Are you measuring the right social media metrics or do you have your head in the sand? Think about that for a minute or so. The answer matters. Oh, and don’t worry if you answered yes. I’ve done it. We all do at some point.
As the web becomes more and more social you’ve probably noticed that it’s easy to get sucked into the black hole known as social engagement – using social media with no idea where you’re headed. Or, you may have experienced shinny-new-social-media-object-of-the-week syndrome – using new social media tools with no real purpose, reason or objective.
Either way those are bad places to exist because they result in you wondering aimlessly with no real purpose.
On the other hand, it’s extremely rewarding to act with purpose. To know what you’re focused on achieving. And to set objectives that you can measure when your done.
So what type of metrics are non-profits tracking to determine if they are achieving their objectives? Good question. Here’s what we’ve seen based on talking to close to 800 non-profits.
When I look at the data it’s obvious that, in general, nonprofits are not focused on the right things.
House File Growth
Only 15% of the nonprofits we talked to were measuring house file growth (or sometimes know as email list growth) based on their social media involvement. Last time I check a non-profits house file was the lifeblood of their existence and for the past 10 years it’s been a big time focus for both the non-profit and for profit world.
Only 28% measure this metric!! What? From what I’ve seen most nonprofits need to raise money to exist, to serve their community and to make impact in the world. Social media, as fun as it is, can’t be used just for “engagement”. In some way all the engagement has to tie back to helping an organization raise money online – directly or indirectly.
Funny enough only 27% of nonprofits track engagement metrics and engagement is the single most touted benefit of social media. Oh, and it’s fairly easy to measure using a tool like PostRank.
There’s more to the story
- Do conversations matter? Yes.
- Do relationships matter? Yes (just ask a major gift officer).
- Does community matter? Yes.
- Does “being there” when someone could benefit from your help matter? Yes.
But we’ve got to start thinking about how to set ROI objectives that we can track and measure our success by. Don’t we?
What’s you’re take on the subject? Should nonprofits be doing a better job of figuring out how to tie social media activities to hard ROI like fundraising revenue, house file growth, email list growth, volunteer hours, event registrants, etc?
Oh, and I’d encourage you to go check the ”Zoetica Salon“. In the month of December my friends Beth Kanter, Geoff Livingston and the folks at Zoetica are 100% focused on helping nonprofits learn how to measure the right social media metrics.
*Frank Barry does internet marketing and strategy at Blackbaud. He helps non-profits use the Internet for fundraising, marketing, communications and community building so they can focus on making an impact and achieving their missions. Barry at NetWits ThinkTank and is a guest blogger at Mashable.com.