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Now that the deadline to the switch Facebook to their new Timelines format is upon us, it is important for nonprofit organizations be prepared for these changes. Beth Kanter, once again, can help us through these changes. She has compiled a list of Tips and Cheat Sheets To Help Your Nonprofit Plan and Implement FB Brand Page Changes.

Kanter offers some helpful suggestions for making this switch as smooth as possible for your nonprofit organization. The crucial first step in this process, in Kanter’s words, is to identify, “how you will integrate your branding strategy, revise your editorial/content strategy, and administrative work flow.” It is first important to make sure that you integrate these new apps and features as seamlessly as possible into your current brand strategy.

It is also important to familiarize yourself with these changes and how they will work to your organizations benefit before actually making the switch. This is why Kanter’s next step is to “ Take the Tour” through Facebook’s Product Guidebook, which is essentially a map of the new features and applications to come.  Make sure that as you go though the guide you are thinking of ways to format your page to adapt to these changes, while keeping your organizations unique look. At the end of the guide is a checklist as well as tips to get your organization started on creating an effective Facebook Timeline.

Another big change for nonprofits is the fact that default landing tabs are being replaced by “Pinned Posts.” Pinned Posts stay at the very top of your timeline for seven days and should be used, according to Kanter, as your “call to action” for that particular week. Kanter also points out that this is shifting from the default landing tabs intended purpose of gaining a wider fan-base to engaging with the fans that you currently have.

Profile photos will now be accompanied at the top of the screen by a cover photo (851 x 315 pixels) that will be almost 70% of your top screen. It is important that this photo represent your organization’s mission and voice. It is also important to note some of the rules of cover photos found in Facebook’s help center. The rules state that cover photos may not contain price or purchase information, contact information, references to “liking” or “sharing” of content, or calls to action. This is where viewing other pages, like Livestrong, can be beneficial for seeing what images other organizations have chosen for furthering their messages.

Facebook is now providing page administrators, or “admins,” with dashboards to quickly review their pages metrics as well as fan activity on one screen. Though the kinks are still being worked out of Facebook metrics measuring systems, this is a great new feature that will at least have to hold us over until “real time” metric data is available.

Another new feature that all nonprofits should be ready for is private messaging between page administrators and fans. When talking with fans through your organizations voice it is important that you remain consistent, and do not differentiate from the tone of your page. Kanter suggests that you plan out how your organization will direct private conversations with their fans before engaging in a private dialogue one-on-one. This would be an excellent opportunity to drive attention to the organizations website since people would, presumably, ask questions to the administrator that could easily be answered by going to the website.

Finally, it is time to prepare for launch. Make sure that before you launch your fans are aware of some of the changes to come to your page and some of the new features that your page now offers. As if she hasn’t already helped enough, Kanter has also created a Pinterest pinboard, Facebook Brand Pages: Useful Resources and Tips, to help your nonprofit “design, plan and implement” these new applications and features to your organization’s page.

Thank you Beth Kanter for all of your help getting ready for the new Facebook Timeline!

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Facebook is the most popular social networking site. It is because of this that it must stay up to date on the newest ways to connect people with similar interests in the simplest way possible. Their newest tactic for doing this is Facebook interest lists, which John Haydon explains in his blog post “What Facebook Interest Links Mean for Your Nonprofit and (Why You Should Care)” on Razoo.com’s blog Inspiring Generosity.

Interest Lists are user organized topic lists that link people and pages with similar interests of on similar topics. This new feature makes it even easier for nonprofit organizations to connect with new people who have either similar interests, pages or friends. Facebook users are able to subscribe to other users lists and share with their friends.

Mari Smith, for example, created the public Interest List known as FACEBOOK Experts & Resources to connect and share valuable information about how to properly navigate and operate Facebook.This is a very helpful resources not only for nonprofit organizations but for my topic in COMM 3309, Facebook for Nonprofits.

When a nonprofit organization’s page or a member of a specific organization is added to a number of different Interest Lists, then the organization has strengthened their Facebook fan base by expanding their range beyond only their “fans” or “friends.”

John Haydon also describes all the benefits this new feature can have for Nonprofit organizations. “This means more Facebook fans, more engagement with your content, more traffic to your website and more volunteers and donations (eventually).”

All in all these new Interest Lists sound like a great idea, but how can you be sure you are using them properly. Haydon describes with nine important things that Nonprofits need to know in order to maximize the benefits of this new feature. I will list some of them that seem to offer the most benefit.

First, is to check and see if your nonprofit organization or your “friends” have already been added to any current interest lists. This is done by searching keywords that are directly related to your organization. Secondly, it is important to optimize your organizations Facebook page for search to ensure that your page will “pop-up” when keywords that are pertinent to your organization are searched. You can do this by editing your pages “About Me” section.

