I can get very ranty and soapbox-y about today’s topic. I’m gonna keep things tame instead.

Social Media Metrics

I believe that data tells a story. Using data is critical to the success of your organization’s fundraising and marketing.

The problem is knowing what data is useful and which stats are vanity metrics.

There are a gazillion different data points with which to measure success of your social media presence. You want to see if your content is hitting the mark, if you’re building relationships with your audience and if you’re driving eyeballs to your website.

Have a look at this list of 65 metrics which can help measure social media success. I went through the list and I’d like to share with you two stats that don’t matter and three that do.

Vanity metrics

Number of fans/followers: This one drives me nuts. So let me say this loud and clear for everyone, including those in the back:


Social media is about quality, not quantity. You could have millions of followers but if they never interact with your content, do they even exist?

Side note: The exact same thing goes for your email subscriber list. A smaller list where people are engaged, clicking your CTA and taking action on your website will always beat emailing 10,000 people who don’t care to open your emails.

Contrary to what some “influencers” will have you believe, social media is not a popularity contest. I have no problem with a large engaged following. It’s the accounts I see that claim to have 50K followers but individual posts barely have one comment or reply.

I know that some Boards and bosses love big numbers. On paper a large following can look impressive. But if there’s no conversation, no replies, no action being taken, it’s all fluff.

And it’s certainly not a good way to measure success or failure of your social media presence.

Likes: A friend of mine used to manage a Facebook page that had over a million followers. He once told me: “I could post that the sun rises in the west and within 30 seconds I’ll have 7,000 Likes on the post.”

To me, likes are also a type of popularity contest. Some people just like every post by certain accounts no matter what the content is. Likes don’t tell me a story of engagement.

Consider a social media post which asks for follower input. It may not get any Likes but there will be 100 responses. THAT’S what I’m looking for!

It’s called “social” media for a reason. It’s meant to be social! Conversations, back and forth, replies is where social media excels. Not Likes.

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What To Measure

Clicks/conversions: Are followers clicking on links in your posts? Are your posts driving traffic to your website?

And once there, are people taking action (e.g. subscribing to your enewsletter, registering for events, donating online)?

You absolutely want to be measuring this. Part of the content you share will be mobilizing people to click and take action. Check to see if your efforts are succeeding or not.

Shares/retweets/reposts: When someone finds your content worthy of sharing with their network, that’s worth measuring!

People are careful about what they share. For some a share means that a specific post resonated with them and they want their family and friends to see it as well.

For others, they know that their family and friends are already inundated with social media posts. Therefore they will only share those posts that they deem to be of high value.

No matter the reason, shares is a metric you want to be looking at.

Comments/replies: A wise person once said, “Don’t read the comments on the Internet.”

They’re not wrong.

Having said that, comments and replies are a good way of seeing how social your social media posts are being digested by your followers. Keep in mind how busy people are so if they stop to post a comment, that means something!

And no, I’m not talking about comments left by spam and bots.

Go to your Instagram feed. Are people leaving comments on your posts? Are they responding to polls, quizzes and questions you post to Stories?

In short, are they interacting with you? Back to that whole “social” media thing.

A Cacophony Of Posts

There’s a lot of noise out there on social media. It’s not easy but you CAN cut through the noise. Doing so means knowing whether your posts hit the mark or not.

Use the data to help you learn what’s working and what isn’t. Just make sure the data you’re looking at is the data that will help you move the needle.

Looking to boost your fundraising and marketing efforts? Need an experienced person to join your team for a short period to help you achieve success? It’s time for your organization to Level Up!

I’ll join your team on an interim basis and you’ll have access to my experience and expertise. Let’s team up to move your nonprofit forward!