twitter-292994_1920At the heart of any social media campaign is the need to know whether it was a success. Not everyone loves social media the way they should, but charities should learn to value it if they can be shown its worth in cold, hard data. Big Heart gets analytical.

With charities’ limited resources, social media needs specific goals that are measurable so it can be monitored and justified.

Whether the goals are to increase awareness, grow community engagement, promote services, or inspire donations and volunteers, the question often comes back: what is the ROI (return on investment) of social media?

To help determine what might indicate success, take a look at some of these metrics and decide if they are relevant to your good cause:

Measure up

The primary measureable analytics are reach, engagement and traffic to your website.

Reach indicates how many people saw your social media content – but some people might have just ignored your carefully crafted content, so this measure needs to be taken with a pinch of salt.

Engagement reveals how they respond to that content in terms of likes, shares, comments, and retweets – a much more accurate indicator of how well your content resonated with your target audience.

Discovering how traffic is driven to your website will help understand which social media tactics, content or channels are working for your organisation.

There are many free tools out there to help you measure your efforts:

Try these on for size

Built-in platform tools such as Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics determine the best day and time to post and what type of content is most popular with your fans. They also track follower growth, profile visits, monitor mentions, determine reach and click rates. The Social Media Examiner provides a good overview of these facilities and what they can be used for.

Scheduling tools such as Hootsuite offer basic metrics for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, including number of posts (useful to keep an eye on productivity), number of fans, engagement, traffic (the number of times a link in your post has been clicked on), which can be upgraded to include team performance and customised real-time reports.

Google Analytics tracks who visits your website and how they got there as well as what they looked at on your website and for how long.

Details include the user’s age, gender, location and which pages they landed on and whether they completed a specific goal, such as donating or signing up for a newsletter.

With this invaluable data, charities can build up clear profiles of their supporters and how social media drives them to your website, achieving the organisation’s goals – as well as evaluating the success of your social media activity.

Get the right fit

Knowing what is working and why will inform future strategy, identifying which channel is performing for your charity and concentrate resources there.

Studying their retweets and click-throughs can help you better understand what these supporters want to hear about from you and help donor retention.

Analyse your data regularly to show the power of engaging and inspiring your audience to share your organisation’s content in their networks and that non-financial metrics can as important as donation figures and gain vital senior management buy-in to the importance of social media.

If you need help getting your social media campaign to measure up, get in contact the Big Heart Network at or check out our Lunch&Learn seminars that are coming up here. We’d love to help.