I’ve been spending a lot of time looking at the new Facebook “page” redesign. It’s no small coincidence that pages now look like profiles. Facebook has realized that organizations want the ability to engage dynamically with their stakeholders and have offered them the perfect platform to do so. I believe that the place of the nonprofit website will soon fade in importance as social network profiles become your organization’s number one online identity. Given that, your Facebook page will become your dynamic calling card.
Whether or not you have a Facebook group for your nonprofit, you need a page.
The Facebook page IS the new website.
- Facebook has the numbers and loyalty. It is the fourth largest site globally, with a page rank of 4, according to Alexa. More people visit this site, link to it and search it than visit MSN, Wikipedia, and My Space, among others. Facebook users are growing worldwide, and it is the most popular social network in the United States. It is at the top in most other countries as well. There are 150 million users worldwide, and about half of them use Facebook daily.
- Searches WITHIN Facebook continue to grow. According to WebPro, “‘Much of the Facebook-driven traffic comes from links that members post via areas like ‘Notes’ and photos,’ notes Tameka Kee at paidContent.org.” Facebook is the second most popular site to which people bookmarked and shared information using the Share This button. (The button at the bottom of this post is a Share This button.) Similarly to Twitter usage, users refer each other to links within Facebook. Perhaps you’ve seen someone post a Causes button on their page promoting a nonprofit cause and clicked on it? Or you read in a friend’s profile that they have just added a great photo from an organization’s page, and you then clicked to view it? These are good examples of inter-Facebook traffic.
- Facebook isn’t just for young people anymore. A new report from Nielson states that from December 2007 through December 2008, “Facebook added almost twice as many 50-64 year old visitors (+13.6 million) than it has added under 18 year old visitors (+7.3 million).” In addition, “the greatest growth for Facebook has come from people aged 35-49 years of age (+24.1 million).” What does this mean? Your mother, grandfather, and all their friends are now on Facebook. Seriously. Aren’t these the very same people that have the most discretionary income to buy goods and services, and donate money to organizations?
- People use Facebook to organize. 43% of adult Facebook users use Facebook to organize with others for an event, issue or cause, according to a new study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project. They are far more likely to organize for your issue, event or cause if your organization has an outstanding Facebook page with easy opportunities to get involved. Two good examples are the Humane Society’s Facebook page, and the National Wildlife Federation’s page, with clear calls to action, organizing and donation information.
The beauty is that everyone on Facebook knows someone else and regularly communicates with them through the site.
Websites are still necessary in this day and age, sure. Websites are primarily used for finding specific information. People will jump off the site quickly unless it is “sticky ” enough or dynamic enough to engage its viewers. Facebook users are already engaging, organizing, meeting people, sharing information and searching for information on site.
Facebook is the new website, with built-in engagement features.
I’d love to visit the Facebook page that your organization has created, or a great business page as well. Please let me know about your page, and others that you admire. I look forward to visiting and engaging on your page!
Debra Askanase has 20 years of experience working in nonprofit organizations, from Community Organizer to Executive Director. She is the founder and lead consultant at Community Organizer 2.0, a social media strategy firm for non-profit organizations and businesses. She blogs about the intersection of social media, nonprofits, and technology at communityorganizer20.com. Debra will be writing regularly for our eJewish Philanthropy comunity.