How to: measuring success on social media

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13-07-2020 | 08:00

Using social media for fundraising is not a new concept. But how do you know if it's successful? What are your goals with social media and how do you translate them into measurable metrics? This article helps you determine what you want to accomplish with social media and how to measure your results.

Measuring social media activities of an organisation is usually limited to measuring the number of followers, friends, likes or tweets. A lot of special social media monitoring tools are now used by organisations. These tools measure the sentiment of their organisation or campaign (positive, neutral, negative).

However, these metrics don't give insight in social media success in relation to your goals as a fundraiser: to raise more funds, to gain more donors and to receive more and higher donations from existing donors.

Social media is a great tool for gaining better insights into your donors and fans. Decide beforehand where you're going to use social media for. This will make your strategy more focused.

There are a few steps by which social media can contribute to your goals. These steps show you how to form a relationship between an organisation and a donor or supporter. Every step includes a few examples of how you can measure success on social media.

1. How to get attention on social media
You don't get new donors when people have never heard of you. Reaching these people is a good start. How many people have gotten the chance to read your message on social media? You can't be sure if they actually read or remembered the message. 

Social media is all about relationships. It's not only about how many people you have reached but also how much influence these people have. How many people can they reach and how strong is their influence on this group? How many visitors and authority does the publication that you have posted your blog on, have?


  • Corporate blog: how many visitors do you have on your own blog
  • Twitter: number of Twitter followers, how many followers have retweeted your message, how many followers do they have
  • Facebook: number of Facebook friends, amount of likes, amount of shares, number of friends from friends who shared or liked your message
  • External social media sites: on how many sites has your message been posted, how many visitors do these sites have


2.      How to earn engagement on social media

The next step is to (emotionally) engage people and connect them to your organisation or project. You can measure engagement by looking at how many times your message has been spread or responded to. Has it been shared a lot? Apparently your message was worth spreading. It can also be the case that other people take the initiative to start a conversation about your organisation or project. This makes the message more trustworthy because people trust opinions more from people in their own network (someone like me). This sentiment is often measured in conversations with the help of certain social media monitoring tools. But, these measurements aren't always trustworthy. Listening to these conversations can give you useful insights about your supporters. Don't forget to engage with these supporters!


  • Twitter: retweets, replies, quoted retweets
  • Facebook: likes, shares, comments
  • All social media sites: amount of conversations about your organisation and/or project
  • The sentiment from all notifications (positive, neutral, negative, related words)


3.      How to promote interaction
You have reached a supporter who is engaged with your message. Other supporters can be reached via this supporter. You want to trigger all of these people to support your cause. By navigating to the project description page, by giving a reaction and by donating or registering as a regular donor. Preferably, this happens on your corporate website. Integrate your social media in your own website if you can. This is where you have the biggest chance to converting an engaged supporter to a donor.


  • Corporate website: by clicks, reactions, comments, questions, average time spent on your website
  • Social interaction on your corporate website (you could use Google Analytics)


4.      How do I earn donations
The last step takes place on your corporate website. Make sure your website is optimised to convert your engaged supporters to new donors. Give your new donors the opportunity to recommend your organisation to his/her network.


  • Amount of new donors via social media
  • Amount of repeated gifts after interaction via social media
  • Conversion of email campaigns for donors who came via social media

Social media often has a big influence on the first few steps of building a relationship. This influence of social media is often underrated when you only measure the last click before a donation your corporate website.

Web analytics software is used to measure the entire journey of supporter and not just the last click.

This article gives a foundation to think strategically about your use of social media and measuring its success. This article is based on the book “Social media metrics” by Jim Sterne.