Have you ever wonder what it means to “poke” someone on Facebook? Pokes are one of the “social utilities” offered by Facebook to spur connections among people. But what exactly does it mean to poke someone? In essence, poking someone is a simple way to let that person know that you are thinking about them. A simple tool, poking may be able to help you advance your cause, recruit new supporters and grow your fan community on Facebook.
I realize that poking someone may sound like a really informal form of communication. But that is exactly the point. Your communications in the social media world don’t always have to be so formal. While it is true that you want people to take your organization and its cause seriously, don’t forget that social media and networking sites, especially Facebook, are about making new friends and cultivating relationships. To this end, you can use the poke feature on Facebook. When you poke someone, they will receive a poke alert on their home page and, depending on how the recipient’s account is set up, an email will also be sent notifying them of the poke. This friendly nudge can remind friends of your organization and mission as well as attract the attention of other users. In contrast, a formal communication (like a wall post soliciting donations) might not be noticed among all the information constantly streaming through the site.
By giving a simple poke you are showing your members that you care about them and that you want to connect with them. In return, they may be more likely to visit your Facebook Page. Users may even be more inclined to make a donation, sign a petition or spread the word about your cause if a sense of connection is established first. Poking provides a subtle reminder of your organization’s presence without overwhelming and scaring donors away, as would be the case if their inbox were constantly overflowed with invitations and reminders.
The key take-away is that social networking sites are about relationships. Show your members that you care about them. Show them that they are not just one more person in your contact list you turned in every time you need money. Cultivate a relationship with them. And remember to have fun along the way.
Facebook, with over 500 million users, can be a very powerful component of your nonprofit social media strategy. However, most organizations are becoming savvy to this fact and are already making use of the features and resources available to them. Aim to stand out to avoid fading into the background and losing your members to a more engaging cause.
How to Poke Someone on Facebook
Our friends at Mahalo have a great YouTube video explaining the how-to. Check it out.