In Part 1 of Social Marketing for Non-Profits, I wrote about the first steps for using social marketing for a non-profit organization. One of the critical elements of those first steps is to develop the content that you will share with others, so let’s talk a bit more about how to develop content and what you will want to include, specifically for Facebook.
1. Create content. “Content” includes words, photos, videos, and links, created by you or created by others. On a Facebook page, the “content” is all the posts you create, plus the comments and posts that other people make to your page. The content of your page needs to reflect the objective you are seeking to accomplish, so that it will be more likely to resonate with the people to which you are already connected and the people you are hoping to add to the community. Remember: the goal is to give them content that they will want to respond to with a “like” or by sharing with others, to expand the reach of your message.
And don’t forget your “info” page in Facebook. Make sure folks have an easy way to contact you directly for more information. Include a link to your website if you have one.
2. Establish an editorial calendar. Think about the objectives you established in Part 1, and the content that you can develop that will help you achieve that objective. If your goal is to build community awareness about the activities of your organization, you will want to create photos, stories, and videos that show your organization in action. Interview volunteers. Interview the people who are being affected by the work you do. Edit everything you collect into bite-sized pieces, and create your editorial calendar. Think about your calendar as a story that you are going to tell in chapters. Use all the forms of status updates (Status, Photo, Link, Video, Poll Question) to tell your story in different ways.
3. Monitor. Schedule time every day to read comments to your posts, and to check any photo or video uploads that others have made to your page. If you see a negative comment, think twice before commenting on it or deleting it. Others on your page will often do the work for you of correcting errors or helping people see a different point of view. Being willing to hear ideas, even if they are negative or critical of the organization, helps you to establish trust with the friends of your organization. If a comment makes you angry, wait until you have had a little time to think about it before you write a response. But if someone posts offensive or lewd content, of course you will want to delete it, and consider blocking that person from your page.
4. Listen and Respond. As you read comments made by others, you will learn what interests them. Really listen – it will give you ideas about what they will be likely to share with others, and what tone of voice they are expecting from you. Re-post comments from others; publicly thank folks for sharing their comments and photos. Highlight a “friend of the week” (with their permission). Treat those who have “liked” your page as you treat your personal friends. Don’t talk like an “entity” – let your personality and passion show through your posts. Before you post, ask yourself if you would “like” or comment on the post yourself. If the answer is no, rewrite it.
As you build a library of content, you will able to use much of it over and over. Photos and videos can be gathered into albums; frequently asked questions can be gathered into one discussion page or a separate FAQ tab. So now you are ready: go tell your story!