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?
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.
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