Building an Audience on Facebook (via The Salsa Scoop, a blog by salsa labs – http://www.salsalabs.com/blog/)

As usual, the best way to get noticed online is to post things people want to see.

It’s especially true on Facebook because when someone likes or comments on your nonprofit’s post, other people see it, even if they haven’t liked your page. So producing great blog posts, or posting great photos, will get you noticed.

You need a core group of people to start that process going, however.

Here’s how to get it started.

Simply invite people to like the page.

Once you’ve gotten at least a blog post or an album of photos on the page, invite your Facebook friends (who are relevant geographically or in terms of their interests) to like the page. You need an active Facebook account of your own for this option to work.

Place a widget to like your page on your website.

Technically speaking, this might be the trickiest idea here. There are options to have people like your website. But that’s not what you want. You want an HTML widget for people to like your Facebook page, that is then placed on your website. In the settings page of your nonprofit’s Facebook page, you’ll be able to find how to create this widget. Once you have it, put it somewhere easy to find on your site.

NOTE: I recommend following an online tutorial for this if you attempt to do it yourself. ( Here’s one that covers it pretty well, or use Google to find one that fits your specific needs.) Otherwise, ask your web developer, or someone tech savvy, to help you do it.

If there’s no good place for the whole widget on your site, you can get something as small as just the “like” button or a Facebook icon to link to your page, and that should do it. But it’s good to have it available and easy to find on your site.

Encourage people to “check in” at events you host or when they arrive at your facility

You know how before an event the emcee will ask everyone to silence their cell phones? Before asking them to do that, the emcee should ask people to check in on Facebook, Foursquare, or Twitter, or whatever service they prefer, and maybe tag their friends while they’re at it.

Seeing a few friends check in at something sends a strong signal to everyone not there that they are missing out.

Let your fans in real life know about your new Facebook page

It’s absolutely appropriate to include your Facebook page URL in email communications to your volunteers, donors, board and other key constituents.

But try to make it a little more substantive than “On Facebook? So are we!” Why should someone follow you on Facebook? A short sentence is enough: “Follow along as we post historic photos and survey Smallville’s historic buildings.” Maybe the reason you’re giving is the same reason people should follow your blog. But a lot of people who would never follow blogs have no problem liking a page on Facebook.

You can also put up signage around your facility (as appropriate).

Offer a real world promotion

If you run a nonprofit that has customers or other patrons, you can experiment with a promotion for people who like your Facebook page, such as a 25% discount, or a certain free item. This can also work as a reward for people who check in when they arrive at your location (on Foursquare, Facebook, or any other social location service), and then show you their phone to confirm.

Pay for Facebook ads

For surprisingly little money—like $5 a day—you can pay to have your page show up in the sidebar of Facebook as a recommended page to like. If Jane likes the Smallville Historical Society’s page, it will show to her friends who live in Smallville that Jane likes the Historical Society. It’s an easy way to build your Facebook base on a very small budget.

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