Facebook's New Public Profile Pages: Good News for Nonprofits

Lori Halley 09 March 2009 17 comments

Facebook just got a lot more friendly for nonprofits with the announcement of Public Profile Pages. This means nonprofits now be able to "share all types of content with an unlimited number of users" and Facebook users will be able to comment on the posted content, just as they would on the personal profile page of any Facebook friend.

It's a giant step toward true two-way communication for nonprofit organizations trying to establish a presence on Facebook. Have a look at the new and improved NonProfit Organizations on Facebook to see what this change looks like in practice.

Effectively, Public Profile Pages give nonprofit organizations, businesses, celebrities and other public figures and groups the same full functionality for social networking that's been enjoyed by individual (non-public) Facebook members – something long requested by nonprofit groups frustrated in their attempts to interact with their supporters on Facebook, rather than simply "broadcast" to them.

Here is how Facebook's press release, 4 March 2009, explains this significant change in policy for the social network:

Evolving to Profiles for Everyone and Everything on Facebook

Facebook is moving towards offering everyone and everything on the site the same experience as with profiles – personal web pages that currently represent each of the more than 175 million users on Facebook. In the next week, all administrators of Facebook Pages will have the opportunity to make changes to the new design and can publish the updated design for all users to see whenever they choose. On March 11th, these Pages will automatically change to the new profile design.

Public profiles will be familiar to all Facebook users because they have the same look and function as the current profiles, including these popular features:

Wall – The Wall displays the most recent and relevant information on a profile. The Wall is a collection of what a celebrity or public entity shares as well as what those connected to them are sharing. People can now easily comment on the content posted.

Publisher – Just as a user can add content such as status updates, photos, and videos to any of their connections’ profiles, the Publisher provides a simple interface for sharing content.

Tabs and Applications – Celebrities and public entities choose the default Tab that all users see when they land on their profile. Some applications that a celebrity or public entity has added to their profile are featured on the Boxes Tab.

News Feed – Users will receive updates in News Feed from public profiles just like how they receive updates from their friends and family. Every time users visit Facebook, they’ll see the latest content from their friends, celebrities, and others they care about.

Check out http://www.facebook.com/FacebookPages for more information, and links to Facebook's best practices guides – there's one specifically for Communities (non-profit organizations, universities, religious organizations, etc.) and step-by-step instructions to get started.

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Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Published Monday, 09 March 2009 at 8:00 AM

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  • Ian Wilker said:

    Monday, 09 March 2009 at 5:09 AM

    Personally I detest the whole artifice of "interacting" with an <strong>institution.</strong> I interact with <strong>people</strong> -- not with logos.

    Why not have a two-faceted approach to establishing presence on a social network: Set up a mostly broadcast-style institutional presence, and then get your people -- who are probably on Facebook anyway and (depending on the job they do for the institution) have loads of experience acting in public on behalf of the institution -- to talk about their work and their passion for it to others in the network?

  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Monday, 09 March 2009 at 10:23 AM

    Interesting point, Ian!  Adding "interactive functions" to an organization's Facebook Page doesn't alter the fact that there's got to be a human behind the communication. Facebook (as I keep saying, ad nauseum) was designed as a person-to-person social network, and that continues to be the realm in which it is most effective for most.

    I very much like the double-pronged approach you suggest here, Ian. We know it's tought for many organizatons to "let go" and trust its people to carry the message, but then, "control" of a brand or message in social media is largely an illusion, anyway!

  • Laura Megill said:

    Wednesday, 01 April 2009 at 5:01 AM

    Is there any way to connect Facebook and an outside website.  For example, I've been looking for a way to post photos on only one of these sites and feed them to the other.  Same with "News".  I really don't want to be keeping up two parallel sites.  Thanks for your help.

  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Wednesday, 01 April 2009 at 8:46 AM

    Laura, if I understand what you're looking for here, this is the direction that Facebook is headed with Facebook Connect -- read more here http://developers.facebook.com/connect.php. For "News" you might also use the Notes application to bring your blog's RSS feed into your Facebook space, whether that's your personal Profile or your organization's Page.  

  • CJ said:

    Sunday, 10 May 2009 at 1:24 PM

    Can you advise about how to create multiple FBML tabs on a single page?  

    This page http://www.facebook.com/advertising/FacebookPagesProductGuide.pdf states:

    You can add as many as 10 FMBL modules to the Boxes and “Wall” tab of your Page (up to four on the Wall tab). The Static FBML application is also available as a full tab, where you can embed Flash animations. The FBML tab can be as wide as 760-pixels and has no restrictions on height.

    I have seen pages that appear to have multiple FBML tabs but cannot figure out how to add more than one.


