update your brand's image with profile and cover photos, and broadcast the latest news on your group with its simple "Publisher" function. This is usually a simpler, faster, and more cost-efficient way to let your supporters know who you are and what you're up to than than, for example, doing a complete overhaul of your website.

  3. Involve your audience with interactive content

    Why just tell your audience what your nonprofit does when you can let them help you decide how to do it? Ask questions about your operations and encourage people to leave their suggestions as "comments", or get them to vote on options in "polls". Create and invite your supporters to "events", or hold promotions and other deals. You can do all of this on Facebook!

  4. Build a lasting, low-cost platform for your message

    Unlike a traditional advertising campaign, a Facebook page is inexpensive to deploy and maintain. This means that it can stick around for you to continually build on it, and potential supporters can continue to discover and engage with it.

9 tips on how to best use Facebook for your nonprofit

  1. Be patient: organic traffic is slow these days

    Facebook’s News Feed algorithm is more strict in gathering and displaying content for users than it was before. This means that being able to grow your social outreach on Facebook might take more time than it did previously. Though it may be frustrating to not see an immediate return on investment on this front, the key is to stay active on Facebook, and people will begin to notice your organization, and hopefully join your community.

  2. Keep things personal and engaging; your audience comes first

    Facebook is called a "social media" outlet for a reason. Your focus should be on building the loyalty of your followers -- and bringing in new ones -- by showing them posts that are interesting or relevant to them. Social media marketing experts recommend making 80% of your posts about audience engagement, and 20% about promoting your brand.

  3. Respond to feedback promptly

    Your followers will like your nonprofit more if you acknowledge them. Make sure to have at least one person in your organization whose job it is to respond to posts and comments that others make about you on Facebook. Ideally, this should be done within the hour, and never later than 24 hours. Of course, it's great if you can have multiple people in your nonprofit checking on Facebook and reaching out to potential supporters!

  4. Focus on new, original content

    Remember, there are many other individual users, businesses, and nonprofits on Facebook who are all competing for people's attention. The main way that your nonprofit is going to stand out is if its content is different. People won't have a reason to pay attention to you specifically if you're posting the same content as everyone else, or the same content over and over.

  5. Keep posts short and sweet

    Though you can do long-form posts on Facebook, it's generally better to limit a post to between 15 and 20 words, and direct people to your blog or website for any lengthier announcements. People generally don't concentrate on information online for that long, so drawn-out posts can lose their attention very quickly.

  6. Link to Facebook from your other media spaces

    There's probably going to be more information about your organization than what can be displayed through one social media channel. That's why it's important to link to your Facebook page from your website, email newsletters, and other social media pages, as well as the other way around. That way, your supporters have a choice of where to go, depending on how they want to get your message.

  7. Engage your audience with multimedia and calls to action

    Don't just tell people what you do as a nonprofit... show them with pictures and videos! Better yet, get them involved by asking people to leave "comments" as feedback, or answering "polls" to decide on options. Let people know what you're doing next by creating "events", and hold contests and promotions.

  8. Go easy on the post frequency

    We know that you really want to get your message out there, but people generally don't like it when you clog up their News Feed with overly-frequent posts. Try to stick to posting between 1 and 3 times per day, 1 to 4 times per week. Depending on your audience, you'll need to play with this guideline to see what works best.

  9. Imitate what successful campaigns do

    If you're stuck for ideas, don't be afraid to look at pages on Facebook for other famous brands and nonprofits. Hopefully, you'll see some patterns in what they do that you can mimic on your own page in order to drive traffic.

This concludes up our intro to Facebook for nonprofits. Be sure to check back for more posts in our “Social Media 101” series or read our intro to learn how your nonprofit can use social media to get its message out there.


About the Author:

Corbin Hartwick is the lead educational content writer at Techboomers.com, which is a free educational website that teaches older adults and others with limited computer skills how to use the most popular and trusted websites on the Internet.

About TechBoomers:
Techboomers.com is a free educational website that teaches older adults and others with limited computer skills how to use popular and trusted websites on the internet.