Quarriers Facebook Fan Page – the journey

This guest post was written by Marc Bowker at Quarriers. It’s a very interesting look at how they developed their Facebook presence and the tools they used.  Let us know if you would like to share a “How you did it” with other charities.

What we do

Quarriers is one of the largest social care charities in Scotland with over 150 services across Scotland and in the South West of England. We broadly split these services into four areas of work: Adult Disability, Children & Families, Epilepsy and Young Adults.

Facebook – where it all began

Quarriers have been using Facebook since March 2009 as part of an exercise to establish an online presence for the organisation across the most popular social networks.

We originally set out with the standard ‘friend’ page and initially built-up friends who were staff and slowly tapped into their networks to become our friend on Facebook. We populated our page with events and links and that’s pretty much as far as we got.

We then linked our Twitter account directly with our Facebook page so our ‘tweets’ were seen by potentially two separate networks of people keeping them up to date.

As time went on, we realised that you could only message a certain number of people at a time from our ‘friend’ page. After researching what other charities’ pages looked like on Facebook, we decided to establish a Quarriers Facebook fan page, the main reason for this was that you could simply click ‘send update to fans’ and therefore send a message to all your fans.

Excellent, or so we thought. We really struggled getting above 70 fans even though we had well over 100 friends at the time. But we persevered and added photos, weblinks and linked it directly with our blog so that posts would automatically be placed on Facebook and even added a Twitter tab so fans could see our ‘tweets’.

Within the last six weeks we’ve used the ‘Facebook friend suggestion’ tool to recruit ‘mutual friends’ of existing friends which has seen a significant increase, over 350 additional friends. More people to tell about our fan page among other things.

However, we really needed to do something with our fan page to make it more appealing and to increase the number of fans we had. But just how would we do this?

Sproutbuilder

Since June, Quarriers have used Sprout and their web based software Sproutbuilder. It was used to create a widget for a campaign we’re running for young homeless people which was posted on our Facebook and Bebo pages. That’s all we had used it for up until we saw a ‘tweet’ from Sprout advertising the fact that you could use Sproutbuilder to create a bespoke Facebook fan page.

Wow, we thought, that’s exactly what we needed!

After looking through the examples of existing fan pages built with Sproutbuilder, we decided to create one of our own.

This was really timely too as we were going through a period of change in terms of restructuring our services into four areas of work and as a result introducing four sub-brands including new colours. So our new Facebook fan page would be the first public outing for our new sub-brands.

So how did we create it? Fortunately, we had a volunteer working with our communications team who had the skills to create a template using Adobe Photoshop. She built three layers which would create the three click through pages of information which you can see on the fan page.

These templates as well as the images and logos were then uploaded to Sproutbuilder where it then allows you to pull in a variety of tools including a slideshow and twitterfeed which is what we have used.

You can then preview your fan page and see exactly how it will appear to people viewing it on Facebook and make any necessary tweaks.

Once you’re happy, the next step is to make it live on Facebook. This is the trickiest bit, however, Sproutbuilder have a video tutorial which is really useful and provides step-by-step instructions on how to do it. It involves some fiddly tinkering within Facebook to make your page visible.

Who can see the fan page?

The best thing about the fan page is that you can make it the default landing page so that people who you send the link to will immediately see the bespoke branded page rather than the usual Facebook news feed on your wall. However, the downside is that it’s only people who are not yet fans who will land on the bespoke page.

Anybody who is an existing fan will land on the Wall and will therefore have to click the tab that you have assigned to your bespoke page, in our case the ‘About Quarriers’ tab. That said, it’s really new fans you’re trying to attract to your page.

Another hurdle to cross is the fact that you have to actually click something on the fan page to activate it, ie. make the slideshow and twitterfeed work. Rather than leave people guessing that you have to do this, we put a post-it note up (literally) saying ‘click to make me work’.

We have tried to keep our fan page functional but simple at the same time by splitting the page into two columns.

When you visit our fan page you’ll see a big Quarriers logo top left. Beneath that is a slideshow with four images that depict the four areas of our work. Below that is a fundraising events section with links to events that people can sign up to.

