Facebook Marketing For Non Profits, Social Media To Leverage Social Causes!

Sep 21, 2011 | 4,469 views | by Navneet Kaushal
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In continuation of our Facebook Marketing series, here is part 3. You can also check Part 1: Beginner's Guide To Facebook Marketing! and Part 2: Facebook Marketing Tips For Small Businesses!. As a non-profit organization or an event or a cause you must harness the exposure you can get from Facebook. What better platform for a social cause to promote itself than a social networking site! Facebook has the resources and the potential to make your promotional campaign go viral. If you have not yet explored the power of a 750 million user base platform, then your cause is probably losing out on a substantial amount of donations or followers.

Does Facebook Really Work For Non Profits?
What do the numbers say? What do the non profits have to share regarding their experience on Facebook? All these questions and more were answered in a recent study conducted by Idealware.

This is what the survey has revealed:

  • 53% of non-profits have a page on Facebook and update their profiles regularly.
  • 80% of these think that Facebook is effective in building new relationships and gathering new supporters.
  • 70% of the non profits on Facebook noted a rapid and significant increase in referral traffic to their websites.
  • 29% of the respondents said that donations went up after using Facebook.

So, non profits and causes, just like you are on Facebook and benefiting from it right now, as we speak. This is what you will stand to gain from marketing on Facebook.

How Will Facebook Marketing Benefit You?
Having a Facebook presence can pitch your cause to the right audience but wait, there is more-

  • Benefit # 1- Facebook is huge. It is effective at global level-regional level as well as local level. Where ever your audience. You can reach them.
  • Benefit # 2- Facebook has several tools with which you can build conversations and comments. Let people know about your work, create a buzz about it and engage people to support your cause.
  • Benefit # 3- Your supporters share your concerns and are enthusiastic about the cause. This will result in you getting the donations to further your charity.
  • Benefit # 4- With Facebook once you make an initial impact, the rest of the task is done by word of mouth. The platform has the tools to let your followers spread and share your message themselves.

You can leverage and market through word of mouth. Yes, your content can be shared so fast on the platform going from 1–> 10–>100–>10000–>100,000

The sharing options on Facebook ensures that. If one person shares your cause, then their friends see that activity, and they could share it futher and this can go on as a chain reaction.

What Has Facebook Done To Aid Non Profits?
Facebook has launched a new resource center, that has been set up to help and support non profits organizations and charities. Non-Profits on Facebook is like a wholesome guide provided by Facebook to help social causes leverage social media. It has tutorials, open discussions, and educational materials with which a non profit can market their cause and raise funds via Facebook. It teaches you a lot, but if you are looking for a precise and quick guide, then continue reading.

Facebook Marketing Guide For Non Profits-
Follow these steps to to ensure that you have a Facebook strategy to promote your cause well on the social network.

1. Know Your Target Audience
This is a basic step that is a must for any marketing plan and it can't be any different for non profits. So, if you are looking for good donations, or volunteers, you must target that age group- the demographics and the income bracket.

2. Define Your Goals
The next step is to define your objectives. What do you exactly want to achieve from Facebook, this answer should be precise and ready, when you set out on a marketing plan. Some of the general goals that may apply to your cause too are-

  • Get traffic to your website
  • Get donations for your cause
  • Reduce Marketing Costs
  • Form rock solid relationships with benefactors
  • Expand your supporter base. Get more LIKES on your page
  • Get people to sign up for your newsletters and other material
  • Get volunteers for a local event
  • Organize a promotional/awareness event

It just does not end with setting up these broad parameters, you must narrow it down to numbers. You must have the figures you want to achieve be it the amount of donation or the percentage of costs reduced. For example your goal can be increase referral traffic by 40%.

3. Create A Facebook Page
First of all you must create a Facebook Page about your non profit organization. It must clearly state who you are and what you do. For more on creating a Facebook page, see here (link to FB for beginners).

Causes- It is recommended that you use causes. It is an app specially designed to help Facebook users being available for a social cause right there on Facebook. With this application you can tell friends about causes, ask for donations and spread awareness. You can create an advocacy group on Causes and as an administrator you can post announcements and communicate with members via email and Facebook notifications.
4. Managing The Page
It is easy to do so, but please do not duplicate what’s already on your web site on Facebook. This will hamper your chances of making a connect with people on this platform. It is a social platform and you must create Facebook- specific content to build your community. You need to be interesting to keep your users engaged.

Be Informative-
Do not blow your own horn continuously. Tell people something else. Just printing your press releases on Facebook will not help. What you need is to give people more food for thought. For instance, see the Red cross landing page. It provides useful, interesting and related links from disaster news from all over the world.

