By far the most frequent question that I get from nonprofits is:
How do we get more fans on our Facebook page?
What this really means is – how do we get new people to look at our Page and enjoy it enough to click like?
I often explain that the sheer number of fans is not what is important – getting the right fans to connect with your page is much more effective.
Continually growing a community of Facebook fans is important to a long-term online marketing strategy. Here are just 12 ways to get more fans on your nonprofit Facebook page.
1) Create shareable stuff. This is the #1 rule of growing an online community. The key to getting new people to see your content is to get the people who already like your Page to share it. Engagementis good (likes, comments) but sharing is better. Encourage your current fans to share your posts with their networks and you will connect with like-minded people and grow your fan base.
2) Post consistently. Nothing can build up your following more quickly than consistent posts. Not all of your fans are online at the same time so not all of them will see each post.
3) Ask for help. Write the words Share and Spread the Word in your Facebook posts. People are busy, and they are also inundated with hundreds of posts each day (if they login each day). Telling them clearly and concisely what you want them to do – Share the great work we are doing! – will increases engagement and help you reach new people.
4) Like other Pages as your Page. This is a great way to get exposure and to make community partners aware of your presence on Facebook. When viewing a Facebook Page that is not yours, click the dropdown menu (see below) and choose Like As Your Page. Be strategic about this and make sure that you have proper approval to connect with these pages – a Like can be construed as an endorsement.
5) Engage as your Page. This means using Facebook as your Page (click on the gear icon in the top right when logged in to Facebook; then choose the Page you want). Once you are using Facebook as a Page, you can like posts, comment on posts and share posts from other Pages. This creates community, good karma and encourages other Page Admins to check you out also.
7) Ask supporters. Make sure you have harvested the low-hanging fruit. Hold a staff meeting and have everyone pull out their phones and Like the Page; also do this at a Board meeting or volunteer training session. Ensure that all staff members and volunteers are directly asked to share at least one Facebook post per month (or per week) with their personal Facebook networks.
8) Hold a Facebook contest. I only encourage nonprofits to hold a Facebook contest if it makes sense and is relevant to the organization. If you are giving away an iPad and your nonprofit has nothing to do with technology, then you will simply be collecting fans that only care about the iPad. For more on Facebook contests for nonprofits, read this post by Joanne Fritz and this one by Joe Waters.
9) Don’t think that if you build it, they will come. You need to advertise and promote your Facebook presence – your business cards, email signatures, print materials, direct mail appeals, events, press releases. Add a “Like us on Facebook” to everything that goes out to the community, to donors, to volunteers – thank you emails, when people sign up for the email newsletter, thank you for donating.
10) Use targeted Facebook ads. Media Cause has three reasons why nonprofits should get over the myth that they shouldn’t pay for Facebook ads, and Pamela Grow has a great guide for nonprofits on creating great Facebook ads.
12) Tag other Pages. When mentioning another organization, company or public figure in a post, make sure to tag their Page by typing the @ symbol and then the Page name. You may have to play around with this as it doesn’t always work on the first try, and the Page may actually be named something different or be spelled differently. (Or they might not have a Facebook Page.) The benefits of tagging the Page are that the Page owner will see it and can highlight it, which will display it to the public and to their fans.
Do you have other tips for growing Facebook fans for your nonprofit?