Social Media Measurement Roundup | Beth's Blog

Social Media Measurement Roundup


Photo by M. Schenekenberg

The  Zoetica Salon is a free online space for informal peer learning about nonprofits and social media.    It is a place to share resources and ask and answer questions.   We also identify a monthly theme to discuss in more in depth.    We want to distinguish the salon from the informal knowledge sharing that happens daily on the web or behind pay walls by offering a regular synthesis of the stories, knowledge, tips, resources, and wisdom shared in real time in the salon.

This month’s theme was measurement – here’s a summary of the month’s learnings:

Measurement Approaches

We launched with a post that shared a copy of KDPaine’s Measurement Checklist that takes you through the A to Z of setting up a thoughtful and robust measurement approach.    Many nonprofits often address measurement at the end of a project or program or fiscal year, but by putting it first it enables organizations to build a thoughtful strategy.

Measurement Challenges

Folks from larger organizations identified one challenge with the first step, which is get sign off and buy in on what to measure.    As one participant points out,  “It is very hard to get departments to agree because Web wants one thing, Membership wants another, Communications has it’s own tracking.”

Deb Levine from ISIS shared, “Many organizations in public health area are still relying on process measures (how many visitors, how many links in, how many friends, etc.).  I believe this is because it is so difficult to measure behavior change. ALSO, incredibly important measurements are the demographics of who your non-profit is reaching.  Meaning, if you are a senior-serving organization and you have 1000+ friends, 80% of whom are under 30, well, enough said…. ”

Small Proof of Pilots With Measurement Component

Participants pointed to the importance of small pilots.  Notes one participant, “It definitely gave us the ability to work around chicken & egg conversations. “I can’t prove value unless you let me try.” “We won’t let you try unless you can prove value.”

Data Analysis

What useful nugget did you learn from analyzing your social media metrics data or your measurement process that lead to a success or improvement in your social media practice? There’s a goldmine of insights shared on this thread that will be useful to everyone!   Enjoy!

How do you analyze your social media data? This conversation explored common pitfalls to analysis approaches and how to avoid them.   Many nonprofit social media managers shared tips and advice.


When a nonprofit partners with a company on project that uses social media, what metrics do you use to measure success? This conversation was sparked by this post from Richard Becker that shares the numbers from the Pepsi Refresh Contest.   Numbers are the first tangible indicators, but documenting and seeing the actual change depends on how well equipped and capable those who won the popular vote and the money are to achieve those social change outcomes.  While difficult to link cause/effect, it will be interesting to see what the long term impact is.

How important are outside social reviews of your cause and its efforts to measure and improve? This conversation starter was about measuring the impact third party reviewers.  In the commercial sector, Yelp serves as a third party review mechanism for restaurants, hotels, etc.   In the nonprofit sector, there is no universal review mechanism to benchmark against, but Great Nonprofits is beginning to fill those shoes. Many feel the same as Craig Newmark.  Do you?  Respond here.

How do you measure the your organization’s influence in social channels? This conversation was started by
blog posts from Geoff Livingston and Valeria Maltoni about one popular influence measuring tool.

What’s your “sexy” social media metric? Google Analytics Evangelist and Blogger, Avanish Kaushik coined that phrase to describe a metric that helps you learn and improve what you’re doing and leads to greater impact.     That’s why the sexy metric for social media is engagement which can lead to more impact.    Frank Barry wonders why many nonprofits measure the wrong things and suggests these three metrics to track.

Other than benchmarking against yourself over time, are there sub-sector averages that we can look at? Here’s a quick list of benchmark studies of nonprofits and social media:  NTEN/Common Knowledge Social Network Benchmark Report , NTEN – E-Nonprofit Benchmark StudyPostRank Nonprofit Blogs Benchmarking and Digital IQ Public Sector Benchmark. And, in addition to these nonprofit and public sector benchmark reports, another approach is get a small group of your colleagues from similar organizations and benchmark each other by sharing data.


KD Paine’s checklist, step 2, is to select a listening/monitoring tool, an important step in the measuremet process.   As Kami Huyse points out,  paid tools can be expensive, particularly for small nonprofits.   She discovered a new free Beta tool called G’lerts (at from Shonali Burke.   This tool allows you to shared today, that allows you to put all of your Google Alert feeds (which many of use get by email) into a dashboard. The dashboard shows rough sentiment analysis, # of mentions and links.


Dan Michel from Feeding America shared how his team measures and tracks their social media and links to key performance indicators.   Here’s the summary and it is filled with useful tips and practice.

Wayside House for some beginner tools for automating a micro content strategy.   The answer is here.

Hildy Gottlieb asks for advice about what to do about those pesky community pages on Facebook.  Many answers here.

Some Great Links Shared

Lots of discussion and questions about Facebook Places inspired this guest post by Ivan Boothe and this short and sweet and very useful tip sheet on what nonprofits need to know about Facebook Places

A terrific resource on ROI and Social Media shared by Kami Huyse – Oliver Blanchard’s Social Media and ROI for Associations.

JD Lasica shares an awesome list of social media measurement tools, many of them free or low cost.

Holly Ross, NTEN,  Four Lessons Learned About Social Media in 2010

Come join us in the Zoetica Salon. We’ll have a new theme for January and lots of tips, resources, and discussion about nonprofits and social media!

Happy New Year!

5 Responses

  1. 40deuce says:

    Sounds really interesting, Beth. I wish it was something I was aware of at the time, but I just bookmarked your page so I can come back and go through more of those articles.
    Thanks for sharing!

    Sheldon, community manager for Sysomos

  2. […] Zoetica Salon Summary: A Few Good Social Media Measurement Insights — Beth’s Blog […]

  3. Hi Beth, at Glerts we like to help non-profits and our basic service is, as you kindly point out, free.

    Soon we will have a Pro service coming out with lots of other monitoring and evaluation tools (Twitter, Facebook, archiving, search etc) and if your readers working for non profits would like a a very extended trial for free please let me know.

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