3 Performance Indicators for Social Media Savvy Nonprofits

You are being watched. And so am I. And so is your next door neighbor. Your nemesis from your third-grade class? He’s being watched, too.  

No, this isn’t a “big brother is always watching” scenario, but the fact of the matter is, our online behavior is highly trackable. 

That’s a good thing! It means that the organizations that we interact with online can better understand our behaviors and adjust accordingly, benefiting us by customizing to serve our particular tastes and needs. 

Smart organizations recognize these capabilities and capitalize on them. Your nonprofit can be one of those smart organizations. What better place to start than the 24/7 virtual gathering that is social media, especially given the growing importance of social fundraising

If your nonprofit wants to up its social media game and remain a regular presence in your supporters’ online (and by extension, offline) lives, you have to be proactive about tracking and improving your strategies and methodologies.

By tracking the following three social media metrics, your organization can learn more about its donors and understand your own performance better.

Whether you’re promoting a new advocacy campaign’s online petition or championing your newly minted major giving program, the free advertising amenities of social media await. Through the analysis of these performance indicators, you can perfect your process and truly maximize the effectiveness of every post and tweet you send out into the digital world.

1. Amplification and Conversation Rates

Both these rates have a lot in common, so they’ve been grouped together to keep them in context with one another. That being said, let’s divide them out so that each gets its proper due.

Amplification Rate. When you think of amplification, you can associate it with our modern sense of internet virality. 

Amplification rate studies the amount of times a social media post is shared. 

In other words, imagine your biggest fan, Frankie, is scrolling through her news feed and sees a new post of yours about corporate giving. Frankie, always an avid supporter, shares your post. Then, one of her friends spots the shared post and does the same. The cycle continues, amplifying the content through your supporters’ social networks. 

Due to structural similarities across social media sites, amplification will always look very similar to that sample scenario above. What varies, however, is what the amplification action is called. 

For your reference, here’s a brief list of amplification terms and their corresponding social media platforms:

Facebook — Shares
Google+ — Shares
Tumblr — Reblogs
Twitter — Retweets
Pinterest — Repins

Use amplification rate to gauge the overall reaction to your social media activity. Then ask: 

  • Which posts are proving to be the most successful in this regard? 
  • What traits do these posts have in common?
  • Are there similarities in the wording? The subject matter? The time of day they went live?

In investigating the answers to those questions, you’ll find trends among your top tier of posts and learn how best to map out your future social media activity.

Conversation Rate. With that in mind, let’s briefly touch on conversation rate.  

For this performance indicator, you want to measure how many conversations (comments, replies, etc.) occur per post. Like with amplification, if you understand which posts draw the most conversations, those are the kind of posts you should aim to share. 

Conversation rate is less about virality and more about what sparks discussion among your supporters. If you want to know what content you should share to get people talking, you have to reflect on what has had similar responses in the past. 

If you approach conversation rate from the right angle, you can increase the dialogue around topics that are of interest to your nonprofit. What better way is there to get to know your supporters than to hear from them in an organic and largely unfiltered setting?

2. Post Reach

Post reach is a popular metric from Facebook’s Insights. It analyzes the number of individuals who have encountered any piece of content related to your Facebook page over the span of a week. 

This kind of reach goes beyond the scope of just your immediate network, helping to gauge total visits to your page. If you want an umbrella metric to measure your Facebook visibility, this should be your go-to performance indicator. 

3. Conversion Rate

And now, the top dog of social media performance indicators — conversion rate. At the end of the day, all of this work on your online presence is about two things:

  1. Raising awareness of the cause that drives your mission.
  2. Seeking support so that you can serve your mission. 

Point two most often comes down to asking for donations. It’s great if people are talking about, liking, sharing, and seeing your social media activity surrounding a fundraiser. 

Want to know what’s even better? When those activities translate into donations. 

With the help of tracking tools such as Google Analytics, you can backtrack how many visitors landed on a certain page and where they came from. Leverage that data to see what posts are actually converting social media viewers into website visitors and then online donors.

Although nonprofits most commonly use this performance indicator when studying online giving conversion, the process can work in a variety of other tests, such as:

  • Event invitations
  • Volunteer requests
  • Survey submissions

Once you can recognize what actions you’re striking out with and what actions you’re hitting home runs with, you can efficiently allocate your limited time and resources to increase results. 

* * * 

What are you waiting for? Get out there. Promote your latest blog post. Tell people about your next event. Request donations for your big, upcoming campaign. Whatever you’re doing, if you’re using social media to get the word out, you’ll want to make sure you’re sure of your strategies. Dive into those metrics!

Blake Groves is a Vice President at Salsa Labs