It’s not enough to use social media sites as bulletin boards for your agency’s news and events. Engaging with your consumers and supporters means taking their interests and passions and meeting those needs with your content.
They might not want a daily update on the consumers you served, or even a weekly update. Maybe a once a month summary works best. Not every call to action is going to have a buy-in for them, but how do you know what is important to those who follow if you do not analyze your data?
Learning how to target your supporters with messages that are specific to the issues they care about, and are accessible in ways that they are comfortable engaging in is the best way to maximize their buy-in. That means more people showing up to volunteer, more people calling their local government, and more people donating to your holiday appeal. Be intentional in who you target and you will see success.
But, how do you know what content your supporters want to see? How can you learn that information on a shoe-string budget? Easy. The internet is a wealth of resource that many nonprofits fail to tap into. Here are a few options to get you started.
MailChimp is incredibly easy to set up and start using immediately. Most importantly, if you have fewer than 2,000 names on your list of supporters it’s free! If you have a larger number of individuals you want to connect with, the fees are minimal. You can send an unlimited number of emails to 10,000 people for $75 a month.
MailChimp lets you create emails that are fun. No one wants to open an email that has a giant wall of text with a few bolded headings. No one reads those. No one wants to download your newsletter as an attachment. Attachments are generally not mobile-friendly. MailChimp will let you customize an email that contains links to whatever you want. They look really good (as long as you are intentional about your color palette) and come with all sorts of analysis tools for free. You can see who opened your emails, when they opened them, and what they clicked on. Use this information to make your email campaigns better.
Mention lets you monitor keywords. You can track who/when/where your word or phrase of choice is used, then use this information to respond. Your organization’s name or issues of choice are great places to start. A great way to put this to use would be to take a news report on a local, relevant event and create a YouTube video to share in response. It’s a great way to track what’s happening around you.
Mention is free for fewer than 250 alerts. The ideal package is $20 a month. The pro package includes some great statistical information including referral sources and browsers.
Google Analytics is free. To set it up, you create a Google Account and generate a bit of code to paste into your website, MailChimp account, blog, etc. If you don’t know how to do that: A) Learn how; take control of your own media. Or B) Have whoever you’re paying to manage your social media presence do it.
Google Analytics tells you who is viewing your content and how they are seeing it. It lets you know the platforms people are using to view your page (mobile, browsers, etc) and their demographics. It also lets you know how they found you and which pages they view, and for how long they looked at your pages. Using this information will let you know if your content is accessible to the public, utilized by speakers of a different language, and viewed on a variety of devices. You can also connect events or press releases to higher page views and conversions.
Google also has a great package of free web apps for Nonprofits. I encourage you to look into them.
It is not enough to get people to ‘Like’ your pictures or status updates. A ‘Like’ signifies passive engagement that requires no thought or buy-in. Facebook Insights are something that many people look at, but rarely use. It’s great to see how many people visited your page and that your picture today is doing better than some of the others recently. Putting that information to use requires answering some questions: Why is that post performing better? What is different about it? Did you post it at a different time of day? Did it include a call to action? Did people comment on or share it? Why?
You will find success when you take ownership of tracking the trends that Facebook Insights provide you with. Passive marketing is bad marketing.
I include SurveyMonkey because a good survey can tell you a lot of information. It’s a bit old fashioned to go out and actually ask people what they think, but the responses are very straightforward. There are drawbacks, of course, that mostly involve accessibility to the internet and the English language, but online surveys can be very useful.
Define exactly what it is that you want to measure and be sure that your questions will help you get those measurements. Have some community partners test out the survey to ensure that the responses are what you’re looking for. Use Excel, SPSS, or some other analysis tool to find trends. Then, put those trends into action. It’s great to know what people think- but why does that matter to you and what are you going to do about it?
There are many more opportunities to gather and analyze your impact on the social media world. This list is just a place to get started. Being passive in your information gathering and usage will limit your organizations effect on your supporters and community. Take control of your content, make it work for you, and watch the results roll-in.