What’s our vector, Victor?

This past weekend, I did something epic. Monumental. Life Changing. I finally saw Airplane! on the big screen. I would have been a toddler when it hit the big screen yet somehow I managed to fall in love with the movie when I was about 12 and have been a fan annoying my friends with quotes and movie factoids ever since.

Facebook has played a big role in keeping me informed and updated about Airplane! ever since I first declared my love in the movies section of my profile. Unfortunately, in March and November of 2010, two of the big stars of the films passed away (Peter Graves and Leslie Neilsen). My profile and a handful of friends came alive with quotes in memoriam.

However, last week something new happened. Instead of me declaring my love of the film or a friend posting a quote – there was an ad to see the film on the big screen. And I clicked on it. And I bought tickets right away.

Facebook knew I loved Airplane and AMC targeted me because of it. And it worked. It worked better than they might have planned. I was reposting the information. I was inviting friends to join me at the theater via e-mail. I was calling and texting people about tickets. My Facebook evangelism of Airplane! suddenly turned into “AMC theaters re-release of Airplane!” evangelism on multiple channels.

So the question for us in the non-profit space is – How do we re-create this experience? How do we target our ads to the evangelists in waiting?

Engage your base on Facebook. Hopefully, you already have a following on Facebook. Make sure you are advertising your events, actions and donation asks online. Don’t forget to also take advantage of pictures, videos, education about your issues, and interactive discussions. The Smithsonian recently offered a free online conference with an option to catch up on recordings if you couldn’t make the live option. This is a great way to engage your supporters if they geographically diverse.

Engage your base outside Facebook. Additionally, let’s not forget that even when paid ads are not an option, we have evangelists (e-mail subscribers, volunteers, donors, twitter followers etc.) for our organizations ready to do the advertising for us. Remind these folks to join you on Facebook and repost important information.

If you can do an ad buy, hone in on specific targets. There are already a lot of options for targeting your advertisements on Facebook. There may be more help on the way, Facebook may start offering geolocal ads. This could be great for us, helping us better advertise our local events and actions, community work and more.