Nonprofit Social Media Analytics

Create An Effective Nonprofit Social Media Analytics Plan In 4 Easy Steps

Social media data can be intimidating. Certain platforms like Facebook or YouTube have immense amounts of data to examine – leaving you wondering what to actually pay attention to. Other platforms like Instagram or Tumblr are less sophisticated and always leave you wondering if you are “doing it right”.

On Monday, I was down in DC at the Digital Health Advocacy Summit speaking to nonprofits about this exact problem. Here is what we came up with to help organizations deal with creating an effective nonprofit social media analytics plan.

Step 1: Define Goals and Audience

You want to spend more time here than you think. First think about your organizations bigger goals – fundraising, programatic goals, advocacy, etc. What is that you are trying to accomplish as an organization? How can you translate those into clearly defined and measurable data points through your social media efforts.

At Media Cause, we like to put these types of goals into two categories: (1) Micro and, (2) Macro. In the context of fundraising – the micro goal might be collecting email addresses, but the macro goal is raising money.

Defining your audience is also an area we find organizations struggle with, because of the lack of specificity. While ultimately, your mission might have a broad audience and millions of followers, most organizations have a much tighter target. Focus on your core target audience – those people most likely to respond to your messaging by taking action. That action might just be on social at the beginning, but if you have kept your audience and messaging narrow enough you will see your macro goals being accomplished much faster than trying to be all things to all people.

Step 2: Choose social platform(s) that will help your reach those goals with that audience

There is a tendency to think that the more social media platforms that an organizations on the more reach they are going to have with their content The truth is the opposite is true. Let me explain: social networks require content and active management. These two factors take up time and/or money, but resources nonetheless. If you spread yourself to thin, then you will start to pay less attention to your community on a particular platform. This in turn will lead enevitably to one of two things: (1) you will stop posting to that platform or, (2) you will stop listening and get into a habit of only broadcasting. The byproduct of this will be that any individual that you connected with on those platforms will have had a bad experience with your organization and they will stop listening and engaging. Poof – you have lost that person now with little chance of them returning.

Therefore, spend some time really thinking about who your audience is and what platforms they are on. If you are targeting younger constituents then focus on platforms like Tumblr or YouTube. If it is the older crowd, then maybe Facebook is the best route to take (generalizing of course). But also think about your goals. If you are trying to drive traffic back to your website so people can sign up for your email list, then you shouldn’t be focusing your time on Instagram. It doesn’t have the ability to include links in posts.

Step 3: Focus your on-platform metrics around measuring what keeps people interested in your mission.

Not all platforms are created equal. More mature social networks like Facebook and YouTube have tons of great data to delve into, but be careful – not all data is created equal. Focus your attention on metrics that tell you which type of content is resonating most with your audience. Media Cause uses information provided on social platforms as the first step. For example, Facebook as a great feature that allows you to download Post Level Data from the export tool on Facebook Insights. Using this excel file we then provide context to the data by identifying different themes (proving a content analysis). This is the human element that no social media platform can provide. They can all spew out tons of data on the number of likes or comments, some will even tell you if a photo performed better than a link. The problem is that doesn’t really help you decide what type of content is going to drive those types of actions. You need a human for that. Take a look at a sample dashboard we create for our clients to help guide this process.

Step 4: Setup Goals in Google Analytics and measure how well your efforts are achieving those goals comparatively.

This is where most nonprofit organizations need help. Because not all nonprofit social media analytics happen can be captured on Facebook or Twitter. The jackpot of data is found on Google Analytics . Setting Google Analytics up properly usually means coordinating with a few different people or departments at your nonprofit. The good news is that once this is done right you will have all the information you need to start marking better decisions around how you use resources.

As mentioned in Step 1, you need to define measurable goals. But now the challenge is how do you measure those through Google Analytics? Is it a signup for email? A donation processed? You will need to work with someone who understands both Google Analytics and the content management systems (CMS) and/or customer relationship management (CRM) software. Unfortunately, it is not just a flip of switch to measure these types of goals, but it can be done with a little bit of time, skill, and the inevitable troubleshooting.

Once these data points are measurable you can begin to compare which platforms are driving toward those goals.

Nonprofit Social Media Analytics

You will also start to notice some indicators across your digital marketing channels. For example, some platforms are great at driving direct conversions and others are better at assisting those conversion. What does that mean? Across all our clients we find that social media channels are great at assisting conversions. This simply means that these platforms are great at driving traffic to content on your website like blogs or program updates, but it is going to be email that gets folks to give money.

Take the Next Step

If you’re ready to get your organization on the right track nonprofit social media analytics, then reach out. We are always looking to partner with organizations that are making a positive impact in the world. In fact, we’re pretty sure we can help expand that impact with a little bit of work.

The help you need is just a click away – request help from the experts at Media Cause

San Francisco

147 Natoma Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
(800) 705-1622

Washington D.C.

1436 U Street NW, Suite 400. Washington, DC 20009 (800) 705-1622


800 Battery Ave SE, Suite 100,
Atlanta, GA 30339
(800) 705-1622


170 Milk Street, 5th Floor
Boston, MA 02109
(800) 705-1622