Submitted by Nia Towne on June 16, 2011
Frustrated with trying to translate likes and tweets into your nonprofit's influence? Don't be!
47% of nonprofits do not measure social media, only 26% find current measurements to be substantial
Easy to use grid tailored toward nonprofits makes measuring social media more understandable
In the time it will take to finish reading this sentence, 30 new tips and tools regarding social media will probably be released. New techniques for becoming social media savvy are constantly entering the blogosphere, but how do we know they work? Is there a way to measure the effectiveness of these strategies? Currently, there are not any reliable or true media metrics to measure the effectiveness of a social media campaign. Sure, there are AVEs, but Facebook likes and Twitter re-tweets don’t always translate into dollars. AVEs are not effective and can provide false information, according to author Geoff Livingston and Katie Delahaye Paine, CEO of KDPaine & Partners, especially when it comes to nonprofits. So, are we just supposed to trust that social media campaigns work, no questions asked? According to an Idealware study, 47 percent of nonprofits are doing just that. They are not measuring the effectiveness of their social media efforts and of the 53 percent who do measure their campaigns, only 60 percent feel the measurements are “substantial”! Nonprofit blogger and author Beth Kanter contributes the lack of social media measurement to “measurement malaise,” which she says is caused by the frustrations nonprofits have with not only finding the information, but with trying to figure out what the numbers mean. By placing social media measurement on the backburner, nonprofits are only hurting themselves. Fortunately, a recent development by the Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communications (AMEC) developed a standardized metric for measuring the effectiveness of a nonprofit’s social media campaign. After spending a year constructing, editing and tweaking a draft of standardized measurement, AMEC released the Valid Metrics for PR Measurement matrix. The Valid Metrics Framework is simply an outline of what metrics will help you to demonstrate your progress toward a goal and which metrics to measure. The framework breaks communication down into three phases – Public Relations Activity, Intermediary Effect and Target Audience Effect. Each step is then further broken down to include the “ladder of engagement”- awareness, knowledge, interest, support and action. In just 5 easy steps, you will be able to determine which outcomes are best suited for your goal and easiest for you to track. Step 1: Choose the grid that best describes your organization. We suggest the grid titled “Public Education/ Not-For-Profit” or Slide 11. Step 2: Start with Phase 1: Public Relations Activity. The purpose of this phase is to break down the way in which you create and disseminate your organization’s message. Outline and decide what activities you will put on and identify metrics for each. In this phase, the answers will most likely be very similar or the same for each metric. This phase might include content creation, events and speeches, traditional and social media engagement (how to get the word out) and influencer and stakeholder engagement (how to create the message). These ideas apply to all of the areas- awareness, knowledge, interest, support and action. Step 3: This is where you review the Intermediary Effect or Phase 2. In this phase you will think about the ways in which third parties (volunteers, media, etc.) will help to get the word out about your organization. Go back to Phase 1 and decide which metrics you can measure and how you can measure them. This phase takes Facebook, Twitter, blogs and other social media into consideration more than any other phase. For example, when measuring interest in your organization during this phase, you will look at how many positive mentions you’ve received, how many social network followers you have and retweets/shares/ and linkbacks. Step 4: This is the Target Audience Effect or Phase 3. Again, go back to metrics and decide which apply to your organization. Keep in mind this phase will require some surveys and polls, but that doesn’t mean you will have to drain the bank - online polls will help you to reach a wide range of people, online communities can help you gather opinion and attitudes, and web analytics can help you see how many people visit your site and can be obtained through Google Analytics. Step 5: Look at the “Action” box. You should be able to determine which outcomes are best for your organization and will be easiest for you to track and measure. Keep in mind, the matrix isn’t intended to be the rulebook or the sole authority on social media measurement. The matrix is simply a starting point for progression toward objectives-based measurement. Photo Credit: Bethkanter.org