  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Sunday, 10 May 2009 at 2:46 PM

    CJ, can you give an example of a Facebook Page with multiple FBML tabs? I don't think I've seen that before - once there's already an FBML tab, I've always gotten a message that it has already been added and no option to add another -  so I'd like to have a good look at the source code. Is it possible that what you're seeing might be another application running in a tab, such as an HTML-formatted Notes tab, instead of FBML?

  • CJ said:

    Sunday, 10 May 2009 at 6:28 PM

    I found it, if you open the existing FBML tab in edit mode, there is an "Add another FBML box" link at the bottom of the page.

  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Sunday, 10 May 2009 at 6:51 PM

    Wonderful - thank you for sharing that solution, CJ!  

  • Aline said:

    Friday, 31 July 2009 at 9:05 AM

    Hi folks. Thanks for all the good information here - much appreciated.

    I have some questions and concerns about the Facebook account one of my nonprofit clients set up. One of their staffers set it up like it's a regular person, with part of their org's name in Firstname and part in Lastname. A lot of people have signed up as friends, but I worry this is in conflict with Facebook's user rules, and that the organization may not be able to take full advantage of opportunities and tools for nonprofits - like having fans instead of friends, and the like. After all they've done right I'd hate to see them putting a bad foot forward on Facebook.

    Should I suggest to them that they start over?



  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Friday, 31 July 2009 at 9:58 AM

    Hi Aline, you're right to be concerned - and better to make the change now than to wait until you've collected even more "friends" who should more properly be "fans" of your organization.

    See http://www.facebook.com/terms.php and specifically http://www.facebook.com/help.php?page=173

    Question: "I'm trying to register a presence for a business, product, or public figure"

    Facebook: "We do not allow these entities to maintain personal profiles, but you can create a Facebook Page. Pages can only be created to represent a real public figure, artist, brand or organization, and may only be created by an official representative of that entity. Find out more about Facebook Pages."

    Our own "basic how-to" post on setting up a Facebook Page, although written some time ago, might also be useful to you: https://www.wildapricot.com/blogs/newsblog/archive/2008/06/16/how-to-set-up-a-non-profit-facebook-page.aspx (be sure to read the comments - readers bring a lot of great information after an article is posted.)

    Hope this helps!

  • Aline said:

    Saturday, 01 August 2009 at 7:42 AM

    Oh Rebecca! Thank you very much for your helpful reply. Yeek. I hope I can help them get things straightened out. Your reply and the links within will get me started.

    Much appreciated.

  • Wild Apricot Blog said:

    Thursday, 20 August 2009 at 8:10 PM

    For some time, Twitter users have been able to publish their Twitter updates automatically to Facebook.

  • Aline said:

    Wednesday, 16 September 2009 at 3:16 PM

    Hi there. Thanks again for the great advice.

    As you and others suggested, I've set up a PAGE for my client and am now in the unenviable position of trying to migrate 600+ friends to fans. Plus there are the 140+ friend requests that have built up while no one was really riding herd on the original (and somewhat "illegal") profile. Gah. If you have any hot suggestions on making this change, I'm really, really open to them.


    So far, I've posted a couple of "hey everybodys" through the page's share option, and I'm writing individual messages to the people lingering in the friend request list.

    I think the page has actually turned out quite cute and is better suited to the organization than a profile was. Now if we can just get people over there...

    Thanks again!

  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Thursday, 17 September 2009 at 7:45 AM

    Glad that we were able to help you out, Aline. It sounds to me like you're doing all the right things, to try to shift those Friends over to Fans, but yes, I'll certainly give some more thought to other tactics you might try, and tap my sources to see what others have done... and perhaps some other readers will have eperiences to share that can help you out.

  • Aline said:

    Saturday, 19 September 2009 at 9:40 AM

    Thanks Rebecca. This site helped me understand what changes needed to occur and to be able to convince the organization it was necessary. Adding the specific advice and thoughts you and your readers have supplied has really been great. I'll check back to see if anyone's got suggestions. People seem to be slowly adding themselves as fans, but there's no way I can shut down the existing profile yet.

    Of course, that creates another problem anyway - I'm not a Facebook user and don't want to be on there personally, so log in as an authorized person to use the profile to manage the page! Tangled little web...


  • Kristina_letsbounce said:

    Wednesday, 16 November 2011 at 9:59 PM
    I have a non profit facebook page, but many of the people I am reaching out to with this page do not have facebook accounts. How can I change my settings so they can access my page without having to log in?
  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Thursday, 17 November 2011 at 1:53 PM
    Kristina: This is an old post from 2009 and lots has changed with Facebook since then!
    I'm no Facebook expert, but your problem may be that you need to change your privacy settings so that all are "public." If that doesn't work, I did a search on Facebook help for "privacy for nonprofit pages" and it suggested you "edit the default tab" here is a link to the help page: http://www.facebook.com/help/search/?q=privacy+for+nonprofit+pages

    Hope that helps.
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