I have contributed many posts to our Social Media series about how social media can help nonprofits reach and connect with more supporters. The following are some excellent insights from the research that nonprofits should keep in mind as they strengthen their social media initiatives. Please keep in mind that organization sizes according to this part of the research are grouped as follows: small (under 25K fans), medium (25K-100K fans) and large (over 100K fans).
Audience Size – Facebook fans and Twitter followers are growing exponentially in comparison to email lists, with a growth of 46% on Facebook and an increase of 264% on Twitter and with Facebook communities growing at a monthly rate of 2.6%. There seems to be a larger presence on Facebook than Twitter, as an approximate 14.9% of an organization’s email lists are Facebook fans compared to 5.3% that are Twitter followers. Maintaining a presence on each platform has many benefits and one way to continue growing your social media communities is including your social media information in all email communications directing supporters to become fans and/or followers or your organization. Measuring your social media audience size is as easy as dividing the number of fans or followers on a platform by the number of supporters on your email list.
Frequency – On average participating organizations are posting 1.1 Facebook posts per day. Interestingly when broken down by organization size, large organizations post 2.1 times per day twice as much as medium and small organizations which post an average of 0.9 times per day. It’s likely that larger organizations post more often as they may have the dedicated resources to do so. There is also consistency when results are broken down by sectors with International organizations posting a little more frequently with an average of 1.7 times per day, while Wildlife and Animal Welfare organizations post an average of 0.8 times a day. Ultimately, how often you post will determine the levels of success in supporter engagement. Post too often and risk turning off your audience, don’t post enough and they will forget you.
Virality – This metric measures the number of Facebook fans that share your content with their own networks of friends by either ‘Liking’, commenting or sharing the posts. The statistics show that 1.4% of users have shared content. What is interesting is that despite small organizations posting half the number of times as larger organizations, they have twice as many fans (2.4%) that are sharing their content than large organizations (1.2%). Rights, Environmental and Wildlife and Animal Welfare sectors all had above average results. Virality is important to an organization, as this is how reach is expanded and communities are grown organically.
Content – The type of content that is shared definitely has an impact on Virality, where photos that are posted had an average lifetime virality of 3.3%, twice the overall average of 1.4%. However, when analyzing Facebook click-through results, links had 0.40% of clicks (listed as a percentage compared to post reach). When planning what content to post, nonprofits should be strategically scheduling posts that both increase virality and encourages the community to click on the shared content that will lead back to the organization’s donation page, website or blog. The content of the posts must inspire action to generate the desired results.
While there are many aspects to consider when formulating a strong social media engagement plan, understanding other organization’s current community size and their common practices can certainly be an excellent source of information to tailor your own plans. Reviewing the 2013 eNonprofit Benchmarks Study offers more information that can be broken down, reviewed and compared to your own results. You can also follow the conversation on Twitter with hashtag #2013Bench @MRCampaigns.