On the right hand side you begin with a Twitter feed which shows our latest tweet, you can also click an arrow to display older tweets. Below that is information about Quarriers which is brief and to the point. However you can click the Read More link and it then drops down to display more information depicting the four areas of our work.

Below that is a box displaying a link to our website and also links to all the social networks we’re on including Facebook, Bebo, Twitter and YouTube.

Finally there is box that when you click on it will display our latest blog posts with the option to actually open up our blog in a separate window.

You can find our fan page at http://www.facebook.com/quarriersfans

The final step, now that we had an appealing fan page, was to recruit more fans. In the last week we have used the Suggest to Friends link provided by Facebook which has seen an increase of nearly 100 fans so far. We’ll be asking our Facebook friends to do the same so we can build a solid foundation of fans.

Facebook’s redesign – what has been changed and how you’re affected

Facebook has made a number of major changes to their site, some more obvious than others. Facebooks goal is to make the site faster and more streamline and at the same time deliver the latest updates from friends and pages faster.

Facebook Groups – what you need to know

Facebook groups are a great way to get supporters involved in a discussion or gathered around a campaign but they are never a substitute for your Facebook Fan Page.

Ask Facebook fans to suggest charity to friends

Every brand has a Facebook Fan Page these days but most are struggling to get past three digits worth of Fans and loose interest quickly.

Facebook Brand fan pages – what you need to know

Facebook has many useful tools such as Groups or Events that can make a non-profits life a bit easier and help to draw people to important fundraisers and causes.

What is Facebook? Short guide for charity

Facebook is a Social Network originally starting as a closed network for University students, in 2006 Facebook opened it’s doors to everyone over the age of 13.

Discounts from CouponChief.com

Most online retailers these days offer a way to enter a discount code when you’re about to pay for your goods online. Problem is how do you know where to get a discount code from, it’s not like they advertise them that widely or make them easy to find.

Usually we spend time trawling forums trying to find up to date codes (frustrating) or asking friendly bricks and mortar staff if they know of any. Having signed up for CouponChief.com  we can simply search for a coupon or browse through a list of merchants till we find either the service we want or a store carrying the product we need.

You don’t need to register to use the site but we thought we would go for the full experience so we could Tag and Share discounts with the community.

Our view is simple. As charities / non-profits if we can save even 1% we should and CouponChief makes the process so quick and easy. Select the relevant discount, copy it and then visit the site using the button next to the discount code.

When you have finished shopping and get to the checkout page keep your eyes open for a Voucher Discount field, it might have been filled in already for you, if not paste in the code you copied earlier.

Check out as normal and your discount will be applied.

The future of social media gaming champions online

You will be forgiven for thinking: “What has a video game got to do with social media?”

Well, as it happens, rather a lot. You see Champions Online the follow-up to the hit MMOG City of Heroes/Villains is the first AAA game title I’m aware of to integrate social media features directly into the game.

What is Champions Online?

CO as it’s known to the players, is a Superhero themed, Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG) where users create their own Superhero and battle evil villains. As players gain skills and defeat the bad guys, they level-up and earn perks and other in-game items to help their super hero progress and take on bigger villains.

The game’s setting comes from a pen and paper role playing game from the 1980′s that has  proven to be very popular over time.

Setting up Champions Online social features

To get started you will need to use the /Slashcommand in your chat box. Type in /socialmedia and hit enter, a new window will appear with four social sites in columns. The first two are Twitter and Facebook the ones we all care about.

Click on the COG symbol above each column and it will start the set-up process for that social network. Follow the on screen instructions, you will usually need to use your Alt + Tab keyboard shortcuts to minimise the game and load a web browser.

The Social Features use Twitter Oauth and Facebook Connect which both require a browser to authorise, Twitter is quick and easy Facebook will require you to Alt+Tab back into the game to continue each stage of the setup in total it takes just a couple of minutes to setup both Twitter and Facebook.

Being a Social Media Hero

The world of Social Media has opened up a lot of very cool possibilities and Champions Online takes advantage of Social Media in a very unique way, any major action or reward your character receives in game can be automatically pushed to Twitter or Facebook (or both) as a status update. So when we defeat FoxBat (An in game villain) a Status update will be sent to Facebook that looks like this:

“ForceKitty has completed the perk Vanquished Foxbat! – in Champions Online”

Sorry should introduce ForceKitty, our crime fighting Super Hero.

