Posts Tagged ‘social media’

 

Facebook: To Promote or Not to Promote? (…and Is That The Question?)

Posted by Alison Carlman on October 2nd, 2012

GlobalGiving’s Experiment With Promoted Posts
by Alison Carlman and Oscar Norsworthy

This case study was originally posted on Beth Kanter’s blog as an example of an experiment with social media measurement. We hope you’ll find it useful as you think through your strategy for Facebook.

Promoting a post on Facebook

Listen. Post. Learn. Repeat.

On the Unmarketing team at GlobalGiving, we put a lot of effort into figuring out how to use Facebook to support the thousands of charity projects on our website. The more we learn, the better able we are to advise our nonprofit partners. One of the newest features on Facebook is the “Promoted Post.” Promoted Posts are pictures, links, videos, or text that administrators can pay to appear on more Facebook users’ news feeds. (Did you know that only an average of about 15% of your fans see your posts in their news feeds?) We conducted a month-long experiment to see if Promoted Posts make sense for our strategy.

First Thing First: What’s our Goal?

We wanted to see whether or not Promoted Posts help us reach our goals on Facebook. One way to explain our Facebook strategy is the social funnel. People interact with us on Facebook at all levels of this funnel. While ultimately we’d love to see every fan make a donation to a project on our website, our goal on Facebook is first and foremost to develop an active community of fans around the topics of philanthropy and social change. We wanted to see how well Promoted Posts reach our fans on all levels.

Here’s what success – or a positive return on investment (ROI) – at each of the levels would look like for us:

 
The Social Funnel
Awareness: Getting our messages into the news feeds of people who haven’t heard from us in a while – or never have before. Key metric: reach
Engagement: Inspiring interactions (clicks, likes, comments and shares) from people who don’t usually interact with us. This helps the content spread to their networks.Key metric: clicks
Donations: Telling a story that is compelling enough that people give to a project on GlobalGiving.org. (Ideally donations exceed the cost of the post!)Key metric: donations; net dollars after the cost of the post.

 

Our Promoted Posts Experiment

During the summer we promoted three posts, each about a different topic. We spent less than $100 on each post, and we only promoted the posts to our fans. We also posted regular (non-promoted) links and photo posts related to each of the three topics so that we could compare the performance of regular posts versus paid posts. While we couldn’t control all variables, we did our best to aim for consistency with as much as possible, including the time of day we posted and the content of the post, so that we could draw better conclusions when comparing our results.

Below are the nine updates (under three topics) that we posted this summer as part of the experiment, and how they fared in terms of reach (views), engagement (clicks), and donations (dollars). You can see that the promoted posts were the only ones that drove donations, and they drove significantly higher view and click rates.

ROI: Reach, Engagement, and Donations
From Regular and Promoted Posts on Facebook

Post Topic: Natural Disasters
(Promoted Post net revenue= $667)

Link 4,035 views; 62 clicks
Photo 5,483 views; 66 clicks
Promoted 20,282 views; 218 clicks; $750 donations

Post Topic: Everyday Project Stories
(Promoted Post net revenue= -$30)

Link 3,311 views, 24 clicks
Photo 6,347 views; 58 clicks
Promoted 22,498 views; 301 clicks; $30 donations


Post Topic: Special Campaign
(Promoted Post net revenue= $550)

Link 4,204 views; 51 clicks
Photo 4,975 views; 45 clicks
Promoted 31,510 views; 363 clicks; $600 donations


What we learned

We learned two main things from our experiment. First, as you can see above, promoted posts did drive more engagement at all levels of the social funnel. On average, our promoted posts had five times higher reach and seven times higher click rate (!) compared to posts that weren’t promoted. The financial return, however, varied greatly based on the content of the post. We found that promoting general, ‘everyday’ project stories didn’t drive many donations (in fact, it lead to a negative net financial return), but promoting very timely stories or unique campaigns resulted in a significant uptick in donations (netting approximately $600 per post).

Perhaps the most interesting thing we learned actually happened while we were designing the experiment. When figuring out whether to promote links or photos, we found that photo posts drove more Facebook interaction, achieving a higher reach and better overall engagement (the middle of the funnel!). On the other hand, posting links sometimes led to higher click-through rates to our website, generally driving more donations (the bottom of the funnel!). When we looked back in our Facebook Insights data, we found that this pattern seemed consistent with other posts over the past several months. This information is useful to us whether or not we’re talking about promoted posts.

