Tip of the Day: Are You Successful on Social Media?

Editor’s note: All this month we’re publishing tech tips for nonprofits. Keep a look out for a new tip each day and let us know what you think in the comments. -Dan 

Is social media working for your organization? That question seems simple enough until you start to think about it. Working for what? Compared to what?

It’s a lot easier to answer a specific question, such as: “How many comments are we getting on our Instagram posts?” That’s the secret to measurement—defining your goals, parsing out the individual social media activities that will support it, and then defining the information that will let you know if those activities are working.

Start with setting clear goals. Define what you hope to accomplish through your social media efforts. If you lack clear goals, you’ll find it impossible to effectively measure what you’re doing. There’s no way to know what denotes success, or even what data to gather.

Think about your organization’s Facebook page. Maybe it would be useful to measure your number of fans, or the engagement of those fans—whether they click “like” on posts, comment on them, or share them with their own networks of friends. Or it could be useful to measure whether they ultimately click through to your site, sign your petition, or make a donation.

Keep in mind that along with clear goals, you also need benchmarks for success. For some organizations, the idea of reaching 100 fans is something to strive for, while others quickly reach 1,000 and set their sights higher. If your goal is to recruit volunteers, set a specific number of volunteers that, perhaps, tell you that they found out about the opportunity on Facebook. Setting numbers gives you something to measure against, and tracking it makes it easier to know what to expect for next time.

Think of it this way—your goals help you determine what data to collect, and the data you collect helps you meet your goals.

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