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A week ago, a small business owner called me to ask for help setting up a Facebook page. Normally she doesn’t rely on Facebook to keep her business going. But in these times of staying home and self-quarantining, she realized that Facebook is the easiest way to stay connected with her customers and her community - even new customers she’s never served before.
She saw the example of the other restaurants selling out of food every day and small businesses that are still operating. They are still bringing in income, and still open for business. That wasn’t happening for her. She saw their example and knew it was time for her to get on the social media train, too.
If you are a small business owner or a nonprofit leader who hasn’t gotten on that train yet – I’m telling you – IT IS NOT TOO LATE!
You might be thinking… “What good is it? Nothing’s going to happen if I do the Facebook thing.”
The only way nothing is going to happen is if you don’t do anything.
Imagine you and I are walking down Main Street in your town. As we walk down the street, we see that every organization or business is holding up a billboard with a big giant neon arrow pointing to their front door. If it’s a restaurant, there’s a sandwich board sign yelling out that they’re open. Every nonprofit organization and business has their specials, services, and sales on display in a big beautiful glass case on the sidewalk.
And then we get to a storefront that’s bare. There’s no sandwich board. There’s no neon arrow. There’s no billboard. There’s not so much as a menu or the hours of operation Scotch taped to the front window. We can’t tell if the lights are on.
So, what do we do? We keep walking.
Why would we try to go in when we don’t even know if they’re open, when we could go to the place next door that is lit up and beckoning for us to come in?
Which business or organization do you want to be?
Do you want people to KNOW you’re open? Do you want people to be attracted to your business or organization? Do you want people to use your services, or buy your products, or donate to your cause? Then you have to tell them!
People aren’t going to seek you out to beg you to serve them. They will pick what’s easiest to use.
And right now, because of the coronavirus, a real-life sign in front of your business is not enough. Everyone is at home. On their computer, or on their phone. THAT IS WHERE YOU NEED TO PUT A SIGN. Where everyone is looking!
It’s not too late to start a Facebook page for your business or organization. It’s not hard, you just have to start with one step at a time. And here’s more good news – Facebook is free.
I always hear people say, “I don’t use Facebook personally – I stay away from it. It’s too much drama.”
If you feel that way too, I know exactly what you mean! But here’s the truth – you don’t have to use Facebook personally in order to have a Facebook page for your business or organization. You do have to have a personal account to set it up, but you don’t even have to put a picture of yourself, or a single bit of personal information besides your name and your email address – and your email address doesn’t even have to be public.
The purpose of your Facebook business page is to talk about your business or your nonprofit. You don’t have to put your personal life on your business or nonprofit Facebook page. If you don’t have a page yet, I know it’s uncomfortable, I know it’s scary – but nothing ventured, nothing gained. You can do this.
Now, if you’re just starting a Facebook page for your business or organization, it’s not going to be business as usual right off the bat – it takes a little time but you’re opening the door to the possibility of business now, and more business later. You’re warming up your customers, patients, or clients. You’re getting the word out that you’re open for business!
If you’re a church administrator – you still have bills to pay, but your congregation is out of sight. Get them involved, you can speak to them directly, you can remind them the church needs their support. You can minister to them through Facebook – that’s what they’re looking at all day, they could be hearing from you!
If you’re a restaurant – you need to let people know that you’re still open (because not every restaurant is), what your hours are, what food you’re serving and how you’re serving it (is it carry out, or drive thru?) Show pictures of your food to remind people of how delicious it is!
Maybe you have to do something different to bring in money these days. Here’s a good example of how social media helped a daycare owner who had to close her business.
Before Easter she started posting on Facebook about her new service. People could pay her to sneak into their yards a day or so before Easter and hide dozens of Easter eggs filled with candy so families could enjoy an Easter egg hunt together without any of the work. Her daycare business might be closed right now, but she saw a need, pivoted, and found a way to make money. Why was it successful? Because she put it on Facebook! She was able to get the word out about it.
My mom told me about how she and my dad were going to get Chinese food the other night, but they couldn’t figure out if their usual restaurant was open or not – so do you know what they did? They looked on Facebook and ordered Chinese food from a different place they knew was open. How did they know? Because of Facebook. Their menu was even on the page! It was easy for customers to see what they wanted and place an order.
I just saw on Facebook a seasonal pizza restaurant in our town is about to re-open, even though there’s a pandemic going on. And do you know what I did as soon as I saw the Facebook post? I sent it to my husband and told him to get ready for pizza night!
But how would I have known if I didn’t see it on Facebook?
I wouldn’t have known because I never drive to that part of town – I’m hardly driving anywhere right now with a pandemic – I’m at home on Facebook with everyone else!
Hopefully by now, you’re convinced that you need to get on Facebook. So how do you start?
Well, first, you have to understand, there is a method. Use the method. This is what businesses that make money do – this is what nonprofits that are still serving and financially stable are doing.
This is the method:
So, for example, if you sell sandwiches, I want you to take a picture of your best, most delicious looking sandwich, add words like, “Yum! Chicken Cashew Sandwiches available for pickup today!” and then tell the customer what to do next with a call to action, “Call 555-5555 to order.”
Remember, you need to make it easy for people to understand that you’re open. You need to make it easy to understand what you’re selling. You need to make it easy to understand what people should do next if they want your service, or your product. And you have to make it visual – Facebook is all about the visual.
So take a picture. Write a sentence. Give your phone number or how to contact you. Make it easy to understand what’s going on.
Just like on our imaginary walk down Main Street – if you don’t make it clear that you’re open for business, people are going to keep on walking by. Open that door to the possibility of business! Get that “billboard” up on Facebook Avenue! Get seen! Get people’s attention!
Here’s what I want you to do THIS WEEK:
If you’re a nonprofit, post one informational post about how you are serving THIS WEEK. And for the other one, use an inspirational post – maybe you’re thanking volunteers, maybe it’s an inspirational quote.
If you’re a business, create one post about one product you sell. And for the second post, do the same thing for another product you sell. It’s that simple.
Just tell the people what you do, sell, or how you help. Remember to include a picture, a sentence, and your phone number.
The only way nothing is going to happen, is if you don’t do anything.
It’s not too late. Start now! YOU CAN DO THIS. I want you to be successful. I will help you. Email me your questions! Get in touch at nonprofitpotential.com/contact
Please share this episode with anyone you know who might be feeling stuck. I appreciate it – and they will too!
Resources to help you get started with the FIRST STEP to becoming Facebook savvy!
Episode 2: Anatomy of a Good Post
Episode 5: What to Post and When?
Episode 6: Handling Comments
Episode 18: Need Ideas for Posts? Here They Are.
Episode 36: 3 Things People Should Know About Your Nonprofit
Download the free guide: How to Set Up a Facebook Page
Download the free guide: How to Interact as Your Organization’s Facebook Page
Remember to subscribe to Unlocking Your Nonprofit Potential wherever you get your podcasts.