Should I be investing time in Facebook for my nonprofit?

What is Facebook today?

Today Facebook is a controlled way for people to connect with existing friends. Most users simply use Facebook to engage with people they already know.  Facebook is a relationship tool, it is not an advertising platform (today anyway). So if you are in the nonprofit space it is a great tool for you to use to spend time building connections and relationships.

So should you be investing time and effort in Facebook?

To truly determine how much time, if any, to invest in Facebook, you will need to know your donors/constituents. Do they use Facebook? How often? Do they use another social network more often? Has your nonprofit seen any benefits from being on Facebook? Look at your marketing strategy to see if your time and resources could be spent more effectively somewhere else.

To determine what your organization should do, you will need to determine what your goals are.  Do you want to build Facebook as a primary engagement tool or do you just want people to be able to find you if they look?

If you decide that your organization can benefit from Facebook, the following are some keys to making your efforts more efficient:

  • If you decide to invest in Facebook also invest in a measurement tool.  I recommend Sprout Social because it is easy to use and affordable.
  • Using your measurement tool, determine what information your donors love to see, read, and share!  For us, people love to hear about anniversaries.  The tool is truly about relationships, and that shows in our results.
  • Make it worth the visit; reward people for visiting your Facebook page.  This will make them want to visit more often.
  • Make certain resources only available on Facebook to encourage users to keep an eye on you.  For nonprofits, think about a special event for Facebook friends only.
  • Pictures, videos and articles are highly popular on Facebook. If possible, make sure every update includes an image or video.  Be sure and upload pictures during events and following events.  At your event make sure you announce that the photos taken will be on your Facebook page following the event.  Check out the Color Me Rad page for a great example.
  • Do not post every day. As a small nonprofit, you may only need to post once or twice a week.  Quality or quantity is the rule for sure.
  • Post when people are on Facebook. According to the Huffington Post, the best times to post are weekends by far, followed by evenings and early mornings.
  • Use the Promote button for your most important posts to push them to the top of the news feed. This does cost money, with the exact rate depending on your geographic location and how many users you wish to reach, but it can be worth it for advertising posts.

Take-away: For those nonprofits in the business of building relationships, Facebook is a great way to truly build engagement.

This post was modified from the original post for the nonprofit audience: http://smartblogs.com/social-media/2013/01/03/how-much-time-should-your-business-invest-facebook/

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