Social screen shots

If you use the /Slash command and enter /socialscreenshot into your chat box and hit enter, the game will take a picture of that moment and upload it to Facebook and Twitter. It’s not just your achievements in the game but also the story you would like to tell your friends as you play.

Over time and as ForceKitty levels-up these features provide an almost comic book story that you can share with friends along the way.

You can also use /socialstatus to push a status update to your social network. Just type in /socialstatus Your status update and hit enter.

The future

We believe Champions Online will be the first of many to integrate social media into their games to help the game experience to continue out of the game. Of course it’s a great way to advertise a game to friends and friends of friends. We hear that both World of WarCraft and StarCraft 2 will feature social media integration in the future as well.

Thinking ahead

It’s clear that over the next 12 months, social media is going to continue to be integrated into anything and everything that moves, from video games to TV remotes.

If you’re currently in the development stages with a new product or service you could do worse than look to social media as a way to extend the reach of your service and create new ways for users to interact and discover the work you are doing.

Twitter clients TweetDeck for non-profits

TweetDeck is the world’s most popular Twitter client. It really makes Twitter easy to use on  a continual basis without having to keep Twitter.com open in your web browser.

As a software download it installs onto your computer (Windows Mac Linux) via an Adobe Air application.

TweetDeck’s core features (Taken from Tweetdeck.com):

For non-profits the features packed into TweetDeck can save you a huge amount of time and make keeping track of 10,000′s of followers a snap. Using the Groups feature you can add followers you want to keep a closer track of into a group with just a few clicks.

TweetDeck will give you a special column or deck as they are called that constantly tracks those users in the group.

@replies and Direct Messages are quick and easy as each is assigned its own column (deck) which you can see side-by-side making at a glance checks of your Twitter feed really easy.

A host of other more advanced features like link shortening, image preview and even spam reporter make TweetDeck one of the best all-round Twitter clients for non-profits.

If you’re an iPhone user, you can even have TweetDeck for your iPhone and using TweetDeck Sync you can update columns between computers and your phone which is very cool.

The price of all this is FREE! So there is no excuse for not becoming a Twitter addict.

How to make money with your mobile website

The mobile web is about to explode and you need to know how to make money from your mobile website, thanks to the rise of smart phones and social media, but one of the biggest challenges for charities is how to make it cost-effective when traditionally the mobile web has been a slow burner as far as ROI goes.

Twitter on mobile phones has changed all that and now the mobile web is coming alive with lots of new users hungry for information in the palm of their hands. This sudden growth spurt in mobile web access didn’t go unnoticed by Google who is a huge player in online advertising as well as Search.

We will be talking about Mofuse Mobile Website builder in this article as well Charities can get a 20% discount from this details page.

How to make money from your mobile website from day one!

Using Google AdSense for mobile is easy and more importantly gives a cost per click (CPC) much higher than a usual AdSense advert. In our experiments we would get around 13p a click on a traditional AdSense advert but on a mobile AdSense advert it’s £1.42.

Yes, you read that right. Well over £1 per click on mobile AdSense. The reason for this is simply because there are so few mobile web users proportional to desktop web, advertisers will pay more to acquire a click from mobile users.

Build a mobile website and monetise it in a day

Using MoFuse premium it’s simple to pull in your content via RSS from your full size site, add Google Analytics and generate a mobile sitemap to help the search engines find your mobile site and send you visitors.

You can add the Google AdSense mobile code directly into a section of the Mofuse site and select if you want the advert to appear top or bottom of your site.

It will probably take you less than six hours to do all that and that’s with ample playing around time. We built two mobile websites in 24 hours . It really is simple.

Advanced redirection for mobiles

If you want to redirect any users from your main website that are using a mobile device automatically to your mobile site you can use a bit of code that you add into your main website’s template.

Mofuse provide code for both PHP and ASP to suit your development environment. This is a very effective way to boost views of your mobile website and if it’s an exact copy of your main site (via rss feed) users will appreciate the easier to read presentation of the content compared to your full size site.