Businesses and nonprofits of all kinds have flocked to Facebook, following promises of extended reach at minimal cost. But the organizations seeing the most success with their Facebook pages are those who understand that social media is first of all, well, social, and that the basis of brand loyalty is relationship. These four examples might give you ideas for using your own business Facebook page to develop relationships and build loyalty:
1. Bridging the gap
Holland Home Retirement Community is home to about 150 seniors. The average age there is 87, and most Holland Home residents are not on Facebook—but their children and grandchildren are. So Holland Home uses their Facebook page as a way to bridge the gap between seniors and their children. Staff post photos of the entertainment, the activities, the Craft Club and Garden Club—anything that shows a typical day at Holland Home. Since many of the families of the residents live out of town, they love being able to log in to Facebook and see Dad playing Balloon Volleyball or Mom reading to a local first-grader. They post comments to compliment the staff, express greetings, point out people they recognize, and ask questions about services. And Holland Home has done a nice job of responding to comments and keeping the conversation going. I used to be an administrator of the page, but recent changes at Holland Home have put their Facebook presence in transition. It will be interesting to see if they can rebuild momentum.
2. Staying connected
Living Springs Community Church uses their Facebook page to remind church members throughout the week of what they heard during Sunday services. The weekly photo album—posted each Sunday afternoon—provides a summary to anyone who was unable to attend on a given week. The weekly list of “Journey” Bible readings is a reminder and encouragement for people who are committed to reading a chapter a day. Occasional blogs by the pastors are posted to the page to provide additional teaching and encouragement. Living Springs also tags people in photos as a way of spreading the word and inviting other people into the conversation. In fact, Living Springs uses their Facebook page to complement their website—messaging that is more static is posted to the web, while Facebook is used to invite conversation. With two dedicated Administrators of their page (yes, I am one of them), Living Springs is able to respond to questions, Like comments, and share Events very consistently.
3. Sharing news
Twitter is probably better known than Facebook as a way to share news quickly, but the Village of Lansing (Illinois) recognizes that its constituents are more likely to be Facebooking than Tweeting, so that’s where they invest their time. For example, during the heavy rainstorms that soaked the Midwest in the spring of 2013, the Village of Lansing posted videos, photos, and links to resources for people dealing with flooding. And during less stressful times they share video promos of local businesses, information about upcoming events, and photos of goings-on about town. The Village of Lansing is good about encouraging followers to post photos and comments on the page, so there is potential for vibrant interaction from regular citizens as well as page administrators and official village representatives.
4. Going deep
When my friend and fellow writer Jason Perry wrote a book called Reclaiming the Sacred in our Worship Space, he knew the topic was a meaty one that could best be processed in discussion. So I helped him set up a Sacred Space Facebook page where people could pose questions, express opinions, and discover answers. For several weeks, there was quite a bit of healthy discussion, with Jason posing a question to get things started, and several people (including myself) sharing long paragraphs of opinions and ideas. The Sacred Space page achieved a level of community that was marked by real conversation among commenters. But Jason soon learned what many Facebookers learn: A serious social media presence requires significant, consistent time investment. Go into it with your eyes open.
Link-love for your Facebook page
Does your business or nonprofit have a Facebook page? Have you seen noticeable benefits from being on Facebook? Post a link to your page in the comments, and tell us how you use it to build your brand. If you’re brave enough, invite us to visit your page and give you our first impressions.
And if you need help transforming your Facebook page into an effective business-building resource, contact LifeLines. Though I haven’t posted my social media prices online, I have been an administrator of more than 20 Facebook pages, and I’ve provided social media training and coaching in a variety of settings. I’d be happy to hear your goals and then put together a proposal for using social media to build your brand and share your story.