What does this mean for our strategy?

We found that Facebook’s Promoted Posts can get the job done, successfully driving both engagement and donations. It’s important to note though that we’re still not planning to rely on Promoted Posts to push all our fans through the social funnel.

At GlobalGiving we have an “unmarketing” approach to engagement. This means that we believe there’s inherent value in developing authentic, meaningful, and helpful relationships with our audience through social media to help tell our story. In short, it’s not all about driving dollars. Engagement is important to us.

We’ve concluded that an ongoing Facebook strategy based primarily on Promoted Posts wouldn’t be savvy or sustainable, (remember how the ‘everyday’ project stories posts actually ended up costing us money?) but we’ve decided that we will continue to promote posts when they are particularly timely, relevant, or important for our key audiences. We should also be sure to note that we’ll never be promoting content that would otherwise have been unsuccessful on Facebook in general. As you can imagine, the last thing we want to do is bring irrelevant content to the attention of people who rarely hear from us anyway!

What does this mean for you?

If you can find the budget to experiment with Promoted Posts, it’s important to think through how you’ll measure your return on your investment. Can you put a dollar value on message views, click-throughs to your website, or goal conversions (donations, petition signatures, etc.)? If you’re spending advertising dollars on other media, you may find that Facebook Promoted Posts can also help you meet your goals, so it would be worth comparing your results.

Our fans told us emphatically on Facebook, they don’t love the idea of nonprofits paying for a spot on their news feeds. (The irony, of course, was that we didn’t see a single pushback to the promoted posts when we did them without pointing it out, so peoples’ behaviors didn’t exactly match how they said they would react. But that’s a whole different social psychology experiment, right?) If you do choose to promote Facebook posts, you’ll need to do strategically. You should only promote content that you’re proud of, and it would be wise to measure the results carefully so that you can prove that your dollars are helping you meet your overall goals!

If you don’t have any budget for Promoted Posts, you could still look into your Facebook Insights data to see the different types of engagement that photo posts drive for you compared to link posts. Does your data lead you to the same conclusions that ours did?

Do you have thoughts about whether links or photos get you results on Facebook? Have you experimented yet with Promoted Posts?

Can nonprofits use Pinterest to change the world?

Posted by kellis on February 15th, 2012

“Oh, you’re not on Pinterest? If you’re planning a wedding, you’re practically required to be on Pinterest,” quipped my wedding dress designer shortly after I got engaged early last year. I sighed, adding another line to my ‘wedding to-do’s’ list, but I eventually requested an invitation and joined Pinterest.com in July 2011. My designer was right; it is an unbelievably useful tool to create blissful moodboards for your special day.

endless wedding daydream.

Besides inspiring DIY fantasies, what can Pinterest do for your nonprofit? Well, a lot. It can help connect you, your voice, and your organization with hundreds, if not thousands, of content-hungry users. Pinterest is not to be ignored. While many other social media tools skew toward the college-age male, the Pinterest audience is, well, me: female, age 25 to 44, with an appetite for gorgeous imagery and on-trend advice.  You know what else this audience does? They give.

Simply by looking at GlobalGiving’s Facebook Insights, we were able to determine that 60% of our fans already fall within Pinterest’s base. Facebook’s constantly changing interface seems to have made it more and more difficult to reach our fans, so we’re experimenting with Pinterest’s curated audience of our target demographic.

So what does this mean for nonprofits? We already know that users on Pinterest might be inclined to give to your cause, but how do you make them do it?  Well that’s just it. We’d like to suggest that you might set Pinning objectives to include many types of engagement; not just donations. Before giving, your audience wants to engage and see, quite literally, who you are: Kate Spade’s VP/Ecommerce, Johanna Murphy (while no, not a nonprofit) explains:
“We think that if you look at every social media channel and your ultimate goal is to drive immediate commerce out of it, you don’t get it. Again, it’s kind of the fuel for the overall fire to the brand that will then ultimately drive sales.”

