Social Media for Nonprofits: Proving Your ROI and Impact through Social Media Analytics

Social media has radically changed the way people discover, consume, and share information about issues that matter to them. 

For nonprofits, that’s more than a good thing. 

Now your work, your impact, and your stories can get the recognition and attention they deserve.

Social media for nonprofits gives you the chance to tell your brand story, interact with your supporters and get them interested to support your campaigns. 

If you haven’t already, you need to start thinking about creating or optimizing your social media strategy.

But wait… 

Being on social media is not enough. Your efforts have to have some sort of return on investment (ROI) otherwise why spend so much time and effort on social media?

So, in comes social media analytics. 

In this blog post, we’ll show you why measuring your social media ROI is important, what you need to be measuring, and recommended tools to use. 

Jump Links:

Why Should Nonprofits Focus on Social Media?

Why It’s Important to Measure your Return on Investment (ROI) / Social ROI 

What Metrics to Track
Engagement
Reach
Website Traffic
Most Effective Channels
Conversion

Assign a Monetary Value to Each Metric Measured

ROI / SROI in Real Action
#WorldElephantDay
United Nations

Best Social Media Analytics Tools

Why Should Nonprofits Focus on Social Media?

Before we dive in, let’s first touch on why social media for nonprofits is an important marketing tool. 

Data by HubSpot reveals that the main reason why nonprofits engage in marketing efforts is to fundraise, generate brand awareness, recruit volunteers and share news.

Source: HubSpot

Social media is perfect to help attain all of those goals.

Why? 

Because over 3.5 billion people currently use social media, meaning there’s no shortage of opportunities to find people who can support your cause through social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

What are we trying to say here?

If used the right way, nonprofit social media marketing can greatly help you promote your organization and find people to help with your mission.

Why It’s Important to Measure your Return on Investment (ROI) / Social ROI 

Let’s get down to business.

According to The New Economics Foundation, Social Return on Investment (SROI) captures social value by translating outcomes into financial values.

While social media is exciting to use, it’s also difficult to place tangible value, especially in financial terms. 

So, even though you got 1000 likes on your Facebook post yesterday, how much did those likes contribute to your bottom line?

For marketers in nonprofits, this is a difficult question to articulate an answer for.

In a world where competition for grants is very significant, calculating your SROI can give you a competitive edge.

How? 

Measuring your SROI helps you to identify what is working and what is not. Not all social media platforms are equal. Some are better than others. 

By measuring your SROI, it will help you identify which platforms are giving you the most return, indicating which platforms you should allot time and energy towards.

Examining your social media analytics will help you see where your social media budget is most effective, especially if you use social media ads. 

You will get insights into areas where you shouldn’t be spending so much money on. 

If you don’t practice regular measurement and reporting on your social media efforts, you may end up spending time and effort on a strategy that is not getting you anywhere. 

The needs of your fans change constantly so you need to keep adjusting your social media content to match their needs. You can only do this by keeping up with your metrics constantly.  

Analyzing your SROI will give you insights into whether there are any gaps in your social media strategy, content, and key messages so that you can improve accordingly and continue to offer value to your audience.

By measuring your SROI, you will give everyone involved in the strategy a sense of purpose and a better understanding of why social media platforms are important to your organization’s mission. 

It will also help to emphasize the value your efforts are contributing to your organization’s overall goals. 

What Metrics to Track

Let’s get down to work. 

There are a lot of metrics that you can track if you want to know how effective your social media efforts are. 

However, not all metrics have the same level of importance.

Many nonprofit marketers focus mainly on vanity metrics, which is the number of fans, followers, and views. 

While these metrics are good to be aware of, they are not the most important when it comes to your SROI and measuring your impact. 

You may get excited to see your video got a million views, but you have to go deeper than just the views.

Beyond viewing the video, how many people out of the million viewers took a desired action such as making a donation? 

Worry not, there is an easy way to decide what metrics matter the most to your nonprofit. 

What you need to do is ask yourself these four questions:

  1. What does success look like to us?
  2. How will we know that we are achieving that success when we use social media?
  3. What three quantitative metrics can we create to measure this success? (eg. number of donations received)
  4. What three qualitative metrics can we create to measure this success? (eg. the interest created towards a cause)

With these questions in mind, here are five metrics that can help determine nonprofit social media success:

Engagement

Engagement refers to the kind of response your social media content is getting from your online audience. 

To measure your engagement look at the number of shares, comments, retweets, mentions, and link clicks. 

Here’s our engagement measurement formula:

Why is this an important metric? 

Engagement lets you understand what your target audience values most.

By tracking the amount of engagement your content receives, you’ll know if you’re offering people value and if not, you get a chance to do better in the future.

Reach

Reach refers to how far your messages go beyond your fans and followers. 

When your Facebook fans see your posts are they sharing them with their friends and family? When they read your blog are they sharing it on Twitter?

Reach is important, especially when you’re trying to create brand awareness or promoting a new cause.

You want as many people as possible to know about your organization and its campaigns. 

Website Traffic

You don’t want people to just see your social media content, you want them to take the desired action such as volunteer, donate, get involved in your cause, etc.

The best way to do this is to get them to your website where they can see more about your nonprofit and its activities. 

Make sure that you measure how much traffic your social media efforts are sending to your website, and the kinds of interactions these visitors have on your website.

