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Tracking Social Media Engagements and Conversions for Your Nonprofit

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By Robert Carnes
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Published June 24, 2021
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Metrics matter because they give your nonprofit insights on decision-making and provide evidence for what kind of content to share. This is especially true on social media because there are so many data points you can track.

However, this amount of data can be overwhelming, so nonprofits have to prioritize which metrics to actually measure. Across platforms, you should be tracking social media engagement rates and conversion rates. Here’s what you need to know about both.

1. Engagement Rate

Engagements are the currency of online content. Thousands of people might see your content, but it won’t be relevant for everyone. By interacting with your content, a segment of the audience shows you they care about what you have to say.

This is especially true on social media because the platforms’ algorithms prioritize engagements. Facebook, Twitter, and the rest want to keep people on their websites, so they’re fanatical about delivering content that makes people click. When they do, the algorithms deliver your content to even more people—creating a snowball effect.

Measuring Engagements on Social Media

Engagements refer to nearly any interaction a user has with your content. Your goal is to stop the scroll and get them to click. Depending on the specific social media outlet, that usually means:

  • Likes
  • Shares
  • Comments
  • Link clicks

Keep in mind, not all social media engagements are created equal. Social media platforms treat these interactions differently, and so should your organization. Some engagements are more valuable than others because they show a deeper level of audience interaction.

  • Liking a post on Facebook is nice, but it requires the least amount of effort. 
  • Commenting on a post is better because it shows the system that they took more time to add content of their own. It also encourages others to do the same.
  • A share is even better—not only because it exposes your content to that user’s audience, but also because it tells the platform that this person likes what you created enough to do so.

This means prioritizing engagements accordingly when tracking social media metrics, but it also means creating content that encourages shares and comments. To learn user demographic and engagement stats for each channel, suggested post frequencies, and a sample week of nonprofit social media content, download the Nonprofit’s Social Media Content Planner now. 

Why and How to Measure the Engagement Rate

It’s not enough to simply count the number of engagements collected over a given time period. Measuring your organization’s engagement rate is a more accurate reflection of your content’s relevance to the audience.

That’s because your content reach varies and you want to see what percent of that group who saw your post actually did something with it. In other words, calculating a rate smooths out the rough edges and gives you a more consistent measure of success.

To measure a social media platform’s engagement rate:

  • Take the total number of engagements  
  • Divided by the total number of impressions
  • Multiply by 100 (to get the percentage)

For example, if 1,000 people saw your Facebook post and 50 of those people engaged, your engagement rate would be 5%. Now that you’ve calculated the rate, you’re likely wondering how to tell whether or note that rate is good or not.

Benchmarking Your Engagement Rate

To measure the relative effectiveness of your social media engagement rate, you can start by comparing it to benchmark numbers for the nonprofit industry. Typically, an engagement rate of about 1% to 2% is average for most businesses, regardless of platform. Some organizations can see rates of about 4% to 5%, which is a better number to shoot for.

However, more important than benchmarking is consistent improvement over time. If you aren’t already, take some time to begin measuring engagement rate across your social channels. This gives you a baseline of how you’re performing and a place to improve on moving forward.

2. Conversion Rate

Conversions are measurements of how many people took the action you set out for them to do. That will be different depending on what your goal is, and you could have multiple goals depending on the season or campaign.

Measuring Conversions on Social Media

Here are a few different examples of relevant social media conversion goals:

  • Click to a read a blog post
  • Register for an event
  • Make a donation
  • Fill out a volunteer form
  • Visit a website landing page
  • Subscribe to an email list
  • Sign a petition
  • Purchase a product

Be laser-focused on what action you want people to take. Don’t try to pull off multiple conversions in a single post (or even a single campaign). The more intentional about promoting a single action step, the more likely people will actually take that step.

Pushing two or more calls to action can get cumbersome and confusing, and can also muddle the waters for your tracking purposes.

Tracking Social Media Conversions

Follower count or impressions can be easy to track, but calculating conversions takes things a step further. It requires you to bridge to another platform, usually your website or a CRM, where the conversion takes place.

Without proper tracking integrations that communicate data across platforms, this can be tricky, sometimes requiring you to make educated guesses. But there are often tactics you can employ to track users from social media through a conversion.

One example is a UTM tracking code that allows you to customize a link with tags that explain where a user originates from. If you’re using Google Analytics, you can view the path these users made through your website, including specific actions.

Just like with engagements, the sheer number of conversions lacks valuable context. It’s more helpful to measure conversion rate because it takes the size of your audience into account. Conversion rates are measured the same way as engagement rates—conversions divided by impressions multiplied by 100.

formula for tracking social media conversions

A solid conversion rate depends on the context of how many conversions you’re seeing compared to the number of users visiting your donation page. Ten conversions from 10,000 users viewing your donation page might seem lackluster, but 10 conversions from 50 visitors would be great. 

Realize that social media conversion rates aren’t usually that high—typically less than 1%. But you’ll never realize this unless you track it. Keep in mind these rates should vary depending upon your desired conversion. It’ll likely be higher for something easy like driving web traffic, and much lower for a higher-value conversion like committing to a monthly recurring donation. 

Make Engagements and Conversions Work for You

Nonprofits should track engagement and conversion rates when it comes to social media. These are not comprehensive by any means, and they aren’t always easy to measure.

However, these rates are likely the most accurate representations of your organization’s performance on social media. When you track the right things, you know how to make improvements and influence those metrics to increase.

To learn more about elevating your social media strategy, check out our other resources: 

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