Last week, I was honored to be the keynote presentation at the Social Media 4 Nonprofits Conference in San Francisco on why and how to measure impact for your social media integrated strategy. For past couple of years, I have been blogging, speaking, facilitating peer trainings, and writing about using measurement methods for nonprofits to measure impact and to learn from their data. I spent a year co-writing on a book, “Measuring the Networked Nonprofit,” with measurement guru KD Paine because I felt strongly focusing on vanity metrics such as follower counts or Facebook likes was a waste of time.
I detected a clear shift in attitudes in the audience at the conference based on the audience questions. I didn’t get asked “What are the best tools to measure followers on Twitter?” Instead, I got asked questions about measuring the longer-term impact of social media – how do we know that our use of social media has influenced a conversion to an action or behavior change or donation? How do we measure and track engagement to results? And, it isn’t just San Francisco, it looks like many nonprofits are beginning to understand that it is a waste of time to measure vanity metrics and it essential to focus on outcomes-based measurement as this high level overview from Froggy Loop Blog implies.
The measurement and analytics community declared war on social media vanity metrics several years ago and is continuing to work on standardized social media metrics that are not bs. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation organized a convening six months, “Advancing Social Media Measurement” that went beyond an overview and participants dug deeply into methods for measuring results from using social media for nonprofit and philanthropy. With shifting attitudes, the skills and will to get past hurdles in measurement follow.
It’s about measuring those conversions – whether “Macro” like longer term impact or “Micro,” the smaller steps leading up to those big conversions. If your organization wants to shift from measuring fans to measuring results for your social media, arm yourself for the battle by getting a copy of “Measuring the Networked Nonprofit,” winner of the 2013 Terry McAdam Nonprofit Book Award.