2 Social Media Metrics Your Nonprofit Should Be Tracking

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By Robert Carnes
Published August 13, 2021
Reading Time: 4 minutes

There are countless social media metrics to track depending on the platforms you use regularly, and your nonprofit needs to recognize which ones truly matter to gauge and improve your performance. 

Two relatively recent social metrics worth monitoring are saves and shares. Below, we dive into what these metrics entail and how your nonprofit can benefit from tracking them.

Saves

As a social media metric, saves are currently exclusive to Instagram. This feature was introduced back in 2017 as a way for users to bookmark posts for later viewing. With Instagram testing out the removal of the “like” function, saves are another, arguably better, way of tracking how users engage with content.

Users can leverage the saves feature to organize saved posts into collections based on topics. This essentially allows users to develop a library of curated content over time. The content users save is private and can’t be viewed by others, which is a different tactic from many other social platforms.

For Instagram Business accounts, the number of saves generated from a post can be viewed from the Insights tab within the Instagram app. Saves can be tallied up over a given time period or viewed per each specific post.

Why Saves Matter for Nonprofits

Likes are increasingly becoming a vanity metric, especially within Instagram, which may not even offer the like function in the long-term. Saves, however, can be more valuable, as they indicate a user’s interest in viewing the content again. This gives your social posts a longer shelf-life.

Currently, the Instagram algorithm views saves in much the same way as it does other engagements. The more saves you generate, the more often Instagram will serve your content to users. This hopefully drives more engagement, which snowballs into a wider reach.

While there are no shortcuts to sustained social media success, there are a few low-hanging fruit tips that you can implement quickly and effectively to ensure you’re covering your bases. Here are a few immediate social media improvements your organization can try to see results fast.

Some estimate that saves will become increasingly more valuable to brands within the near future as Instagram continues to adapt. That’s because saves can be a better indication of value for a user, meaning that social media companies might prioritize them higher within their algorithms when it comes to suggesting content.

How to Get More Saves 

Just like with any other social media engagement, the way to get more saves is to create quality content that’s relevant to your audience. Think about what content you personally like to revisit later. These are often valuable ideas or helpful insights. The same is true for your audience.

These are a few example post types that could garner more saves on Instagram:

  • Visually compelling infographics
  • Relevant statistics 
  • Inspirational quotes
  • Helpful checklists
  • Posts with blog-length captions

There are a few reasons why each of these posts merit being saved for later:

  1. There’s too much content to be consumed in one sitting, so the user bookmarks the post to come back to view or read more at another time.
  2. The information was useful and they’d like to have it handy for quick reference.
  3. The post itself was visually compelling and is being saved for inspiration.

The more evergreen a post, the more likely that it will be saved for later. Time-bound updates are popular for fast moving social media platforms, but timeless social posts are worth saving and revisiting again and again.

For example, say you work at an animal shelter and want to develop more timeless posts that people would likely save. That could be a top 10 list of the best dog breeds for families with children. Or maybe a checklist for the steps to take before adopting a new kitten. Or possibly an infographic with the five most surprising statistics about animal abuse in the U.S.

All of these post ideas are related to your nonprofit, but they’re also topics your audience would be interested in learning more about and having on hand to use later.

Shares

Instagram posts can’t easily be reshared on another user’s account, unlike Twitter and Facebook which make it easy to republish another person’s content with the click of a button. However, users can share posts directly with other Instagram users by clicking the paper airplane icon beneath each post.

These shares will show up as a direct message between users. They can even start a conversation about the shared content. It’s also worth noting that you can share another person’s content within your own Instagram story, thus sharing it more publicly with your followers.

Just like with saves and other Instagram metrics, shares can be viewed within the Instagram business insights tab. Not all Instagram users realize that they can share content in this way, but viewing your share data over longer periods of time can help point out trends of how your content is being interacted with.

Why Shares Matter for Nonprofits

Shares are more powerful than other Instagram engagements, especially likes, because they inherently drive another level of engagement and spread your content between users. Think of it like a direct endorsement by one of your followers. It’s essentially them telling you that specific content is worth sharing with others.

Measuring shares not only helps you expand the reach of your existing content, it also helps you optimize future content. Pay attention to which posts get the most shares and try creating more content that’s similar. Examine what makes those posts more engaging and replicate that.

Look for patterns in your most-shared content. Note the:

  • Average caption length
  • Type of content
  • Category of visual used
  • When the post was shared

If there’s a consistent pattern, you have a path to creating more compelling posts.

How to Get More Shares

As always, your organization’s goal is to create content that’s compelling and interesting. That will organically encourage more shares among your followers. However, it may also be worth directly encouraging your audience to share specific posts with others.

When measuring social data, separate out shares from other engagements so that you can put more weight behind this metric. If that’s too many data points to track, consider ignoring likes altogether in favor of shares.

Because these posts are often your most valuable, they’re also prime candidates for recycling as ad content or boosted posts. Repurpose your most-shared posts as paid ads and put some budget behind expanding the content’s reach.

Making the Most of Saves and Shares

There will always be more metrics to track and more data to analyze. Staying focused on valuable data points that actually matter is crucial to staying ahead of the curve and generating genuine audience engagement.

Saves and shares are two social metrics that are currently relevant, especially to nonprofits looking to make the most of their digital content. Use these value-focused metrics to create better social content for your nonprofit audience.

The Nonprofit's Social Media Content Planner

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