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GuideStar Blog

Stepping up your nonprofit's social media engagement

Nonprofits are, more often than not, notoriously “strapped for cash.” However, social media greatly increases the reach of nonprofits’ cause platforms and brand awareness to the general public. Currently, most nonprofits engage on social media channels as one of their primary forms of community building, alongside emails, newsletters, and advertisements. There is a colossal amount of information on how to improve engagement on social network channels, since engagement does not generate itself. Don’t forget the “social” part of social media. Nonprofits must engage with the general public through posting, listening and responding on all of their channels. Here’s how GuideStar uses four different engagement metrics to guide our social media strategy and increase donor and volunteer engagement in our community:

  • External Engagement: Average engagement rate metrics compares your post’s organic reach to your overall follower base with numbers such as: shares, likes, favorites, retweets, and comments. As our audience growth rate increases on our channels, we have to make sure we are speaking to the right people, and that those people are listening. For example, when reevaluating our Facebook page, using Facebook analytics, we analyzed what kind of post (article share, photo, video, etc.) and what time of posting captured the most engagement on our page. We then based our posting schedule on our most popular times, and post only our most well-received content. Keep in mind that the engagement rates do not take into account the silent followers.
  • Internal Engagement: Not only do we measure our audience’s engagement, but we also measure our own. This measure of activity in the social media world is an upcoming tool that more and more platforms are starting to include in their analysis. By correlating our own engagement with our audience’s engagement, GuideStar can show and see the impact our social media exertions create. Some ways we increase our social media engagement include: replying to comments, sharing interesting nonprofit-related content, modifying and “retweeting” tweets, and “liking” other posts. Make a concerted effort to engage with your followers on a daily basis, and watch your social media channels grow!
  • Share of Voice: GuideStar tracks how often companies, nonprofits, or products mention us online each month. We look at the tone of this content—is it positive, negative, neutral, sentimental, or passionate? This share of voice keeps us up to date and on top of the current chatter surrounding our brand.
  • Klout: The last piece of measuring our engagement is following our Klout score. We look at the number of followers we have on Twitter, but Klout is also an important online influence measurement tool. It combines followers, retweets, clicks on links, and more, and generates a number from 1-100 for your organization. Klout applies an algorithm to arrive at a unified number for your organization, which you can then use to compare yourself to other organizations. Despite the changing data that Klout calculates, it is still one of the most reliable inspiration tracking measurements out there and is much more comprehensive than just follower accounts on Twitter.

While these four metrics do not show total engagement, it still gives us a clip of results from our social media engagement efforts. Are you following GuideStar to learn more about our social media efforts? What social media do you love best? Don’t forget to Tweet all about it on Social Media Day, June 30, 2014 using the #SMDAY hashtag!

Shonte Riddick Shonte Riddick

Shonte Riddick is GuideStar’s Public Relations intern and a recent graduate of the College of William and Mary. Her friends would describe her as easy-going, adventurous, and most of all, laid back. She loves to watch sports, meet new people, and most of all laugh her heart out.

Topics: Nonprofit Leadership and Practice