Have you ever been to a presentation about your organization’s social media strategy and seen this slide: “Over 2,000 Facebook fans; 500 Twitter followers and 3,000 MySpace friends!”? “Great,” everyone at the table thinks, “we are officially in the social media space – we have friends and fans – but now what?
Though 88% of executives at US non-profit organizations are currently experimenting with social media, only 51% report using it actively and 79% are uncertain about how to demonstrate its value for their organization, according to a survey conducted by Weber Shandwick and KRC Research.
Until we truly demystify social media ROI (which I believe will take good old-fashioned time) and in light of this recent study, perhaps our efforts are better spent learning how to present what we do know and make sure your organization’s executives don’t fall off the social media bandwagon. After all, the use of social media for social good continues to be an online trend, making social marketing messages popular and in demand.
As you craft your presentation remember some will be looking for the classic definition of ROI which is typically monetary. However, measuring monetary ROI is especially difficult because social media results in those lovely but non-monetary notions such as: branding, buzz, tone, trust and sentiment. So let us not forget the finite importance of these types of ROI and that a favorable online conversation can equal conversion to life long consumers and support, which is more valuable to social marketers and nonprofits than any bottom line.
Goals and Baselines – “Allow me to remind you of where we started.”
Hopefully, you have recorded baseline numbers and clearly defined goals before your social media strategy began. After keeping close tabs on the growth of your social media efforts, compare them to other notable improvements within your larger organizational goals. Surely there will be some indisputable parallels between the success of your Facebook page and a growth in online giving.
Also, remember that website metrics help sell the importance of fans and followers. For example, show the percentage of referral traffic to your main site from Twitter and Facebook and how this has increased overall site traffic. This clearly communicates the value of your presence in social media.
Context – “Here’s how we stack up.”
Don’t just say the number of followers or fans – explain what becoming a follower or fan means. Compare that number to your competition or like-minded organizations. “We have more than 2,000 followers: this means that since the launch of our Twitter page 6 months ago 2,000 people have opted in to support us, subscribe to our messages and engage with our organization. XXX organization launched their Twitter profile a month before ours and has 500 followers.”
Use Your Reports – “94% of conversations about us online are favorable, people love us!”
If you are investing in social media, invest in the tools that track and report on your efforts. There are great reporting services that track impressions, audience, volume of conversations as well as tone and sentiment of those conversations.
Explain Alternatives – “Think viral impressions vs. paid impressions”
When your post messages/content online, these messages can spread virally. Therefore these viral impressions are essentially free. Take the number of viral impressions (available in reports suggested above) and compare that to how much it would have cost to pay for them. Add the fact that most consumers trust messages from their friends rather than paid advertising and Voila! — Cheap impressions are distributing messages that resonant with consumers.
Think Long Term – “If you think this is good, wait till 90% of internet users start using social media.”
Social media is about people and relationships – Foster these relationships facilitate conversations online, get in early and the proof will come in the 20 year-old pudding. Social media use is increasing among all generations, and younger generations will adopt it into their lives.
When it comes time for a consumer to decide they want to start giving back to one of their favorite causes or nonprofits, they will most likely give to the nonprofit that has been their “friend” for 20 years and nobody else. And as the use of social media increases and early adopters (i.e. teenagers) grow older, the ROI from your early and steadfast social media strategies will be realized ten fold.
Don’t agree? I’d love to hear your take. Please comment below and share your thoughts.
And now a brilliant presentation from Oliver Blanchard for those who don’t like to read but like to laugh while they learn: