Carie Lewis, Internet Marketing Manager
Humane Society of the United States
We caught up with Carie Lewis for an interview about using social networking sites and Facebook to reach a whole new group of audiences and spread your message.
As part of her job, Carie leads online advertising and web 2.0 campaigns for the nation’s largest and most powerful animal welfare organization. She plans, implements, and evaluates the organization’s advocacy and donation campaigns for the purpose of list growth. Within the organization, she helps departments market their campaigns, issues, and events online. She has a strong passion for using web 2.0 tools, particularly social networks, for community building and advocacy participation. Carie is a member of the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) and has been interviewed for articles on Techsoup, Care2, and Blogher. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems from Salisbury University
1. How long have you been using Facebook and how have you been using it?
We’ve been using Facebook for about three months now. We have a group on Facebook and we are also participating in the Causes, Change.org, and Care2 applications.
2. Have you been successful at raising awareness and money for your cause on Facebook and if so how?
As it is with joining any new network, it takes plenty of time and effort to build support. We’ve done a bit of outreach to people who have joined other animal-related groups, as well as cross-promoted with our MySpace network. We’ve gotten off to a good start in raising money on Facebook, simply by collaborating with Project Agape, who runs the Facebook Causes application. The application allows people to create causes they are passionate about and in turn allows them to direct any funds raised to our organization. They get social recognition via an applet on their profile for raising funds and recruiting people to the cause. They can also collaborate via comments and message boards with like minded people – many whom otherwise would be strangers to them. That is what I think makes it so successful. We are there to offer advice, answer questions, provide resources, and encourage involvement.
3. Before getting started on Facebook, you had great success on MySpace. Which social networking site did you find to be most effective and in what way?
I think it’s a little too early to tell, but so far, we’ve seen more success with fundraising on Facebook, and advocacy on MySpace. This is mostly because of the third party applications that are available on Facebook, which make it easier to participate in group fundraising. There’s something really “grassroots-y” about MySpace; it’s a little “edgier” than Facebook. Facebook is built on networks and how you’re connected to others into those networks, whether it be location, school, or workplace. It’s very clean and structured. MySpace is more of a free-for-all, and I think people like the fact that they can do whatever they want on their page. So if they want to post banners, videos, or other content, then can do so wherever they like. Our advocacy banners are very popular on MySpace, but people don’t really have any place to put them on Facebook. They can, however, feature us as a nonprofit or one of our causes that they support on their Facebook profile. We’ve also been involved on MySpace for a lot longer and therefore have gotten more exposure and opportunity to do outreach. It’s important to remember that every network is different and has a different crowd.
4. How did you build up your members’ network?
We promoted our Facebook profile to our MySpace crowd of about 29,000 friends, added a link to our website, and each time someone creates a cause using the Facebook Causes application, we thank them and invite them to join our group. Many times people become our friend by simply seeing our group listed in their friends’ groups, so it’s a great viral / word of mouth recruitment tool.
5. What applications are you using to spread your message (such as the Causes app, the Change.org app, and the new Care2 app)?
We’re participating in all 3 and have developed close business relationships with each one of them.
6. Why and how has using these applications been effective? Can you share some stats?
So far, we’ve raised about $5,000 on the Facebook Causes application.
7. How much time does it take to incorporate and maintain your Facebook page?
Outreach is the most time consuming. It was easy to get started; we created an account, filled in all the information, put up some photos, and started a conversation on the discussion board. But we need people to participate and keep the group lively. It’s no good to just talk to ourselves. So it takes the most time to recruit new people. Not just any new people – people who care about animals and animal welfare issues. Then, it takes time to keep the group fresh and interesting, as well as communicate with our group. It’s important to us that we respond to every message personally, as well as participate in discussion board and wall posts. That’s what makes social networking what it is.
8. What advice would you give others who want to use Facebook to advance their cause?
- Spend time on outreach and building your friend list to people who care about your issues.
- Participate in third party applications and even consider creating your own.
- Respond to all incoming messages, discussion threads, and wall posts. Participate regularly in your group! If no one is saying anything, start a topic!
- Post your latest news and campaign info in the discussion board and save the individual messaging for breaking news and take action requests.
- Ask people to repost your events and links as notes or posted items on their profiles.
- Upload videos, photos, and events to your profile and ask people to post their related content.
- Build relationships with the application developers and companies behind the applications.
- Take advantage of the “officers” section of your group. We haven’t done this yet, but I’ve seen it used as a great way to keep members engaged and encourage them to recruit to your group.
- Recruit people from similar groups by inviting them to join your group.
9. If you were to share some lessons learned about running a campaign on Facebook, what are the five most important things to consider?
nptech nonprofit web2.0
- Participate in the causes application by creating campaign-specific causes instead of a cause for your organization. People relate better to specific issues or campaigns that they are passionate about.
- Take the time to keep your content fresh and updated; don’t just create a group and walk away.
- Monitor what people are talking about and use the group as a forum to express your organization’s stance on certain issues. They will usually respect and appreciate your authority.
- Respond to everyone, no matter what the question or issue. People love having an actual person to connect to from an organization, and two-way communication is what makes social networks so successful.
- Scour Facebook for people that are interested in your cause or issue, and then personally message them. The viral aspect of getting one person involved who has hundreds of friends can be a huge payoff.