Finally, A Clear Shift in Attitudes About Measuring Social Media | Beth's Blog

Finally, A Clear Shift in Attitudes About Measuring Social Media


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.


4 Responses

  1. […] encouraging post on her blog recently, saying she believes nonprofit associations are starting to get smart about social media measurement, looking to analyze its impact rather than just chart fan/follower growth. Speaking at the recent […]

  2. Nate Richey says:

    How does one acquire the skills of social media metrics in the first place? I have been researching online and would like to know how to acquire these skills so I can be hireable in this field so that I can help out certain non-profits to make a difference for them.

  3. Brian Mac Domhnaill says:

    Hi Beth,
    Can you contact me please (
    I would like to discuss the work that you have been doing.

  4. Beth says:

    Hi Brian,

    Thanks so much for your comment. I just followed up with you via email.

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