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April 21, 2010

Facebook Pages, Community Pages and Your Nonprofit

SnshotFacebook likes to keep you guessing.  Just when you figure out your Facbook News Feed, they completely change it.  Just when you thought you were a "Fan", suddenly you just "like" something.  It's the price we pay for a free service working like mad to stay profitable, provide more value to users, and encourage brands, businesses and orgs to further embrace the platform.  In the last week they have announced a raft of changes that will impact how your non-profit uses Facebook today and in the future.

In case you missed it, Facebook recently announced "Community Pages".  Here's what you need to know

  1. Pages = Official brands, businesses, orgs; Community Pages = everything else
  2. Functional differences:  Community pages won't generate stories in your News Feed.  Owners of the page have less control.  Anyone can post on the wall, the info may end up being populated by wikipedia, and, if it becomes popular enough, it may get converted so that it is fully owned/controlled by the community (or at least that's what will happen according to Mashable).

What this means for your nonprofit:  Focus on your official Facebook Page - it's the most important thing your org owns in Facebook and allows you to better communicate with your, people who "like" you.  However, Facebook is clearly betting that community pages are likely to become a place where people discuss topics of mutual interest.  Nonprofits will want to find, tune in, and contribute to these community streams where appropriate.  In some cases, nonprofits may want to start their own community pages to help kick start the conversation or encourage it's development in a certain way.  For example, an environmental non-profit may want to begin updating "Fight Global Warming" or "Coal".


Facebook is also rolling out some changes to individual profiles connecting them more tightly to Pages and Community Pages.  Soon users will be asked to "opt-in to new connections".  Essentially, Facebook is going to look at your stated interests and "affiliations" and suggest Pages (of both types) that you can link to your profile.  Your likes and interests will then be linked to these pages.  (For more information on how it will look, check out Mashable's coverage.)

What this means for your nonprofit:  This is still a very new feature and adoption by Facebook users on a massive scale is unclear.  What is clear, however, is that Facebook is attempting to make the profile more dynamic and using as a platform to help expose Pages and Community pages to new users.  This could be good for your organization if your supporters have identified themselves with your organization - making it easier for your supporters' friends to find you and see which of their other friends are fans (or, err, likers).  It also means, unfortunately, that you will need to spend more time finding and monitoring Community Pages that relate to what you do.   


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thanks for posting, seems facebook is on a roll as the dominant social networking site.

Thanks for posting, seems facebook is on a roll as the dominant social networking site.

Facebook is a social utility that connects people with friends and others who work, study and live around them.

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