Nonprofit Social Media Marketing: Measuring Return on Investment
Social media could be one answer. After all, its an inexpensive way to reach key demographics. But nonprofits need to be careful when investing precious resources in social media and not think of it as a magic bullet.
Despite their attractiveness, social media campaigns still require time, monitoring, and evaluation. As with any campaign, if the ROI (return on investment) is consistently low, a new direction should be considered. One issue is that ROI can be tough to pin down. Here are some quick, simple ways nonprofits can measure their social media ROI, while keeping an eye on their target audience and mission.
Monitor Website Traffic Stats
It used to be that website traffic was the favorite way to measure ROI, but today most nonprofits are surprised by how little traffic their websites are actually getting once they start monitoring it. Additionally, many people dont realize that the number of hits a website gets is but one metric (and a fairly meaningless one at that): The number of unique visitors is a much better stat to look at. Luckily, every web server has a way to monitor stats, so nonprofits can see how many unique visitors theyre getting per day or month or year. The more uniques, the better!
Polling supporters is a great way to help judge social media success! For example, a poll can be created to find out what inspired them to donate on the organizations website. Perhaps the poll can pop up after a donation has been made. People love to share their opinions and experiences, and this is a great way to collect information on whats working and whats not. Always keep in mind that polls need to be short and relevant for people to take the time to give useful information; resist the urge to make an overly detailed list of questions.
Simply having a newsletter sign up button or a donate button on a website is not a way to get people to take action. They need to be enticed into doing things, so, if thats a goal, then a wise investment of time would be to research where the organizations key demographic hangs out and then going there to start interacting with people. In fact, active sites within the key demographic should get the heaviest time investment.
If organizations can find a way to isolate employees time spent performing various social media related tasks, it would be easier to approximate time and funds spent on them. For example, if one employee wrote a blog post on the organizations website, invited Facebook followers to come read it, and then checked website stats to see how many Facebook followers came over to read the post, its possible to track that on a spreadsheet to see if the time invested in writing the blog post was worth it.
This article is adapted from an article published in Advice from the Pros, a newsletter produced by Braver in Needham. For more, click here.