Case Study: If You Build It, They Will Come…A Nonprofit Facebook Strategy

If you build it, they will come,” right? Unfortunately, many companies and nonprofits think that, but that’s not the case. Recently, I worked with a nonprofit to come up with a social media strategy. They were already on Facebook and Twitter. In fact, their Facebook fans were 15K+ and their Twitter followers were 9K plus. So I bet you’re wondering, why did they think they needed help?

They had been involved in social media since 2009. They saw their Twitter and Facebook growth spurts in 2010-2011, but have remained stagnant since that initial growth spurt. Now they wanted more. They wanted to invigorate and get more from their fans, and hence, grow even bigger.

When we looked at their overall strategy, they didn’t really have a strategy in place other than to post engaging content on each channel, which they were already doing. That’s a very good start, but it’s not a long term plan. They sort of had a content calendar, they had a newsletter, and they had a small team of people managing their social media presence. They didn’t have a policy, nor a real strategy, so we lookd at their top goals to align their marketing activities with those goals.

After analyzing their content, and listening to what their goals were:

  • to make things more relevant to the end user
  • to make the end user an evangelist
  • and to engage partners in some way

We came up with the following social media strategy:

  1. To build relevance by utilizing Facebook’s Open Graph and creating an app that becomes a custom tab
  2. To leverage existing Fans and incent them to be evangelists
  3. To make it compelling for partners to point back to their nonprofit website

To build relevance and serve their constituents content that they would find valuable on Facebook will require them to create an app and put that app on a custom tab. The app will allow the constituent the ability to share their experience via Facebook or Twitter, aiding in virality. Once the app is built, the nonprofit will need to do an email campaign and a social media push to let their constituents know that the tool is available and educate their fans on the benefits they will get by using it. Their constituents can now get relevant information about their nonprofit without ever having to leave Facebook – which is genius.

Leveraging the existing fan base and incenting them to be evangelists requires the nonprofit to give them something that they would want to share with others (good content) and make it easy for them to share (social plugins). Wherever they publish content, they need to make it easy for people to share that content. Social sharing plugins are great for sharing via a website. They are a must-have for a website.

Lastly, to make it compelling for partners to point back to their nonprofit website, they will have to be a bit more creative. We suggested that they do an email outreach letting their partners know about their new app and the new ability to share their business socially from the nonprofit’s website.

We’ll update this post in a few months once we have their results.


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About Tracy Sestili

Tracy Sestili is CEO and Chief blogger at Social Strand Media. She is also the author of Taking Your Brand from the Bench to the Playing Field -- Social Media Fundamentals for Business.