As 2012 is rapidly coming to a close, I’m reminded of the incredible evolution of social media throughout the year and the challenge nonprofits face keeping up. HubSpot, an internet marketing company, recently released an interesting research piece titled the Online Marketing Opportunity Report. The research was based on 33 keywords that describe various industries and I reviewed the research specifically for ‘nonprofit’ and I found the information somewhat in-keeping with what I have written previously in our Social Media Series.
Under 20% of nonprofit related activity online are keywords in blogs and search engines but a whopping 80% of nonprofit conversations are happening in Social Media with 50% taking place on Linkedin. This contradicts the consensus that Facebook is the platform that generates the most activity. YouTube was second, Twitter third and Facebook fourth. However, the report does caution against “chasing” activity simply based on these results as organizations will be better served focusing on its individual strategies and results as it varies by subsector and size.
Image taken from Online Marketing Opportunity Report @ hubspot.com
An interesting statistic that I have never encountered in all my research thus far is a ‘competition score’. This is HubSpot’s very own algorithm that assigns a score based on how much competition there is in each assessed channel by measuring how crowded each platform or web space is for specific keywords. The results are somewhat surprising as LinkedIn again had the largest share of social media activity scoring 89 out of 100 making it the most crowded channel amongst competitors creating content using ‘nonprofit’ as a keyword. You Tube came a close second with a score of 85 followed by Search Engines at 83. Amongst the scored channels, Facebook came in dead last with a competition score of 54.
Since Facebook scored as the platform with the least activity and competition, it’s an ideal platform for nonprofits to maintain a heavier presence. If it’s not as overcrowded as other platforms using ‘nonprofit’ as the keyword(s) there is a place for all small and medium sized organizations on Facebook by creating dedicated brand pages. Similarly, Twitter scored the second lowest in competition, signalling that it may be another strong platform to maintain a presence on without the overcrowding competition.
This HubSpot report also doubles as a guide for how to approach the results of its findings and the following are brief highlights of that would be beneficial for nonprofits to consider:
Search Engines –It’s important for small and medium sized organizations to have a strategy that considers reasonable levels of volume and competition. Using keywords that are highly competitive may not net the desired results so you might want to consider a family of keywords of various volumes to grow your online profile. This will allow you to rank on less searched keywords and make ground on more competitive words.
Blogs – You should apply the same keyword strategy explained above on your blog. You can also research other blogs with similar keywords to compare strategies and measure effectiveness. It may be through trial and error that you find the perfect keywords in terms of competition and search volumes and generating relevant traffic.
Twitter – Despite the high levels of traffic, Twitter can drive your targeted keyword audience but it can also bury your message due to the popularity of your topic. Tweets are ranked based on three main factors: importance, relevance and how recent the content. Some effort may be required to achieve desired results but worth investing time to get it right.
Facebook – There is high potential for connecting with supporters through Facebook provided that targeted keywords are being used to describe your cause and organization and the right message is being delivered. The stronger your communication on the platform, the better the supporter engagement results will be.
LinkedIn – As one of the smaller but growing platforms, LinkedIn may hold a segment of your target demographic that is underserved. There is a lot of nonprofit activity on Linkedin and within its Groups may lie an excellent opportunity to grow your target audience giving you an advantage over your competitors. Creating group names based on keywords instead of your specific brand will ultimately generate better results.
YouTube – As the second largest search engine in the world (next to Google), ranking on YouTube may prove to be challenging but not impossible. Producing viral videos can be achieved by the number of views and comments it receives, therefore it’s important to encourage sharing of your video(s) using email lists, social media networks and/or your website(s).
You can download the report for additional information and resources that may be beneficial for nonprofits to review and compare against their current online marketing initiatives. Feel free to browse through the other posts in our Social Media Series for nonprofits as well which includes a series on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Pinterest along with other related topics.