Another helpful hint Haydon offers is “try not to be all things to all people.” What he means by this is stay on topic and make sure that your pages content is focused on topic and not too broad. This is to make sure that people can easily place your organization in the appropriate Interest List. Haydon encourages organizations to promote the lists that you have been added to through all other forms of social media that are at your organizations disposal. This includes Public Relations campaigns, through your nonprofits email, twitter and blogs. All of these resources are very helpful for driving more traffic to not only your Nonprofits Facebook page but also your website.

Beth Kanter is the brilliant mind behind Beth’s Blog: How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media, one most popular, not to mention longest running, blogs for nonprofits on the web. With her over 30 years of experience within the nonprofit sector, she has become one of the nations leading authorities, the guru if you will, on how nonprofits can successfully use the emerging world of social media effectively to promote their cause.

In her most recent blog March 2, Kanter describes how Facebook’s ads can be an affordable and effective way to market your nonprofit to the local public. She also provides a link, to an excellent resource for Facebook ad beginners, How the Create Epic Facebook Ad written by the co-author of Facebook Marketing for Dummies, Andrea Vahl. This e-book describes how these Facebook ads work, how they are created, how they are tested and who should be targeted in these ads.

“Placing ads on Facebook provides a targeted advertising strategy because Facebook knows the demographics and interests of its millions of users,” says Kanter. Facebook ad’s run on a “bidding system.” This means that organizations and advertisers “bid” for likes or being added as interests on people’s personal profiles. The more likes or adds an organization has, the more people they are likely to reach. A majority of nonprofit organizations use these Facebook ads in an effort to gain more fans, however, they are also excellent way to increase engagement or gain visibility within a larger market.

This method has proven to be effective for the AXIS Dance Company out of Oakland, California who designed a strategy for Facebook ads in an effort to engage more fans by utilizing testing and targeting. This being their first attempt at Facebook advertising they decided to start simple. The ad consisted of the AXIS Dance company avatar, the slogan “Change the way you think about dance forever,” and “Like” us on Facebook.

In order to test how effective their advertising would be, they took out 2 ads targeting people within a 50 mile area. The first was able to reach a greater number of people because it targeted people within broad categories of interests such as #dance or #disabilities. The second ad, however, was much more narrow because it targeted people who “liked” specific companies in this particular community, such as the San Francisco Ballet.

After one week of testing the ad the AXIS Dance Company’s Facebook page experienced a noticeable spike in its Page Views as well as Reach. In just one day the small nonprofit organization received 17 likes and 67 page views. Now that they are beginning to see a positive change in their online presence they have decided to remove the general ad and start advertising events and other more specific AXIS news.

This is just one example of how Facebook ads can be a great resource for Nonprofits!

Austin, TX has the highest concentration of non profit organizations than any other city in the United States. All types of causes ranging from environmental concerns (local and global) to human rights, have a voice in the Austin Non Profit Organization scene. Along with national non profit organizations, this blog aims to explore tactics used by some of Austin’s most successful non profits, or more specifically their Facebook pages.

The most popular, or most “liked,” Facebook profiles in Austin, such as Austin Pet’s Alive and A Glimmer of Hope, have an advantage over those who do not participate in Social Networking. It will be the interest of this blog to investigate that advantage further. Oneof these advantages include two-way communication between the organization and its donors which establishes a relationship between the two. Also it allows for constant updates on what is happening within the organization.

Another interest of this blog will be to educate others on how to effectively and efficiently utilize Social Networking sites, such as Facebook, to the organization and its donors best interest. How can an organization not only establish a positive relationship with it’s “friends” on Facebook but inform them about important information about up coming events and fund-raising opportunities.

In today’s world, social media is one of the most utilized mediums of communication. From social networking websites to message boards and personal video posts, people from all walks of life are finding their internet voices. Individuals with raw talents are being discovered for their Youtube videos, restaurant chains are changing their practices because of customer complaints on their blogs, and nonprofit organizations are getting their massage out all through the same medium. Their is no doubt the invention of social media is a total game changer for the way people communicate with one another in the twenty-first century.

What I intend to investigate further through this course at St. Edward’s University, Social Media for Public Relations, is a very specific aspect of this growing phenomenon. That is, How Nonprofit Organizations can effectively use Facebook, the various tools available to then as well as how these organizations measure their success on a free social networking site.

I also plan on speaking with many of the nonprofits in Austin; such as Austin Pets Alive!, A Glimmer of Hope, and Ballet Austin, personally to discuss how they have chosen to use Facebook to further their missions and encourage traffic to their various websites and fan pages.