Does Facebook matter to social enterprise?

Facebook is truly the granddaddy of social networks. With ‘mobile first’ platforms like Instagram, Vine and Snapchat capturing the all-important youth market, does Facebook still matter?


Dutch researcher Gergana Tyaneva looks at why Facebook is still important for social entrepreneurs and points to helpful resources and examples of success.

‘The social enterprise sector in the UK is thriving. With start-up rates and growth confidence significantly higher than that of regular SME’s it’s an exciting place to operate. Yet as recent research shows gaining finance to sustain growth is still challenging. With tight marketing budgets but big opportunities, social media is an ever crucial component in getting a new social brand off the ground. Even though brands are not built overnight, the fairytale predictions of social media and its palpable effects on ROI is proving increasingly to be true. According to a 2012 report from the McKinsey Global Institute there still remains $1.3 trillion in untapped value lying in the correct adoption of social media and communication tools within the enterprise.

Yet, young brands should choose carefully which social media channels to invest time and resources in. Here we focus on the benefits of Facebook as a primary social media marketing tool for the social enterprise. Despite its maturity, with 24 million active users in the UK Facebook still provides a range of tools that can support the classic processes of acquiring new customers, engaging in lasting conversation with the current base and promoting social objectives to a wider circle of stakeholders.  As social enterprises adopt commercial strategies in order to achieve social or environmental aims, most nominal recommendations on both Non-Profit’s and SME’s use of Facebook are applicable. Successful strategies are often the most simple. It’s important to not forget the basics:

  • Telling your story
  • Sharing rich engaging content
  • Creating a dialogue
  • Amplifying your impact
  • Measuring & optimising

MIT Sloan recently published a useful how-to guide explaining basic tactics for building Facebook brand engagement. Success on Facebook is based on active conversation and strong content marketing strategies. One of the most relevant uses of Facebook for the social enterprise is to humanise the brand and more directly emphasise the impact of the business on its community.

So what does success on Facebook look like and how can you measure it?

Unfortunately, too much digital marketing still focuses on irrelevant metrics. Often overlooking the fact that social media success is not based on the same principles as the other marketing channels on the Web. Facebook is all about engagement, hence actions (defined by the business) and the cost of these per action are the main metrics for success.


Jamie’s Oliver’s “Fifteen” is a great example of a social enterprise that utilises it’s Facebook page as a powerful marketing tool. Through daily photos the restaurant promotes its meals in order to attract regular customers. Furthermore, there are numerous contests giving away free meals, cross-selling to the existing user base. Finally, the social context and story is proudly accented by photos of the young apprentices that are part of the social teaching program in the restaurant.


Another example we love comes from the U.S. social enterprise Inventure. The enterprise uses it’s Facebook page to promote current services and regularly inform it’s social impact. Co-operation and collaborations are also key; Inventure works regularly with other social enterprises and charity influencers to support their causes thus amplifying their message further by cross-posting across streams.'


Brand Response combines expert design, strategy & data services with the web's most powerful community organising tools to help social enterprises run more effective digital campaigns.

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