Facebook Pages: Using Them to Benefit Your Organization



Yesterday, I helped my company host a social networking training seminar. The event helped me see Facebookas a valuable tool for non-profits and advocacy groups. This was particularly interesting because as I was sitting there, I noticed this tweet from Chris Brogan:

Can someone explain what you DO with a Fan page on Facebook? What comes next? How does it help your business? 10:22 AM August 05, 2008 from web

Since this was exactly what our seminar was on and I couldn’t come up with a clear answer, I decided to pretend I wasn’t one of the volunteers leading the session, but instead that I was one of the participants hearing about Facebook tools, pages, and applications for the first time.

This shift in mentality helped me focus on concepts I thought I knew a lot about, but as it turns out, didn’t actually understand as thoroughly as I probably should.

A Little Background about Life on Facebook

For me, college is synonymous with Facebook. The social network took off at the same time that I started my first semester, meaning I’ve been a Facebook addict since the very beginning – before I could upload and tag photos and before high schoolers even knew what it was.

Needless to say, it was hard for me (and many others at the seminar) to identify Facebook as a professional tool that could help organizations market themselves. All I knew it as was a site to, um, stalk old high school friends and ex-boyfriends.

Facebook: Pages Become a Professional Tool

As Facebook grew in popularity, the developers began releasing new versions of the site regularly. They redesigned the layout, launched new applications, opened the site to the public, and created “pages” to help organizations and causes promote themselves. At first, I thought “pages” were a way for Miley Cyrus fans everywhere to unite. I didn’t see the difference between pages and groups… what was the big deal and why would a company want to use Facebook pages?

All you have to do is look at some of the most popular Facebook pages to understand how they can help your cause go viral. Here are some great examples: Barack Obama, John McCain, Greenpeace, Apple, Susan G. Komen

Facebook Pages: Why They Work

  • It’s free – Unlike MySpace which charges for-profit businesses for branded sites, Facebook pages are free to create for everyone.
  • More customizable than group pages – You can use your organizations’ logo and arrange the content boxes to work with the layout of your page. No matter the size of your organization or budget, you can build a highly interactive community very cheaply.
  • Stream content from other sites – By using Facebook applications such as RSS feeds, MyFlickr, and YouTube Video Box, you can easily manage your Facebook page with minimal work. Many of these applications simply aggregate the content you post on the other sites so you don’t have to do double the work.
  • “Fans” self-select – The people who want your content can opt-in to it, which means these users are most likely champions for your brand or cause who will help build a Facebook community that promotes your organization. If naysayers post something about you in the message boards or wall, it won’t be too long before a fan counters or corrects the comment. This will most likely put your executive board at ease, since this is a huge concern for company leadership with launching social media initiatives.
  • Fans Help Spread the Word – Facebook is social in nature and has many features to help spread the word about your page. When people become fans of your organization, it will show up on their mini-feeds, which all of their friends will see and (hopefully) click on. Depending on how popular you want your site to be, you will have to conduct some basic marketing to hype up your site, but at least you can count on others to do some of the work for you, too.
  • Metrics and monitoring tools – Each page has a comprehensive monitoring capability called Facebook Insights. This allows you to monitor the effectiveness of your page and to bring specific demographic information back to the boardroom. Insights can also help you refine your Facebook ad campaign, if you have one.

Like any social media tool, I am sure there are downsides to Facebook pages and their effectiveness depends on the organization and brand. From my basic research, it looks like non-profits and politicians tend to do better than companies.  If you are interested in learning more about pages, here are some more in-depth resources to check out:

Facebook Pages Official Link

Facebook Developer’s Blog: Introduction to Creating Facebook Pages

Facebook Pages Terms and Regulations

Why Facebook? Mari Smith’s blog about Facebook “for fun and profits”

A post by Mari specific to pages for business purposes

Inside Facebook Pages

(If you have any others, feel free to add in the comments!)



16 thoughts on “Facebook Pages: Using Them to Benefit Your Organization

  1. Very timely post, I am working to start an organization at UT Austin whose aim is to bring social technologies to the university community. As part of that, we needed a presence on Facebook, but I wondered if it was “appropriate” to have a Facebook Page or just a group. Your post hits on what I think is one of the key strengths of Facebook Pages – customizability with the ability to bring in much more content from around the web.

    If you’re curious, our site is UTweet.org.

  2. I’ve been trying to figure out the difference between pages and groups, from an implementation perspective, for the last several month. Some of your points made me look at my current facebook strategy differently.

    For instance, I think I should have made ‘pages’ for each of my podcasts, but a ‘group’ for my company. Still time to ponder…

  3. @Ed Healy Bear in mind I am no expert by any means, but I think this might be a strategy to consider:

    1. Make a page for your company so that you can upload the logo/pictures/other interactive content about your company that you can’t upload to a group site
    2. Stream/post/upload your podcasts on the page
    3. If you still feel the need, create a group that directs people to your page/web site/blog

    I think this is what I took away from the seminar yesterday. Good luck, and I’d be interested to see how it turns out for you.

  4. Thanks for the props, Meg! 🙂 Excellent post.

    For solo professionals and small business owners, one strategy that can work well is to first focus on building a significant network of friends (at least 1000) on your personal profile. Then create a Fan Page and incentivize friends to “fan” the Page, e.g. offering content not seen elsewhere, offering a forum for promotion and networking, running a contest, prize drawing, etc.

    For larger organizations, it may be more effective to start with a Facebook Page first.

    Two main downsides to Pages are (1) the stories don’t push out into the Feeds as much as with Profiles. The main visibility in Feeds comes when new fans join your Page. (2) unlike Groups, broadcasts don’t go into fans’ inboxes, rather a separate area called Updates.


  5. Meg, what a great post! The one opportunity I had to dabble in Facebook for a client, we went with a group page rather than an actual page and then got a little frustrated with the lack of customisation later. If only I could’ve read this first! Definitely worth bookmarking.

  6. Hi Mari,

    So glad you stopped by and thank you for your great insight. I really like the idea of offering incentives to draw people to the page – that’s a great way to encourage interaction and engagement.

    Hi Daryl,

    Thank you for stopping by and I’m glad you found this post valuable.


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  9. Hi Meg,

    Great post. I am looking to upgrade my company page and that of a client’s. They are a national organization that has multiple local branches under them who would also need their own pages. I am definitely going to make the national entity a page and will probably make the local chapters a page as well. It looks like groups have one or two good advantages over a page but lack any sort of custimization.

    Good stuff.



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  11. Please help me with my assements task .I need socail networking managers position and there duty or just a chart diagram about the organization .


  12. I would like to have a facebook page for our organization but I am concerned about the comments that others users will put on the page, I mean from a legal prespective what if some one doesn’t like your organization for some reason and post some hate comments, how can one avoid that?

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