BABC's blog

Six Secrets to Social Network Success

  1. Have one source for all your content
    It would take an army of people to maintain every possible social networking presence.  Choose one source for creating and storing each type of content you have:
    1. Stories and News - on your main web page
    2. Images - In a Flickr account
    3. Video - On YouTube
       
  2. RSS is a Really Simple Solutiona
    Actually it's Really Simple Syndication (RSS).  When you post something on your web page, you need it to migrate to all your social network sites automatically.  If you have an RSS enabled Content Management system, it is easy to automate this task so you only have to write your content once.
     
  3. Let your Members make content for you
    It's expensive and time consuming to create good digital content.  At the same time, digital cameras are ubiquitous.  Make sure your members have an easy way to share their pictures and video of your events on your site by setting up groups on Flickr and Youtube. 
     
  4. Frequent Updates are Refreshing
    New updates are what draw in your members to visit your page again and again.  It doesn't have to be an involved article or complex multimedia piece, but share something at least once a day.  It seems like a lot, but there's a lot of content you can share from the web.  Each small post is an invitation to bring someone back to your web page where they could sign up to become a member or make a donation.  If you collect and share your local bicycling news effectively, your users will come to trust you as their source for bike info and visit more often.  Here's a hierarchy of items to share:
    1. Reminders about your Events
    2. Updates on your campaigns
    3. New content (images, video, etc.) on your site
    4. Bicycling news from your area (Set up a Google News Search to watch for items)
    5. State and National Bicycle News
    6. Articles on biking tips and tricks
       
  5. Monetize - No Money.  No Movement.
    Make sure your web presence works for you.  Your content should promote all the great work you're doing with the goal of bringing in the revenue to allow you to keep doing it.  Make sure that you monetize all your web presences by providing easy and prominent links to:
    1. Membership
    2. Merchandise
    3. Donations
       
  6. Track your web following
    Measuring the size of your web following helps you demonstrate the size and strength of your organization.  Analyzing what content get the most attention on your site also helps you identify your most effective online outreach tools and focus your efforts there.  Here are some stats you should track:
    1. Hits for each of your pages
    2. Fans of your Facebook page
    3. Visits to your Facebook page
    4. Supporters for your Facebook cause
    5. Twitter Followers
    6. Twitter @mentions
    7. Twitter searches for your event names
      (Example: "Bike to Work Day", "Car Free Friday")
    8. Views of your YouTube Videos
    9. Comments on your images, videos and stories.
    10. TweetStats (when do you post)


 

Essential Facebook Page Applications

Facebook Applications extend the functionality of your Facebook Page allowing you to automate the sharing of your web content, take in donations, and customize your page's look.  These are the most useful applications I've found for Facebook pages so far:

RSS to Facebook Notes
The most essential tool for a good Facebook Page.  Automatically posts your RSS feed to your Facebook page, automating the process of sharing content from your web page with Facebook.

Causes
The fundraising and membership tool for Facebook.  It allows your supporters to make a "Birthday Wish" for their friends to donate to your organization.

 

FBML - Facebook Markup Language
(Custom HTML on Facebook)
Allows you to create a custom HTML badge for your facebook profile. Great for customizing your page with pics and links you need such as:
"Become a Member" links
Sponsor logos and links

My Flickr
Automatically displays the latest pictures from your flickr page and links back to your flickr account.

 

Youtube Badge
Automatically posts your latest youtube videos on your Facebook page.

Facebook Causes

Facebook Causes

A cause is similar to a Facebook Page or Group, but has some very important differences:

1. It can accept donations via credit card, which makes it the only built in way for you to monetize yourself on Facebook.

2. Many built in mechanisms to support fundraising and membership drives.  Keep in mind this is membership in a Facebook cause so it's not as useful to us as we have our own memberships we are interested in selling.

3. Easy way to monetize your Facebook Page as you can include it as your "Featured Cause" to give it great placement in your sidebar.

4. Supporters can make "Birthday Wishes" for friends to make donations to their featured cause on their birthday.  Great viral means to market fundraising

After saying all of that in favor of Facebook Causes, the research shows there isn't a huge amount of fundraising done on Facebook.

