Tuesday, 19 July 2011

How much business can you attribute to Facebook? Case study for Redwings Horse Sanctuary

1. Redwings Horse Sanctuary

Fans: 5569
Launched: Spring 2010
Link:  Redwings Horse Sanctuary
Redwings is the UK’s largest horse charity and are doing amazing things to improve the lives of rescued horses, donkeys and mules.  They have a fantastic website indicating how people can help, but they have been using their facebook page to build community and engage with people who might not connect with them in a traditional way.    One of the things I would definitely recommend for them though is that they give their facebook page a LOT more profile on their main website as I think they could do a lot by using them together.
What has Facebook meant to your business?
Facebook is very exciting for Redwings as it allows us to directly engage with our supporters, and to attract a new generation of supporters who may not necessarily interact with charities in the more traditional ways, such as direct mail.
It has brought us valuable media coverage through a Facebook campaign we ran in conjunction with Spillers Horse Feeds (see below); and by being able to see what information and appeals people respond to best, it gives us some incredibly valuable insights into how we can make our charity relevant and effective, particularly in such a competitive marketplace.
How much business can you attribute to Facebook?
As we are a charity it is very difficult to say how many donations and other supporter responses are directly attributable to Facebook. We know it is very useful in driving traffic to our website and to our visitor centres and events but the process of giving to a charity is usually inspired by engaging with the charity in more than one way.
However, we saw a direct result from Facebook via the Spillers campaign which resulted in us being donated an incredible 18ts of free feed in the Autumn, at a time when we really needed it, so it can have solid, tangible results. We are currently using Facebook to encourage potential fundraisers to get involved with various monthly themes such as ‘Run for Redwings’ or July’s theme which is the ‘Great Cake Bake’ and because this is something people can naturally share with their friends and discuss amongst themselves it seems to be working well.
What would you recommend to someone just developing their Facebook page?
Be prepared to put the time in. There is no point setting up a Facebook page if you are not prepared to give the time needed to update it, and it’s vital to its success that you don’t just post bland corporate messages from your organisation and sit back. To get the most from it you need to answer people’s questions and really engage in dialogue with them, otherwise they will soon lose interest. Establish a ‘voice’ from your organisation that is appropriate for your brand (you may want to keep it to one person so it is consistent and ‘on message’ at all times) and stick to it.
And be prepared for anything – we have had all sorts of questions and enquiries posted on our page, so make sure you and your directors are aware of that before you start. Facebook sometimes has a life of its own and a conversation about your business may not always go in the direction you want! Honest and open dialogue is the best way to deal with this, resist the temptation to delete!
What was your most effective strategy for getting likes?
We worked with Spillers Horse Feeds on a campaign for free feed for our ponies. They kindly offered to donate 1kg of feed for every person who clicked ‘Like’ on their Team Spillers Facebook page over a set period – the total was over 15,000 likes, which they made up to 18ts of free feed for our ponies, an incredible result.
We supported it through PR activity and on our own Facebook page – which meant we received several thousand ‘Likes’ on our own page in the process. However, we have actually found that for us the single best way of getting ‘Likes’ has been the simplest; we post a ‘cute Friday picture’ every Friday of horses and donkeys from the Sanctuary and it always has a great response. People pass it on to their friends and it’s a great way to get new recommendations. It just shows that Facebook should be fun, don’t take it too seriously and it will soon begin to reap rewards for you!
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