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Blog > Is this thing on? Measuring social media.

Is this thing on? Measuring social media.

posted on 1:52 PM, April 21, 2017
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Today's post has been guest-written by Heather Badenoch, owner of Village PR. Heather believes in the value of not-for-profits to support our most vulnerable people and animals. She provides strategic communications planning and implementation, public relations, social media engagement, and training across Canada. Thank you for the contribution, Heather!


Your organization launched Facebook and Twitter accounts because it felt like you should—Because all the other agencies are doing it. The accounts are free, but staff time is not. Many hours are are spent each week keeping these accounts updated.

How’s it going? Is social media attracting new clients to your programs, recruiting in new volunteers, and getting people to your workshops?

If measuring likes and follows feels meaningless, that’s because it is. Those vanity metrics aren’t telling you if social media is helping you achieve results.

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All communication activities (e.g. social media, flyers, media interviews, email blasts, etc.) must support the organization’s goals. Thus, meaningful measurement tracks those activities’ contributions towards achieving goals.

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An example: If you realize that the parents coming to your drop-in don’t reflect your community’s demographics, then an organization goal will be to improve client diversity during the next three years. Communication activities in support of that goal could include creating paper flyers in the five top languages spoken in Ottawa, reaching out to those residents through religious and community leaders, adding text in those languages to your email blasts, and creating social media posts in these top-5 languages. All with culturally appropriate images of course.

When more diverse residents start requesting services, how will you know which communication activity (or activities) worked? You need to know so that time is spent only on those communication activities that generated results.

It can be as easy as asking new clients at intake, “how did you hear about our program?” Record answers in a way that allows you to easily access the data. The answers won’t help you in they’re spread out across client files in one person’s drawer.

Also, a free tool called Google Analytics shows you what’s happening on your website.  Analytics shows the source of traffic to your website—how many of the people who visited your parenting program webpage came from a Twitter link (shown as “t.co” in the following chart), for example.  The tool will also track how many of those Twitter visitors signed up for a program or workshop (result!), or if they just visited the page and then left. Analytics is easily added to your site by your web developer.

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Volunteer Ottawa’s popular Social Media for Non-profit Organizations workshop returns on Tuesday, May 16. This time it’s an evening session from 6 – 9 p.m. Learn more and register at the link below:

Click here to register Tuesday, May 16, 2017. 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Filed under: Communications
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