SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY For ABC Foundation Phase I - Facebook Facebook Facebook is an open-ended cocktail party of introductions, engagement, conversations, education and entertainment. It’s a platform that allows individuals to just check out the scene, soak in the news and add a comment or two when the moment strikes. Like a party, a Facebook Fan Page is dependent upon the host to offer a welcoming and interesting atmosphere that provokes thought and involvement. The ABC Foundation has a unique opportunity to increase its visibility and effectiveness at raising dollars in the non-profit arena by effectively utilizing this social media platform. However, the key to success with Facebook is to build ongoing relationships based on engagement and trust while providing value-added content. Followers on any social media platform do not want to feel like they’re being sold too. They’re in it to take something away. In positioning itself as a resource, rather than a billboard ad, the Foundation will greatly leverage its ability to situate itself as a thought leader while actively engage and retain followers who significantly support the Foundation’s goal “to be able to provide ongoing funding for Sarcoidosis research.”
Setting the Stage – Converting Visitors into Fans Proper etiquette prescribes that individuals attending a party should be made to feel welcomed. Guests should be greeted upon entering a room in which a calculated ambiance sets the stage for what is to come. Visitors who access your Facebook page should enter through an inviting and controlled portal that is engaging and informative. In welcoming your visitors via a dedicated page, rather than expecting them to embrace the unfiltered waters of your wall, you set a tone and present a program of expectations for prospects that is more likely to convert them into fans. Visitors who first access ABC Foundation’s Page could be welcomed to an attractive and creatively designed “landing page” that does some of the following: Presents ABC Foundation’s mission and goals Brief definition of Sarcoidosis A link to “How Can I Help” Informs visitors how to support ABC Foundation in order to make a difference A “call to action” to “Like” and connect Sign up for email blasts and/or newsletters (allowing you to capture more information about your audience) Link to ABC Foundation’s website
Attracting Fans to the Party Begin with your own group – staff, board members, volunteers. Each member of your team should have a Facebook profile of their own in order to connect as a fan to ABC Foundation’s page and promote it on their own wall. If followers use the “@” sign when speaking about the Foundation, then the page will automatically link to their post. ABC Foundation should promote the Page with a “follow us on Facebook” link integrated into the homepage of its website.
Page 2 Send out an email blast to the entire database and let supporters know about your Facebook page, the benefits of connecting, how it will assist ABC Foundation’s mission, and provide a link to join. There are two active groups on Facebook focusing on support for people living with Sarcoidosis. By having your followers interact on these pages and engage with those followers, you have an opportunity to “gently” introduce ABC Foundation, along with your mission to a new group of people. As you interact more on these sites, your messages will post in your newsfeeds and the newsfeeds of all those on the sites, exponentially sharing your work and goals with potentially hundreds and thousands more individuals who have never heard of you and the mission of your organization. Direct messages to non-followers are also acceptable in Facebook. Though ABC Foundation itself (as a Page) can not directly invite individuals to join the page, the Page administrator(s) or ABC Foundation followers can direct-message individuals to promote the Foundation’s message and encourage others to connect with the Page. In this instance, it might be more effective if direct messages came from ABC Foundation fans who are passionate and knowledgeable about the organization.
The Wall This is where you have the opportunity to be a major part of the conversation on Facebook. ABC Foundation is the host and needs to take advantage of it. Every time someone comments on your new status, a photo, a video, a discussion thread, or anything else, the Foundation needs to comment on it. Gone are the days of a one-way conversation in which the brands talk down to their customers. We are in the midst of a conversational revolution and ABC Foundation needs to be part of it. In establishing your Facebook presence and building a monthly messaging campaign, the following topics/ideas should be considered: Involvement with Johns Hopkins ABC Foundation success stories Set an annual or quarterly fundraising goal for ABC Foundation and let followers no where you’re at during the course of time (See paragraph on “Firstgiving” to learn more about how to maximize your fundraising efforts) Personal “feel good” stories about people living with the illness Educational opportunities for family members or people living with Sarcoidosis New updates on Sarcoidosis research Further promotion of your special events o Profile the people involved o Mention of the activities o Promote a contest for Facebook followers only that offer them an additional experience at one of your events – e.g. play golf with a celebrity, lunch with a sports player, etc. – you can also promote that on your website letting visitors know that participation requires following Life on Breath on Facebook o Thank your sponsors Shout outs to followers thanking them when they join your Page Post links to relevant articles, white papers, e-books, blogs, video interviews, photos and other websites that followers can download o Photos and video galleries offer a fast, fun way for members to express themselves. Visual postings make a rich community even richer, as everyone joins in the sharing Provide followers w/content they can only get on Facebook; give them advance warning that something valuable is coming that will only be shared via this platform – e.g. a major announcement, two free tickets to a special event
Page 3 Pose open-ended questions to provoke thought and responses (this can also be combined with most of the other suggested topics) Inform followers about volunteer opportunities as they become available and include a direct link to signing up for that opportunity Profile your staff/board o Who are they o How are they involved with ABC Foundation Post weekly shout-outs to individual Fans; thank them for following; mention their involvement with the organization Posting surveys and polls help stimulate discussion and allow you to collect valuable date while also converting followers into prospects. These could be mentioned in a post and linked to one of your tabs. Groups and Events are proven elements that generate interaction between members. Encourage your members to create and/or join Groups of people with similar interests; often a popular community group will buzz with activity as members share information and images including details about your own company Place a Facebook widget for ABC Foundation followers to post on their own profile, website or blog
Firstgiving An application that could greatly enhance ABC Foundation’s fundraising efforts is Firstgiving. Firstgiving is a leading online fundraising platform that has helped to raise millions of dollars for non-profits. Once an organization has created a fundraising page on Firstgiving, they can add that page to their Facebook profile with a widget. Firstgiving fundraising application widgets display direct links for donations and content updating individuals on the progress of your fundraising efforts (including visual gauges or thermometers that let people see how close you are to your goal).
The Facebook Party A party isn’t a party unless it’s a happening place; and the last thing you want is for visitors or fans to land on your Facebook page and leave immediately. In addition to an interactive wall, the greatest opportunity you have to capture people’s attention is through engaging applications and tabs. In building out ABC Foundation’s Facebook presence, we begin with a “landing tab,” however at some point in time you might consider integrating additional applications to create a more inviting and sustaining environment. The more there is for your followers to do, the more likely they are to stick around.
Conclusion As you can see, there is a plethora of valuable content that can be used to engage an active and qualified community for ABC Foundation’s Facebook Page. Rather than communicating directly with supporters about your mission, plans or immediate objectives, providing constituents with multiple paths of interaction will keep meaningful dialogue in the forefront and advance the nature of your mission. Before outlining a specific calendar of posts, it is necessary that we review this outline together to discuss and agree upon what ideas would be most practical to help you meet and exceed your objectives. Once we pinpoint those items that will add value to this platform, we can then determine the messages you want to schedule.