Now that you fully understand the importance of using social media, how will you know if you are making an impact? It is vital to make sure that your social media efforts are working because it’s not about getting more likes or followers; it is about making a tangible difference in your community. Also, success must be measured in order to be sustained. Here are a few simple ways to measure the success of your social media efforts.
1. Set goals
You will never know your success if you have nothing to work towards. You can set broad goals such as growing your newsletter list, increasing the amount of volunteers, or turning more supporters into donors. You can also set more specific goals, which are easier to achieve and measure.
For example, in 2013 the organization Water is Life set out to end the hashtag “#firstworldproblems”. This was a very specific, easy to measure goal that took the social media world by storm (Hrabik). Here is a video explaining it:
Even though no two organizations are exactly alike, seeing where you stand in relation to similar organizations is a simple way to measure your success. This can be done over time and repeatedly after new campaigns are implemented.
You must be careful, however, because obsessing over your benchmark could hurt your organization. This form of measurement must be done within the context of your target audience and mission (Meyer).
Blackbaud produces an annual Online Marketing Benchmark Study for Nonprofits, which is a free and helpful resource for benchmarking.
3. Try different approaches
Trying new things on social media allows your organization to get a clear picture of what works and what does not. For example, if your organization has been posting frequently to Twitter with no obvious impact, then maybe your target audience is not active on twitter. Try using Facebook or YouTube to get your message across. It is also possible, and even beneficial, to use multiple social media platforms at once.
Take a new approach, track your activities, and tweak your social media efforts to make sure you are moving forward.
By Organizational Focus. (n.d.). Retrieved March 17, 2015, from https://www.blackbaud.com/nonprofit-resources/onlinemarketingstudy
Hrabik, L. (2013, November 15). The Top 4 Nonprofit Social Media Campaigns of 2013 (And What You Can Learn). Retrieved March 17, 2015, from http://www.nonprofithub.org/social-media/the-top-4-nonprofit-social-media-campaigns-of-2013-and-what-you-can-learn/
Meyer, B. (2014, September 10). Nonprofit Website Benchmarks. Retrieved March 17, 2015, from http://thinkshout.com/blog/2014/09/nonprofit-website-benchmarks/