Published: 4 September 2013

Simple steps to share social media success

With an increased emphasis on digital delivery, it’s vital to know what to measure when it comes to social media.

Is number of Twitter followers enough? How about numbers of interactions? Or where your Facebook fans are from? How deep do you delve in the data?

As charity comms professionals how often are we just asked to report back on the top level stats – such as number of followers, or fans? What does that data really tell us? It’s important to measure your social media against your objectives – sounds obvious right?

If your awareness raising campaign was to engage with people across Greater Manchester on the issue of urban foxes – did social media help you achieve that? It may be fantastic that your Facebook campaign page got over 6,000 likes – but were those people your target audience?

Use the right tools

Facebook Insights produce a wealth of free data on your page including likes; breaking it down into demographics (gender, age, and location) as well as reach and post clicks.

The charity I work for, The Lesbian & Gay Foundation, uses TwentyFeet, a great low-cost tool that pulls in data from Facebook and Twitter, presenting it in graph form for last week, last month or last quarter.

It makes it easy to look at the number of interactions on Twitter, for example, and is also great to get an overview of your activity and influence over a set time frame – useful when measuring the impact of campaigns.

And of course don’t forget about your website. Google Analytics offers really robust and intelligent reporting for free, so you can track the amount of social media traffic to your website. URL shortening platform bitly.com can also measure the number of clicks on the links you post.

Share success internally

OK, so you’re measuring your social media, using some great free tools – now it’s time to share. Don’t just produce a great report, then file it away never to be looked at again!

It’s important to share your success with the wider staff team, including senior management. They might not know you’ve hit 50,000 followers on Twitter, or that your latest Facebook post received 1,000 shares. This means they miss out on the impact your social media campaign had.

Getting senior buy-in can also ensure that comms is properly resourced and the ‘bosses’ can see the value in people spending time on social media.

…and externally

It might not always be newsworthy that you reached 10,000 followers, but other people will be interested in hearing about your social media success. Share your best practice examples with organisations like CharityComms, so we can all be inspired!

I remember Railway Children’s Twitter Fundraising success with Aviva earlier this year, which raised £97,774. Examples like that show us the power of social media

Do what works for you

While it’s great to measure, analyse and report – make sure you know why you want the data, and how you will use it. Day to day, is it worth spending hours looking for a pattern on what post got more engagement? Only measure things if you’re willing and able to make changes if the data suggests you should.

Work out what is important for you and your organisation, and get good at measuring that!


Sarah McNally, press & social media officer, The Lesbian & Gay Foundation

Sarah has worked in charity communications for over 5 years at a variety of different organisations. Her current role is Press & Social Media Officer for The Lesbian & Gay Foundation.