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becomeafan.jpgFacebook has become a very popular tool for businesses and nonprofits. It is largely considered one of the best ways to reach customers and donors via social media because information is delivered directly to people's news feeds on topics they have already expressed interest in. Many organizations have gotten into the habit of promoting their Facebook page more enthusiastically than even their own website.

Don't fall into this trap. It's dangerous for several reasons.

You don't own your relationships with your Facebook fans
Organizations that spend time and money marketing on Facebook are driving prospects to a property that they don't own. They are voluntarily putting a middleman between the company and the people they want to communicate with. Facebook controls the data about its users. If Facebook changes their policy for how you can interact with your Facebook contacts there is not much that can be done about it.

You have to pay for your fans to see your posts
Many Facebook marketers are not aware of the fact that when they post an update on Facebook, it only shows up in the timeline of some of the people who have liked their company's page. Facebook recently implemented a feature that allows organizations to promote posts to show up in more people's timelines. The catch is that you have to pay for it.

It's unclear how valuable those 'likes' really are
Facebook doesn't give access to information about users who interact with an organization's page, making it difficult to quantify the value of those interactions. One study from Syncapse Corp found that on average, a customer who is a Facebook fan is worth $136.38 more than one who is not. But a recent BBC investigation revealed that companies working to generate as many Facebook 'likes' as possible may be wasting their time and money. Spammers are apparently mass-producing false profiles and generating large communities for them by 'liking' as many pages as possible.

NationBuilder can help you remove the middleman and reclaim your relationships with your supporters.

NationBuilder helps you gather information about all of your contacts and your interactions with those contacts - including social media interactions - all in one place. Anytime someone follows or mentions you on Twitter, likes a post on Facebook, or signs into your website with their Twitter or Facebook accounts, a supporter record is automatically created in your database. NationBuilder then takes any public data those contacts have shared in their online profiles - like their photo, bio, additional social media profiles, and contact information - and adds it to their record. 

Then, you can quickly pull up supporter information in the control panel using a name, email or Twitter ID to add additional data and add your contacts to lists. This functionality gives you a powerful way to organize your supporters so they can be targeted for followup communication.

Instead of driving them back to Facebook, you can direct supporters to your NationBuilder website where they can have a higher level of engagement and interaction with your company or nonprofit.

These tools give you the ability to take back control of your relationships with your prospects and customers.

Photo by Emery Allen via Flickr.

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