Social Media Metrics and Evaluation

If you’re investing time in preparing content for social media, then it’s worth investing time in evaluating your performance.

However, we’re the first to admit that it can be daunting.  All that talk of conversions, leads, engagement, reach, impressions… what does it actually mean? And is our time on social media actually increasing the number of donations to our campaign?

We’ve all been using social media for many years now and most communications staff know where to find the insights and stats about their pages’ performance. If you’re catching up, here are some key resources: But how useful are these statistics? Most staff can cite the numbers, but fewer actually know how to use such data to make informed decisions about what’s working and what is not. Here’s a simple strategy for evaluating the role of social media in your crowdfunding campaign:

How to Evaluate the Role of Social Media in Your Crowdfunding Campaign

First, restate your original goal.

If your communications strategy was well planned, you had a clear vision of who you wanted to communicate with and what the outcome of that communication should be. So, use that as the key question for your evaluation: did our social media campaign drive young people in our community to visit our HIPGive project page and make a donation?

Second, check whether you and your team fulfilled the social media strategy diligently.

After all, you can’t judge the outcomes of a campaign based on good intentions, but on the work that was actually carried out. Consider aspects such as:
  • Are our social media pages easy to find?
  • Do they provide sufficient information about our organization to inspire trust and reflect the true nature of our work?  
  • Did we produce content and engage frequently with donors as per the communications plan?
If you passed that test, then...

The third step is to ask yourself: is it working?

Question Official metric Data source Action

Are we reaching our target group?  

Followers Follower and fan demographics. If the demographics fit with your intended audience, then you’re on track. If not, consider adjusting your messaging or plan specific content and outreach strategies that will help grow your audience within your target group.
Are we growing the number of people we engage with among our target group?  Followers Number of fans and followers. If the number of fans and followers is rising, you’re on track.
If not, reevaluate your content and ask yourself how can you make it respond better to the needs and interests of your target group.
What do people think about our organization? Sentiment General tone of comments and reactions. Although this is intangible, it’s important to gain a sense of how your organization is perceived.
Are we creating a community of individuals who identify with our cause and feel committed to it? Engagement Likes, comments, and shares (retweets). If the level of engagement is increasing, then study the posts or content with the highest engagement to determine what type of content is most successful.
If it is not increasing, reevaluate; rather than starting from scratch, try tweaking the way you present content to appeal to users’ needs and interests, and to directly encourage comments and shares.
Pay closest attention to shares, especially on key campaign posts with calls to action and links to your HIPGive campaign page.
Is our social media driving visits to our HIPGive campaign page? Traffic from social media   This can be harder to determine. One way is to use different Bitly links for different social media campaigns, or for different platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, and then comparing the number of people that saw the post vs. the number of people that clicked on the particular link. This gives you your conversion rate and can help you determine which platforms and messages are proving to be more successful. The higher the conversion rate the better you're doing in driving people to your campaign page.

Did you like what you found? Congratulations! And keep up the good work.
Were you disappointed by your results on social media? Don’t worry, there’s plenty of time to regroup, adjust your strategy, and aim for a growing and more engaged audience over the coming months. Before you know it, you’ll have a whole new set of potential donors for your future campaigns. If you need some inspiration, why not:
  • Start following organizations you look up to and learn from their social media strategy.
  • Talk to your followers, fans, and donors. Ask them what they would like to see!
Finally, don’t worry too much about social media metrics. Social media is an integral part of any modern nonprofit communications strategy but in most cases, should support the primary means of communication which remain unchanged over the years: email outreach and face-to-face (or phone) conversations to make the ask, and websites, to validate the organization and its experience. 
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