For many organizations, Facebook is a key element of an effective social media. Over the past six months Facebook Fan pages have grown rapidly in popularity, and have helped many groups more effectively share their messages, and better engage with their constituents. This is not a surprise. Facebook has 350 million active users and half log-in on a daily basis. Instead of trying to create a space where your constituents will engage with you, go to a place and create a presence to join them!
Large companies like Dell, Microsoft, and Coca Cola use Fan pages to connect with their customers, solicit feedback on products, and build more brand loyalty. Non profit organizations also find great value in Facebook Fan pages. They are a free and easy way to engage in a dialogue with constituents, conduct fundraising, and recruit volunteers. Some examples of great non profit Facebook Fan pages are the One Campaign, the Livestrong Campaign, and UNICEF. Regardless of what type of organization you work for, Facebook Fan pages really excel in helping groups “listen” to what their stakeholders have to say. This feature not only adds value to the people your organization is serving (because their voices are being heard), but it helps your organization be smarter about how it conducts its work.
Is your organization ready for a Facebook Fan Page? Here are several reasons why you might want to consider a foray into the most popular social network:
1. Extending your organization’s presence
Most organizations have web sites, but Facebook provides a great platform for your constituents to “Fan” the work that you do, keep up-to-date on the latest news, sign-up for events, and let their friends know they support your work. Your audience might not visit your web site everyday, but they probably are logging into Facebook to connect with their friends. This is a great opportunity to catch their attention and stay on their mind.
2. Hosting conversations
By far, this is the most important part of social media and Web 2.0, and Facebook Fan Pages really excels at this! Where Web 1.0 was read-only, Web 2.0 is a read-write web. This means you should be using social media to engage your audience in a conversation about what matters most to your organization. With a Facebook Fan Page, you can ask people their opinions, highlight other thought leaders and ask people to comment, and allow users to freely post their thoughts about your work and the issues that are important to your organization. Make sure your Facebook settings allow people to post content to your page!
3. Viral sharing of interesting/unusual items
One of the greatest assets of social media is the fact that it’s really easy to share. Posting interesting items on your Facebook Fan page will encourage your Fans to not only read your content, but share it with their friends. Also, any time they comment on your Facebook Fan Page or “Like” one of the items in your feed, that behavior will appear in their Facebook profile feed, where all of their friends can see. The more often they engage with your Fan page, the more often you’ll be visible to their friends.
4. Extending thought leaders’ personal networks
Many organizations work hard to raise the visibility of their leaders. Facebook Fan Pages are a great place to highlight your organization’s thought leadership and promote events that your organization’s leaders are involved in.
5. Targeting and communicating with users by demographics, interests, geography
Creating a Facebook Fan Page lets you better target your audience with communications. When people become your “Fan” on Facebook, you can then send out emails to several at once. You can segment your fans by demographics, interests and geography, and send different messages to different types of users. It can come in handy when you’re trying to connect with a specific group of people around a specific topic or event.
If you’d like to learn more about Facebook Fan pages and how to set one up for your organization, here are some great links to get you started: