Anatomy of a Successful Nonprofit Facebook Page: The Humane Society of the United States

Sure, we are all familiar with how to use Facebook to keep in touch with friends, to browse through your cousin’s bridal shower album, or to see what your college roommate had for brunch yesterday. But just being familiar with Facebook as a personal social networking tool does not make you a savvy user of Facebook to promote your nonprofit.

In order to help demonstrate some Facebook Page best practices for nonprofits, this week we are highlighting The Humane Society of the United States‘ excellent Facebook Page.

Here are some great practices from the Humane Society’s Facebook Page:

  • They make things interesting by using a variety of media – The Humane Society mixes things up with different kinds of media in each of their posts, from links to great new pet-friendly products, to videos of successful adoptions to plain old pictures of cuddly puppies. Make sure to always include some sort of media in your status updates to grab your reader’s attention.
  • They keep their followers hooked by posting a range of content–  The HSUS does not use their Facebook Page for just one kind of story or call to action. They use their page to tell success stories, promote and report on events, conduct giveaways and fundraisers, share news stories and useful products, and much more. Most important here is that they don’t just use their page to solicit funds, they elicit sympathy, give useful tips, create rallying cries and post a healthy dose of cute animal photos.
  • They ask their followers to be active participants on the page – The HSUS is always finding ways to get their followers involved on their page, by posting things like “Let us know how you keep your pet cool in the summer in the comments” or “Tag a friend that needs one of these.” They are also responsive to their fans: recently a follower posted that they wanted to donate but were apprehensive about doing so online. The HSUS wrote back immediately with an address to which she could send a check, ensuring that they would receive this valuable contribution.
  • They post at least at least 4-5 times a week – The HSUS is diligent about posting (as well as not over-posting) and often posts special content on holidays such as 4th of July and Mother’s day. You may want to use the “Schedule a Post” function to ensure you are regularly distributing status updates without having to write content daily.
  • They pin their most interesting posts to the top of their wall– The HSUS currently has a pinned post with a photo album featuring a large-scale rescue they did a few days ago. Keeping the most interesting posts pinned makes sure that people quickly browsing the page will always engage with the content you want them to see most.
  • They tag their volunteers and staff in their status updates and photos– Whenever they post stories about important events, they tag the volunteers and staff that made them possible. This ensures that their staff feel appreciated and humanizes the organization to their followers. They may even get their staff and volunteers to write posts for them to keep fresh voices on the page.
  • They use apps and make them accessible on their page – HSUS currently has apps enabled for donating and becoming a member; simplifying this process ensures greater support for the organization.
  • They list upcoming events and allow you to subscribe to them – HSUS keeps an updated list of events on their page, and the simple subscribe button keeps followers informed without having to navigate to the page constantly.

Thumbs up, Humane Society! Keep up the great content!

Cute Puppy

So, if you want to be sure that your health nonprofit’s Facebook Page is reaching and inspiring the most people possible, keep these tips in mind! And be sure to check out Heather Mansfield’s Social Media for Social Good: A How-to Guide for Nonprofits and Lynda.com for more great advice and instructions on using social media for your nonprofit!

Know any other excellent nonprofit Facebook Pages or tips for nonprofits getting started on Facebook? Share them in the comments below!

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6 thoughts on “Anatomy of a Successful Nonprofit Facebook Page: The Humane Society of the United States

  1. Some great practices and content here, Maia! You make the list easy to read with bullets, highlighting how the Humane Society embodies the social media guidelines we learned about last week.

    I think you covered tons here, but the only thing I had questions on was the logistical mechanics of the page: was it an organization page? Did they also have a page to ‘check-in’? Not essential, but perhaps would round out the post.

    This isn’t really feedback, but some of the images on the page made me really teary.

  2. It’s amazing how much impact you have by just bolding your key points. They stick out on the post, and draw your eyes to the essential part of your post. I will admit to being one of those people that sometimes skims posts, so this is a good way to ensure that even a casual reader understands what you’re trying to say. I would have liked to see some screenshots of the homepage, highlighting the features you were discussing. Having to toggle back and forth on my web browser to see what you were describing.

  3. Maia, again this is a great post. I like that you chose one page as a prime example, and talked about all the different practices they use on their page to promote their organization. I agree with Rachel, that the one thing that would improve your blog post is screenshots as examples to some of your points, especially a picture of people with animals. I think the internet has shown us that there is no such thing as too many puppy and kitty photos 🙂

  4. Your blog is full of good tips and resources, which is what many people want when they read a blog. I too like that you bolded your key takeaways and bulleted them. This is a great resource that I will continue to come back to as I use social media and Facebook specifically in my work with public health.

  5. These are very practical successful tips from the Humane Society organization about how to engage public in organization’s mission. I would agree that these techniques can be replicated by many non-profit organizations developing their social media web platforms. Title of the blog is clever and reflects the content of the blog. Great resourceful blog!

  6. Great post Maia! I liked how you made a list and made the points in bold, which really made them stand out. I would have loved to see more pictures 🙂 You make a really good point regarding how some of us use facebook to browse through pictures or see what people are eating. I never realized that facebook had so much potential until I looked at the Humane Society website 🙂 thank you for sharing

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