It seems not a month goes past without a fresh update to the layout and algorithm of our favourite social networks. 2013 saw Facebook finally jumping on the hashtag bandwagon and introducing Social Graph Search, as well as making the critical algorithm changes to Organic Reach. Hubspot produced a handy guide about these changes which you can download here.

In this article I’m going to focus on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and lay out the foundations of how your nonprofit can learn from its social media marketing activities by looking at what to measure, and how.

If you’re starting from scratch, you’ll probably be focusing on building your community – attracting Facebook Fans, Twitter Followers and LinkedIn Connections, as well as Page Likes and Views. But how will you move from a passive audience to one that is active and engaged?


What to measure

To understand how social media will meet your organisation’s goals, you will need to set clear objectives against which to measure results. These may include:

  • Number of donors
  • Donor retention
  • Total fundraising
  • Number of volunteers
  • Volunteer retention

The table below demonstrates how Twitter and Facebook metrics can be aligned with organisational goals:

Social media monitoring table 1  

Now, let’s have a look at some of the key metrics and what they actually mean:

The number of times your keyword or phrase (e.g. your organisation’s name) is used across social channels. Mentions provide a picture of how much attention is being given to the subject.

Reach + Impressions
The potential audience you can reach based on your follower count. If you have 1000 Facebook Fans, you could potentially reach 1000 people with each social post. An impression occurs when someone shares your content with their own audience. If that person has an audience of 5000 then that content has the potential for being seen by 6000 people (yours and their audiences combined).

Engagement + Sharing
How much and how frequently others interact with your content. Engagement shows you how well your content performs and sharing tells you how far beyond your own audience your content is being extended.

How your audience inspires others to action. Harder to measure than the other metrics, there is help in the form of tools like Klout and PeerIndex, which assign scores to social media interactions and activity. Influence helps you understand the impact your organisation is having, good and bad. It also helps you get to know your audience and identify advocates.

The emotion attached to mentions on social channels. Sentiment helps you understand how people perceive and are affected by your organisation and social media marketing efforts – what garners appositive or negative response.


How to measure

Once you’ve worked out what to measure, the next question is how?

Facebook Insights, LinkedIn Company Page Analytics and Twitter Analytics provide the metrics outlined in the table above for free. However, you might want to set yourself up with a social media management platform such as Buffer, which allows you to schedule content in advance as well as measure results.

Google Analytics (which should already be set up for your website) will then help you track website referral traffic by each channel.

The table below outlines some of the tools and metrics available:

social media monitoring table 2


If you bring all your results together in a monthly report you’ll be able to see how well your content is performing, along with any areas for improvement. A UTM tracker will help you track specific campaigns, which can be measured alongside your regular reports and used to inform future campaigns.

Never get too comfortable though – regularly revisit your strategy to make sure you’re giving your audience what they want, and that you’re making the most of current trends and practices. I would suggest you do this at least every six months, if not each quarter.

By using the best social channels for your organisation, producing top-notch content and keeping up with online marketing and industry-specific trends, your nonprofit can create and nurture those valuable stakeholder relationships.


Nicole Healing
Nicole is a freelance content marketing and social media consultant who enjoys working with B2B, B2C and nonprofit sector clients. When writing, Nicole’s main areas of focus are subjects including content marketing, social media and technology trends. In her spare time she enjoys travel, music, socialising, cooking, reviewing gluten free cuisine, as well blogging about the arts, politics and travel.
Nicole Healing
Nicole Healing
Nicole Healing

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