SUGGESTION: Set up a Facebook Cause, Feature it on your Facebook Page and then leave it be.  Make sure you set up a default welcome message that drives users who find you through the causes application to become fans of your page on Facebook, where they can find the information you'll be updating more frequently.  Your Page should be your main portal.  Causes are there to help you monetize the page and nothing more.  Have some staff lead by example by sending their birthday wishes to help start things off.

ALTERNATIVE: If you'd rather not set up a causes page, you can also use FBML to add a donate button from whichever service (Paypal, Google Checkout, Etc) to your site.  Which is probably a good idea even if you do add a cause.

Welcome to the Bay Area Bicycle Coalition, 

Thank you for joining the fight for a bicycle friendly Bay Area.  We've been working for 23 years to get bicycles access to transit, increase funding for bike facilities and promote bicycling for everyday transportation.  Become a fan of the BABC to get updates on the latest bicycling news in the Bay Area:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Novato-CA/Bay-Area-Bicycle-Coalition/124007005214

Help us continue our important work by:
- Making a donation: http://apps.facebook.com/causes/causes/306359/begin_donation?m=781e42b6&recruiter_id=18111888
- Sending a Birthday Wish: http://apps.facebook.com/causes/birthdays/new?cause_id=306359&m=8f77d867

Thank you for your support,
Andrew Casteel
Executive Director
Bay Area Bicycle Coalition
 

 

Facebook Page: Setting up a Facebook Page

Set up a Facebook Page for your organization
Facebook Pages are like Facebook Groups with the exception that a Facebook page has fans instead of members and Facebook Pages can be automatically updated with content from your website's RSS.

  1. Go to http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php
  2. Choose Brand or Product > Non-Profit
  3. Fill out the rest of the information for your organization

 

Series of Tubes

This workshop focuses on the most useful and relevant technologies for bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organizations.  It will cover databases, online event registrations, online systems and tools, list serves, web 2.0 technologies, RSS feeds, content management systems, and so much more. Ensure your organization is embracing all opportunities to connect with your members, increase your membership, and raise funds effectively.

The web is a huge but fractured market.  Building a great web site and creating compelling content is the first step in successfully promoting your cause online.  The next step is to collect and connect your content to the myriad of social networks that will connect you to millions of users.  Using these tools, we increased our web hits to our Bike to Work Day site 7 fold (from 1 Million in 2008 to 7 Million in 2009)

Facebook Pages: Using Notes tool to post your web pages RSS to your Facebook Page

Facebook is an important marketing tool for promoting the great work your coalition is doing and building your membership.  With a Facebook page and cause, you can keep your members on Facebook aware of your events and activities, connect with new potential members through their friends who are already fans of your group and give your fans the chance to support your org through birthday wishes.  If your coalition's website creates an RSS feed, you can even automatically update your presence on Facebook.

Setting up Your Facebook Page to update from your RSS
The most critical piece of a successful Facebook Page is frequent updates.  It would take a lot of work to create updates specifically for your Facebook Page, but you can stream your website's own updates to it through the notes feature, making it effortless to maintain your Facebook page.

  1. Go to your Facebook page (at bottom left of the Facebook webpage)

     
  2. Click on the page name (this is also where you cn check your site metrics)

     
  3. Choose Edit Page under your site's logo

     
  4. Find Notes and select Edit

     
  5. Choose Import a Blog

     
  6. Then just enter your web page's RSS URL (Example: http://btwd.bayareabikes.org/rss.xml).  It may take a while for a message to post from your RSS to your facebook (up to 2 hours).
     
  7. If you ever find that new stories from your webpage's RSS stop appearing on Facebook, follow these steps below then follow steps 4,5 and 6.  Sometimes it will lose the feed and resetting it like this is the only way to fix it.

    7a. Choose Edit Import Settings

    7b. Then Choose Stop Importing

    After that you can import your blog again and it will find any missed postings.  It's a good idea to check your facebook page every few days to make sure posts are still updating.

 

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