Most Effective Channels

Focus on the channels that are giving you the most SROI. 

It’s important to understand your most effective channel so that you don’t keep wasting money and effort on platforms that are adding no value to your bottom line. 

Conversion

Remember when we talked about vanity metrics?

Here is where you separate the wheat from the chaff.

Besides attracting millions of fans, you want them to take certain actions.

This could be to donate, click on an ad, attend a charity event, visit your website, etc.

You need to know how many people take your desired actions because this is the one metric that truly informs your bottom line. 

Assign a Monetary Value to Each Metric Measured

Does your social media successfully convert traffic into donations?

Source: Procurious

Your nonprofit needs to know whether the money and effort spent on social media are adding some monetary value. 

Guided by social media analytics, assign a bottom-line value to each type of conversion.

This will at first prove to be difficult, but as you continue to understand your social media efforts and corresponding goals, you will get better at it. So be patient with yourself. 

Here are some questions to help you assign a value to your metrics:

How much is each potential visit to your social media platforms and website worth to you?

How many donations can you collect through your social media platforms?

How much does it cost you to run effective ads to achieve your social media goals?

How much does it cost you in terms of labor? (consider the number of hours spent on social media marketing over a given period).

How much do you spend on social media tools? (eg. scheduling tools, analytics tools, etc.)

By answering these questions, you will be able to find out how much you spend and how much you make, thus allowing you to quantify (in monetary terms) your SROI.

ROI / SROI in Real Action

#WorldElephantDay Uses Keyhole to Help Find Investors

Every August 12th, the world gets together to save elephants for #WorldElephantDay. 

This annual awareness campaign is led by the World Elephant Society, a nonprofit tax-exempt 501(c)(3) charity organization.

To make sure that the campaign increases reach every year, the organization uses Keyhole for Nonprofits to get more value out of its social media presence in two ways:

  1. Find and connect with influencers: Influencers are a great marketing tool to help make campaigns go viral through their spheres of influence. 
  • Identifying the right influencers can be a daunting task. World Elephant Society uses Keyhole to easily identify top influencers engaging with their hashtag (#WorldElephantDay), and directly reach out to them to amplify their message every year. 
  • By measuring how much reach their hashtag has garnered, they can know which influencers to align themselves with, in future campaigns.

    2. Collect campaign data to help secure investors and sponsoring partners: The organization works with Keyhole to help identify campaign reach, engagement, and growth and then organize all this data. The organization then presents it to potential collaborators and sponsors.

The United Nations Gains Consumer Insights with Keyhole

Every Woman Every Child (EWEC) is a global movement that mobilizes relevant stakeholders to address the major health challenges facing women and children.

Much of EWEC focuses on advocacy and helping people to understand why the health of women and children is critical to societies. 

They needed to understand who they were reaching on social media, and how they could measure the success of their strategies. 

Where are these people from? What devices do they use to access and engage with their content?

It was important for the organization to have this data so they could effectively drive their campaign forward.

Using Keyhole, the organization was able to measure:

  • Audience demographics (geography, gender, sentiments)
  • The effectiveness of partnership engagements
  • The geographical reach of their social media presence
  • How people were accessing their content

The UN was able to access these insights and extrapolate data to pivot their strategies as needed, and to measure success with their social media efforts. 

Best Social Media Analytics Tools

There are several good social media analytics tools that your nonprofit can use to measure its SROI. Here are our top picks:

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is one of the best tools to use when tracking your website traffic, audience demographics, on-site conversions and sign-ups emerging from your social media campaigns.

Facebook Insights

Facebook has become a popular charity fundraising platform. Facebook Insights, its built in analytics tool, is great in providing you with useful insights in the ‘People’ tab.

You’ll get to see audience demographics such as age, gender, and geographical distribution. 

These insights will help you understand if you are reaching the right audience and the kind of reach and engagement your social media content receives on Facebook.

Keyhole For Nonprofits

Keyhole helps hundreds of nonprofits prove their impact through Social Media Analytics to maximize reach, get more donors, and secure more sponsors over time.

Our tool helps you collect all the important metrics that you need to prove your impact to your donors and secure your donations.

Keyhole helps you to calculate how much interest and awareness your social media efforts have generated.

With this report, you can show your sponsors exactly how much value you bring as a brand partner.

More supporters bring you more funds. 

Through Keyhole you can practice social listening to find all the people talking about your cause and your nonprofit. 

These are your supporters, your advocates, and your ambassadors, people you probably didn’t know you had.

By knowing who they are, you can engage them and convert them into loyal supporters. 

We cannot emphasize enough the value of influencers to any campaign.

Keyhole will find and engage all the influencers and celebrities out there already excited about your cause. 

You want to know how much your nonprofit is growing, right?

Keyhole lets you watch your nonprofit grow over time. You will always be able to tell if your campaigns are reaching more people and if you have more followers and why. 

Wrapping Up: Where Do You Go From Here?

Measuring your nonprofit analytics is a necessary task that should be part of your social media for nonprofits strategy. 

When you’re armed with the right insights, you will always be able to make any necessary changes that will see your nonprofit achieve its overall goals. 


Keyhole is a real-time conversation tracker that provides keyword and hashtag analytics for Twitter and Instagram. Get started for free.

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