Non –profit organizations are accustomed to running short-staffed and on shoestring budgets. Often times, important marketing campaigns get pushed to the side or abandoned all together. In today’s world, it is imperative that non-profits do not ignore their social media campaign strategies. Not only is it important to keep up with the times, but a well run campaign will increase your organizations awareness, communication abilities, donor relations and ultimately donations!
Beth Kanter and Allison Fine co-wrote the book, “The Networked Nonprofit.” The main theme of the book is that non-profits need to experiment with social media. Experimenting will identify what works and what doesn’t, which will allow you to re-strategize until the right approach is discovered. It is human nature to consider an endeavor as a failed attempt and to abandon the idea altogether. This happens regularly with social media campaigns. But this is the critical part – when an idea doesn’t produce results, use what you learned to tweak your next approach. As Kanter and Fine stated in their book, “It isn’t whether your experiment is an immediate success, it is more about what you learn about what works and what doesn’t.”
So, how can you analyze your social media campaigns without having to allocate an entire staff position to the project? The following are tips from the book, “The Networked Nonprofit.”
1) Keep it Simple: Your plan does not need to be complicated, in fact, the simpler the better! This will also keep it inexpensive and low-risk. Consider running an experiment as simple as, “How much time does it take for us to Facebook every day to be effective?”
2) Do It: Don’t spend all of your time thinking about how to critique your campaign – instead, just do it! Choose a measurement standard such as the one listed above, design a basic plan and go forth and measure!
3) Learn! : Your goal should be to learn what works and what does not. Don’t look at it as justifying whether or not social media is right for your organization. Instead, focus on what works and build on it.
4) Create a Hypothesis: Kanter and Fine suggest using the following question to start: “My hypothesis is that our Facebook Fans are more likely to engage with us when we post links that have a question in the title.”
5) Evaluate: Identifying your success metric is very important, but so is determining what constitutes victory. Knowing that something doesn’t work is a victory since you won’t have to do it again. Answering your hypothesis is also a victory as it gives you information to build upon. And remember, halfway through, most experiments look doomed to fail. Hang in there and don’t make any determinations until the end!
6) Build Time in For Reflection at the End: An experiment is not complete until all the data is collected and analyzed. It is imperative to make time for reflecting upon the results – this includes the positive and the negative. Even if the experiment was a total disaster, there is so much to learn from the results.
Your non-profit organization has the ability to have a very successful social media campaign. Using this approach, you will be able to run quick experiments to see what works and what does not. A few simple tweaks and your campaign will be off and running!