Are You Leveraging the REAL Power of Facebook?

“Facebook empowers non-profits by enabling them to mobilize communities, organize events, increase fundraising, reduce costs with free online tools, and raise awareness through viral networks.”-Non-Profits on Facebook

Josh Sternberg recently wrote a piece on mashable entitled “How a Facebook Group Helped Reunite a Band for Charity” that essentially discusses the power a Facebook presence can have for an organization or group.  The piece is about a band called God Street Wine (or GSW) that played their last show in New York City in December of 1999 and (until recently) had no Facebook presence.  Nevertheless, a devoted fan decided to whet his social media appetite and create a Facebook group (“Bring Back God Street Wine”) for the band.

Almost 1,500 members later “GSW is returning to the stage for four nights — two sold-out shows at The Gramercy Theater and two shows at Irving Plaza — in New York City.”  The proceeds from all four shows are going directly to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (GSW was inspired to help this cause because their stage manager and friend was diagnosed with MS a few years ago).  Now all of this attention can’t be attributed to just the Facebook group, but Tom Osander, the group’s drummer, definitely thinks it had a lot to do with it:

“I won’t say that we couldn’t have done it without Facebook, but it certainly wouldn’t have been as easy. Facebook and the other networking sites we utilized to promote these shows are still very new in the history of popular music, but they’ve already taken the lead and even replaced much of the traditional devices such as postal mailing lists, print media or radio, and posters used when the band was in its heyday back in the 90s.There is no way we could have reached as many people as quickly, and without spending a fortune on promo were it not for the Internet and Facebook.”

Facebook is a great medium for promotion and should definitely be utilized.  Allyson Kapin of Frogloop.com gives some great tips on how to increase engagement on Facebook pages, in her post Five Tips to Ramp Up Your Nonprofit’s Fan Pages.  Two of her suggestions include being responsive and cross-promotion.  A keyword in social media is SOCIAL – being social is about building relationships and there should be conversations going on.  This can be done by responding to user’s questions or comments or even sending a more personal message in response to a post.  As for cross-promotion, she says to make sure that there are links on your Facebook page to the other sites featuring your cause (i.e. Twitter).

Another helpful site for Facebook information and tips is allfacebook.com which also offers a list of “10 Facebook Page Strategies Every Brand Should Know.”  Many of these revolve around being responsive and SOCIAL as well.

Finally, for even more information on how to utilize Facebook for your cause definitely check out http://www.facebook.com/nonprofits which is, coincidentally, a Facebook page devoted solely to helping non-profits and other organizations harness the power of Facebook.

Also check out our previous post about getting started with facebook.

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