Is your organisation making the best use of Facebook's new Page features to grow your supporter base and nurture a community?

Facebook is the homepages of 2011. TV ads feature the Facebook addresses for their products, BBC regional news promote their social media pages alongside the Corporation’s own web address. Over 630 million people use Facebook worldwide, including half the UK population. Can your organisation afford not to?

In February 2011, Facebook rolled out improvements to their Pages, allowing companies and charities to better manage communications with their supporters, express their brands, and increase engagement.

Nonprofits can take advantage of a number of these changes to build a community by engaging with existing supporters and finding new ones.

Pages as profiles

Pages look like profiles, so their layout will be more familiar to your supporters. They’ll know where to find your photos and videos, how to post to your wall and how to share your links, because they already do it with their friends.

If you had a Facebook Page before March 2011, your top tabs will now have moved into the left-hand menu, so make sure that the photo or graphic you chose for your page isn’t too long, causing your menu to move off the bottom of the screen.

Custom landing tabs

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People usually see your Wall first, which can be daunting for a new, potential supporter. It’s also less easy for you to control the message, since there may be many diverse comments, viewpoints and discussions highlighted there.

Use custom landing tabs to introduce the organisation to a new visitor, before they get involved in discussions or posting to your wall. Take the opportunity to highlight your work, your outcomes and the difference you make to society.

You have much more design freedom within custom pages, and can use your own branding, colours and design features to make your pages stand out. You can set up multiple custom pages with different functions to go beyond the simple social networking experience of photos, videos and discussions.

Take a look at examples of distinctive custom Facebook Pages designed by some of the biggest charities.

Featured photos

Organisations can now make use of a band of featured photographs along the top of their page.

The images you feature can be chosen specifically to represent your organisation so will need attention to convey the right image. You may be proud of of your CEO’s meeting with the Prime Minister, but will it excite your audience?

Photos are a great way to involve and celebrate your volunteers and supporters. Encourage them to take photographs at events and use the best ones to highlight how fun and diverse your fundraising activities are.

Remember that people receive information in different ways. Some may read your “Info” page while others might prefer to get their information through short videos or in photographs, so make sure the nature of your organisation and its activities are well-represented in your featured photos.

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Remember that if you’re tagged in any images, these appear in your page thumbnails too, so be alert to any potential abuses by competitors or detractors!

Featured likes

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Choose up to five other pages you “Like” and display them on your page. This is a great opportunity to help promote complimentary organisations, general pages about the cause you support or other Facebook Pages you manage.

Consider what other Facebook Pages might be of interest to your supporters. A vegetarian organisation may want to feature other pages which promote vegetarianism, or which encourage supporters to buy locally produced vegetables.

Don’t just automatically link to your funders or partners – you only have five featured likes, so make them count!

“Use Facebook as Page”

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There’s no more need to mix business and pleasure on Facebook. Separate your online identities by using Facebook either as yourself, or your organisation.

Raise some brand awareness for your organisation by joining relevant groups, get involved in discussions and comment on other pages, using your organisation’s name and avatar. Not only will this help you be seen in all the right places, but you’ll be participating and making a real contribution to your community.

For further information about Facebook Pages, take a look at:

Want to know what Facebook can do for you?

If you have a Facebook Page which isn’t living up to expectations, or if you’d like to get onto Facebook but have no idea where to start, contact us for advice.

Reason Digital News