Why don’t my friends like me on Facebook?
...Well actually they do. But lately, I've noticed an interesting trend: I post something on Facebook that I think is fascinating, hilarious, or some deep revelation into the mysterious world of Miriam Kagan, and my social sphere reacts in...dead silence. Failed in my effort to get instantaneous gratification at my own personal awesomeness through likes and comments, I am subsequently delighted and confused by friends who say things like "your Facebook status the other day made me laugh out loud" or "you know, it seems from your Facebook posts like your coworkers are really funny" a few days later, when we are say having coffee.
While my inner social addict silently pouts—"if you liked my status so much, why didn't you actually 'like' it and show the rest of my social universe how awesome you think I am?”— the fundraiser and strategist in me can't help but think how this kind of behavior and interaction applies to ways nonprofits are trying to engage with their constituents.
Advice abounds about tricks and tips for engaging the social sphere. You should use certain key words. Post your comments in the form of a question. Post photos—people like pretty things. Ask for photos – people think they are good at taking them. Respond to comments. Retweet. Pin things. Pin things in a very specific way. Make videos. Annotate them. Animate them. And all of these are certainly appropriate tactics to be found in the social marketing toolkit for constituent engagement.
The part that's still very tricky for most is measuring the impact of these activities. So we start with the industry-wide best practices: How many people like you on Facebook? How many should? Is 10K enough, too little, too many? Not sure?
Try calculating a ratio of how many people comment and/or like and/or share your posts divided by how many like your page. So maybe that gets you an “engagement” ratio. Similarly, how many retweets? Hashtag mentions? Video views? Clicks on embedded links? Conversions? If your embedded donation form isn't getting traffic, does that mean your FB page has no ROI?
A little trickier, but doable, is calculating your most engaged supporters' social media reach: if they repost your post, how big is their network? If they share your video? Retweet you? What is your followers' average Klout score? Metrics, metrics, metrics.
But there is a different kind of reach that is much harder to calculate: the word of mouth/human network reach. How do you measure the impact of motivating and activating your network offline or via word of mouth and the direct or indirect influence social media efforts are having? How do you value the actual impact of your “inactive” social media connections?
Marketers are certainly working hard to figure this out. Media mix attribution models attempt to measure the relative influence of “supporting” channels to ones where an action or purchase is actually made (maybe I saw the promotion on FB but didn't click on anything, then bought an item from the catalog). Social CRM and social media appends attempt to connect social media with constituent and consumer profiles to track integrated interactions (note: this is mostly only possible for consumers with relatively lax profile settings. As in, if you can't find me on Facebook, you can't connect me to the Miriam you have in your CRM).
While measuring the ways humans chose to spread information and WHY on any given day they chose a specific method to do so may never be a 100% data driven, there are some additional approaches to consider in trying evaluating the indirect influence of your social media efforts:
And PS: not that you asked, but my most popular Facebook post ever (generating over 30 comments and a subsequent 5 hour debate over dinner with some friends), was from a question I remembered a professor asked us during an ethics and values class in college: “If someone handed you an envelope that had your entire future written down in it, would you open it and read it?” Would you?
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