Even the largest of organizations have to start from scratch when they start a new Facebook page. The scramble to gain followers can cause many an online community manager to turn into an obsessive ball of anxiety. Before you start your online presence, I charge you to think for a second and ask yourself WHY you are starting an online community in the first place. If you answer to this question is “To raise more money” then stop right now, close your computer and go home. Online communities are NOT about asking for donations. They are about interacting and communicating with people interested in your cause. Any goals around soliciting donations and list building come secondary and should never be the main goal of any page.
Here are three ways to grow your online community from zero while keeping your sanity and remaining true to your mission:
1) Use your staff and volunteers as “seed followers”
Once you have created your page and populated it with a cover photo, logo and a few pictures, send an email to your staff and volunteers. Tell them that you are now on Facebook and ask them to “like” your page. Once you have 25 likes you are eligible to have a vanity Facebook url – www.faebook.com/(your organization’s name here).
2) Add Facebook buttons to your website
I know many nonprofits are strapped for web development services, but adding a button to your website is not difficult. Facebook offers a really easy code generator.
3) Add Facebook button to your emails
Every time you send out an email to your constituents, you should put a “Follow Us on Facebook” button at the top or bottom of the page. You can also add the url of your Facbeook page to the bottom of your email signature and ask your staff to do the same.
These are three super simple ways to start a base of supporters on your organization’s Facebook page. Remember that even the non-profit social media giants with millions of followers all started at zero. Be realistic on your follower goals and get crackin’ with these three tips!