May 29, 2012

Metrics: Go beyond counting likes and followers

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, businesses, anyone with a Facebook page.

John HaydonArchers don’t aim at the point halfway between the arrow tip and the target. If they did, they would never hit the bullseye.

In the same way, many nonprofits still focus too much on counting Facebook likes and Twitter followers as if these metrics are the end goal, and then feel frustrated when they’re not getting the results they expected.

Going beyond counting likes and followers means asking a number of quantitative and qualitative questions about:

Reach: 10,000 Facebook fans doesn’t mean you’re reaching 10,000 people. In fact, a Page with 10,000 fans reaches only about 1,700 of their fans with updates.

Surprise, surprise! Additionally, you want to be asking:

  • Who are you reaching?
  • How are you reaching them?
  • How frequently do you reach them per week or month?

Reaction: 10,000 Facebook fans means nothing if they aren’t talking about your nonprofit. And that’s the whole point of your using social media, right?

People who are talking about you are usually a subset of people you’re reaching. Some questions you want to ask about people talking about you are:

  • Who is reacting?
  • Where are they reacting?
  • What are they saying?
  • What are we saying that get’s them talking?

Action: No amount of followers and fans have any value unless you’re converting people. New members, subscribers, donors, etc. Continue reading

February 29, 2012

How to set up a metrics program

Image by Stuart Miles on

8 steps to help you become a data-driven organization

Target audience: Nonprofits, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, cause organizations, brands, businesses, start-ups, Web publishers, educators, bloggers.

JD LasicaOver the past two years, I’ve been spending an increasing amount of my time helping nonprofit and business clients set up metrics programs.

For mid-size and large organizations, their social media teams often work with outside vendors that help take the pulse of their communities and help inform their decision-making. (Here’s a list of our top 10 paid social media monitoring services for nonprofits and top 20 social media monitoring vendors for business.)

If you’re like the vast majority of nonprofits and cause organizations, however, you handle your metrics internally. Right?

So this might be of interest: I’ve just begun giving a series of 90-minute webinars for CharityHowTo called Metrics Don’t Bite!: Energize Your Nonprofit With a Meaningful Metrics Program. Sign up for the next installment tomorrow at 3 pm ET, noon PT.

Why measure? To help inform decision-making about your brand or cause. To test messages, services, campaigns or products before launch. To do market research into constituents or supporters. To gather data about supporters’ giving habits. To find out what kinds of blog posts and Facebook status updates resonate with your community.

8 steps to set up your own metrics program

We’ll cover a lot of ground in the webinar, but I wanted to share these eight steps involved in setting up a metrics program:

1Get buy-in at the top. For any metrics program to work, it needs support from top management if the program is to gain traction across the organization.

2Identify a Chief Metrics Guru. It could be you, or somebody else comfortable with not just gathering numbers but exploring what they mean. Your colleagues will watch you evolve from Chief Metrics Guru to Number-Crunching Superstar. You may need a small team to help you out as part of their other responsibilities.

3Set goals. Here’s the most difficult part of any metrics program: Interview stakeholders across different departments to elicit and identify key goals and target audiences. Get beyond that set of departmental goals that were put in a bottom drawer nine months ago.

4Tie these goals to specific Key Performance Indicators you can track by creating an internal document. A KPI is simply a set of metrics that enables you to determine over time if you’re on course to hitting your targets. Continue reading