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Allyson Kapin 5 min read

Infographic: Measuring the Impact of Social Media

Ever since social media was deemed the coolest communications channel on the block, nonprofits are continuing to question what kind of impact social media has on their bottom line. Wildfire, a social marketing platform surveyed a variety of marketers and found that marketers believe social media is valuable to increase brand awareness and dialogue but will soon begin to measure ROI from a more traditional perspective – attributable sales and costs.

Survey results also showed that:

  1. 97% of marketers believe that social media marketing benefits their business
  2. 75% of marketers plan to increase media spending this year
  3. 58% of marketers said they have seen an increase in sales and partnerships
  4. 41% say that is has reduced costs

I think most nonprofits will agree social media has helped market their organization and their programs. Mnay also plan on investing more resources into their social media this year. But the majority of nonprofits aren’t raising money on social media. And the ones that are raising money, it’s just a drop in the bucket compared to what they raise through other channels. For example, 46% of nonprofits have raised between $1K and $10K on Facebook, according to the 2011 Nonprofits Social Network Report. And 52% are not fundraising at all. Out of five popular social networks (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Flickr) only .7% have raised more than $100K.

There are some other social action networks like Care2, which supplied about 5 million pre-qualified Direct Mail leads to nonprofits in 2011. Direct Mail still remains the dominating channel for raising money.

I also question if social networking has reduced costs for nonprofits. If anything, I’m hearing the opposite. Nonprofits (particularly the smaller ones) are feeling a lot of pressure to have a social media presence and staffing costs money. Also many organizations struggle to staff social media consistently since staff is so focused on other priorities.

The survey also showed that 94% of marketers ranked Facebook as their go to social network for marketing. Twitter ranked number two, followed by blogs, LinkedIn, and YouTube. I was a little surprised to see LinkedIn beat YouTube but it was only by 2%.

Will Facebook still be king in 2012? Wildfire says Facebook will have a lot more competition from Twitter’s branded pages, LinkedIn’s developer platform, Google+, and of course popular blogging communities and platforms like Tumblr.

Measuring ROI

Wildfire says that while marketers still don’t have a standard to measure social media success they are measuring three metrics:

  •     38% said they measure increased fans, Likes, comments and interaction
  •     Only 24% said they measure increased revenue
  •     15% said they measure increased brand awareness

Check out the infographic below and tell us what metrics you are using to measure your organization's bottom line.


Allyson Kapin

Allyson has been named one of "Top Tech Titans" by the Washingtonian, one of the Most Influential Women In Tech by Fast Company, and one of the top 30 women entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter by Forbes for her leadership role in technology and social media. As Founding Partner of Rad Campaign, she leads the firm's client and online strategic services. For over a decade Allyson has helped non-profit organizations and political campaigns create dynamic and award-winning websites and online marketing and recruitment campaigns. She works side-by-side with her clients to meet their web needs and maximize their online effectiveness to create real world impact.