Non Profit American Red Cross e1316601375779 Facebook Marketing For Non Profits, Social Media To Leverage Social Causes!

The approach of this page is global, obviously due to the nature of the cause, but the idea is to provide interesting content to people that will bring them closer to the cause.

If you want an example from a more local level, then have a look at this page of Perkins School For the Blind in Massachusetts. It is a local level non profit and uses the platform to connect to people and garner their support. See, how it promotes its cause.

Non Profit Perkins1 Facebook Marketing For Non Profits, Social Media To Leverage Social Causes!

So, basically, you have to use your Facebook page to tell people-

  • What you do
  • How you do it
  • What are the events you hold
  • Where can they contact you
  • How can they donate to the cause
  • How can they volunteer

Have clear information on the above and clear call to actions for your goals like donations or volunteers.

Engage The Users
Invite the users to say something-share their feelings and observations. You must post regularly. Your status updates must be interesting and relevant to the users and the cause. See for example, one of the most popular non profit pages, the Livestrong page. It is a cancer fighting organization that was founded by athlete and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong. It uses the page to interact with followers and share news, updates and also important information.

Non Profit Livestrong e1316601835734 Facebook Marketing For Non Profits, Social Media To Leverage Social Causes!

See, how the administrator interacts with the fans. They reply to their queries or comments or even refer them to cancer resources. This makes the user feel important and they are encouraged to take the word further about the cause. You must encourage the visitors to share, ask and converse, knowing that they will be heard and responded to. If you’re trying to build a community on Facebook that requires conversation, the you must talk back. Tell them you are there and that you appreciate the users' presence.

See for example the Make a wish foundation UK, uses the platform to connect to more users and spread awareness about their cause. They respond to donations made and help given in a very polite and prompt manner.

Non Profit Make A Wish e1316602032559 Facebook Marketing For Non Profits, Social Media To Leverage Social Causes!

Be Captivating
You have to make sure that your visitors keep coming to your page. Keep interacting and spreading your word. For this you have to be innovative in your approach to be interesting to the users. Post exciting pictures/ videos, that will engage the users' imagination and will encourage them to comment and participate. For instance, see the PETA page on Facebook. How they have added funny videos about animals being weird, at the same time highlighting a major problem about the modes of transporting animals.

Non Profit PETA e1316602181204 Facebook Marketing For Non Profits, Social Media To Leverage Social Causes!

See how they have also posted about a new book on the cause. The idea is to entertain-inform and educate.

Facebook is a social network and communication is at the core of social networks. See what Facebook has to say about marketing for non profits.

5. Monitoring Your Success
Keeping a track of what you are doing and how it is affecting your goal is necessary. On Facebook you have to measure the feedback you have been getting in your social networking conversations. You can measure with the aid of metrics and also manually.

The Metrics
There are metrics available that will allow you to measure traffic, conversions, landing page hits and more. The main three tools are:

  • Facebook Insights: This tells you the details of user growth and demographics, consumption of content, and creation of content. You can analyze the metrics to judge which direction to take further.
  • Google Analytics: The data provides by Google Analytics on a self hosted blog/site will tell you the referrals you are getting from Facebook. You could measure hits to landing pages and whether people are then going to the registration page and converting.
  • AllFacebookStats.com: This is a paid set up, where the entry package providing an entry level statistics is free. But the other premium paid packages starting from $69 a month provide greater detail over longer time frames.

You can get data for-

  • Fans
  • Post Quality
  • Interactions per post
  • Likes
  • Comments
  • Wall posts
  • Page views
  • Unique page views
  • Photo views
  • Brand exposures

If you are getting no response or worse- negative response, you need to change your strategy pronto!

The Takeaway
As a non profit, establishing new relationships and expanding the supporter base is a huge undertaking. That is why, you must have a promotional strategy including social media tools to ensure that the efforts are successful. The audiences are largely online. And offline marketing techniques are not that effective. That is why, non profits need to use Facebook to gather support and harness aid. Lastly, don’t forget to integrate with your traditional marketing efforts to better your success rates.

Checkout part 4 of our series – Facebook Marketing Tips For Promoting Hotels And Restaurants On Facebook!.

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Navneet Kaushal

Navneet Kaushal is the founder and CEO of PageTraffic, an SEO Agency in India with offices in Chicago, Mumbai and London. A leading search strategist, Navneet helps clients maintain an edge in search engines and the online media. Navneet's expertise has established PageTraffic as one of the most awarded and successful search marketing agencies.
4.thumbnail Facebook Marketing For Non Profits, Social Media To Leverage Social Causes!
4.thumbnail Facebook Marketing For Non Profits, Social Media To Leverage Social Causes!