By Justin Wise | http://justinwise.net
A social media strategy for a ministry, church or non-profit isn’t the same as one for a business. Simply put, the two fields are measuring different results:
- Marketplace = dollars
- Non-profits = relationships
I’ve over-simplified the measurements, but hopefully you see that the end results aren’t the same. The marketplace runs on profit while non-profits run, ultimately, on creating and sustaining some form of relationships.
- Attendance. For your church, add a “Twitter” or “Facebook” option on your visitor/”How did you find out about us?” card. Soul City Church in Chicago estimates that 25% of their congregation first heard about them on Twitter. How would you like a 25% increase in attendance?
- Event turn-out. Are the events that you publicize through Facebook or Meetup.com more successful than those that are not? If so, by how much?
- Increased site traffic. Are more people visiting your site because you promote your posts through Twitter and Google+?
- Ministry involvement. Are the ministries in your church using social media more effective? Are they seeing greater results? Why?
- Discipling/mentor relationships. If you have an online community, how many people are entering into mentoring/discipleship relationships based off interactions they’ve had online? Simply put, are face-to-face meetings increasing because of your online community?
- Increased Twitter followers. Numbers, while not everything, are still something. Are you strategizing to intelligently increase your Twitter base?
- Increase in Facebook fans. Similarly, are you seeing your Facebook fan page grow? If not, why not? Is your page more than just an info dump?
- Member/volunteer satisfaction scores. It might sound crazy, but you can learn a lot about your organization by asking the people most deeply involved how happy they are. You can ask for honest feedback through all of your social networks, or you can utilize free tools like the form feature on Google Docs and send a simple survey out to your people. Sometimes there’s a disconnect between what the staff thinks and what the actual people who make up your organization think. Why not find out if they’re on the same page?
- Increase in email newsletter subscribers. Are you producing content that adds value? Or are you simply turning your email newsletter into a spammy online announcement board? If your newsletter grows numerically and also grows in the click through rate, you’re on the right track. (Hint: Stop making subscribers your first metric. Any dummy with a Constant Contact account can get a large email list. First, count how many people are actually reading your newsletter.)
- Number of microblogging followers. Tumblr is fast becoming a legitimate social media platform. Not quite Twitter, not quite a blog, not quite a fan page; this is unique. Are you on this platform and if so, are you producing content that causes your base to grow?
- Increase in RSS subscribers. If your blog is bringing people helpful stories about the organization, you’ll see this number increase. Counting isn’t enough, though. Establish a ratio that’s appropriate for your context to be most effective. For example, if you have 10,000 people in your church but your RSS subscriptions only grow by a handful each month, you’re doing it wrong.
- Brand/organization awareness. Again, a ratio is most helpful for this metric. If your ministry has 50 people involved and you’re lighting up the social sphere like a Christmas tree, you’re on the right track. If, however, you’re a large organization and can’t get more than few mentions on Foursquare, well, then, you’re doing it wrong.
- Increase in member enrollment. More than attendance, this is a pledge to join your faith community. Ask your new members how they found out about membership. Was it through your social networks (assuming you’re promoting membership through your networks)? If so, what was the percentage? Does that percentage increase each membership class?
- Donor dollars. How much of your online donations are coming in through social media links? (You can track that, BTW.) If you have online donations enabled, you need to be tracking where people are coming from.
- Launch results. Are you launching a new initiative in your church or non-profit? How heavily are you integrating social media involvement into the launch? Compare launches that didn’t have SM support to those that did. What was the difference, if anything?
Those are 15 solid, data-driven metrics you can apply to your organizational social media efforts. Return on investment can only be determined when you’re actually measuring something. That’s important to remember. If you’re not measuring, you forfeit your right to complain about the results!