Pinterest, through their heavily visual interface, is a great way to show your audience who you are, but  that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s all about showing what your cause is. For example, one of the great things about our office is our “must love food” attitude, so we’re cultivating a list of recipes our staff has tried and adored (if you’re interested, my slow-cooker macaroni and cheese recipe won an office wide contest). We’re also curating Pinboards based on our motto of “a million little earth-changing ideas,” which translates to “earth-changing people,” “earth-changing style,” and “earth-changing words,” as well as a board called “earth-changing projects.” It’s only in this last board where we actually get into the work we do, but we do it in a way that’s easily digestible and friendly. No one there is necessarily asking you to do anything, but instead they’re saying “hey, look at this project where you can help save a baby cheetah.” Believe me, after six months of Pinning, I can honestly tell you that people love a baby cheetah.

We also added a “Pin it” button to all of your project pages to let our users add to their boards, and we’ve seen its use grow exponentially since we launched it. Our brand fits with Pinterest’s audience, feel, and market, and it’s an exciting way of introducing GlobalGiving to a new group of people who is already inclined to like us.

This doesn’t mean that all nonprofits are suited to put their brand on Pinterest. First, if you’re just barely trying to get your Facebook or Twitter presence organized, then we recommend you work on those and try to do them well. Second, make sure that the person who’s taking on Pinterest for your nonprofit ‘gets it;’ make sure that they’re a user first!  Pinterest users are already worried that a heavy brand presence on Pinterest will “pollute it,” so if you feel inauthentic, you’ll have done more harm than good anyway.  Finally, commit to at least trying it out with a few good experiments from which you can learn.

The secret of Pinterest success isn’t just creating another flood of mini press releases: it’s about figuring out who you really are, and allowing your supporters to find the many ways that your work connects, inspires, and engages them. This also means that you have to venture outside of your organization’s content (although I’m sure it’s wonderful) and find additional pins that can tie back to your larger story and vision. Repin your followers and the people you admire. You’ll be surprised how much users will want to engage with you if you do.

For example, if you’re an environmentally-focused nonprofit, you could start a board that pins natural and organic products for the home. If you’re an animal-focused nonprofit, create a board that shares adorable photos of pets.

So you want to get started? We recommend that before jumping in and addictively pinning, first think about how you’d define and measure success on Pinterest. It only makes sense to use Pinterest (or any new medium) if it’s going to help you meet your organization’s goals.

We’re walking through these steps from Katie Paine’s Measure What Matters to plan out our Pinterest experiment:

  • Use Your Mission to Define Your Objectives: Is Pinterest going to help you meet your organization’s goals? That depends! One of your objectives may actually involve reaching new audiences by demonstrating your brand’s personality. In that case, Pinterest might be a great fit.  If your objectives are solely to drive people to act or donate on your site, then you’ll need to make sure you know how to measure whether it’s working (so ultimately you can decide whether it’s worth the time).
  • Establish a Benchmark and Pick your Metrics: If your objectives are to engage new people, then Pinterest’s handy weekly emails might give you some good metrics on engagement: repins, new followers, likes, comments, and pins you’ve added.  If your objectives are more conversion-oriented, then you’ll need to identify what exactly you want people to do when they see your pins.
  • Pick a Measurement Tool: Pinterest’s weekly activity update might give you information you’ll need to measure engagement.  If you add a “Pin it” button to your own site, you’ll want to use Google Analytics to track how many people are adding your pins to their boards without you even knowing. (These people are your new favorite people.) If you have more robust conversion goals then you’ll need to use Google Analytics to measure the donations driven by Pinterest users.
  • Analyze Results and Make Changes: One of our core values is Listen.Act.Learn.Repeat. We encourage you to watch your metrics and make changes based on what you learn! If no one is repinning even your most helpful DIY tip,  sit back and look at why that might not be working.  Whatever changes you make, keep returning to your objectives.

As someone who has watched Pinterest grow wildly in the last six months, I am thrilled to see it take off. The content is getting richer, and more and more interesting people are adding to its wealth. Women have proved that we’re more than capable of dominating a social media platform, and I’m glad to see that this is the direction it’s taking. We are driving cause marketing in a stronger way than ever, and I’m proud we are a part of it.

We’ll keep you updated on our experiment, please tell us about yours!

LEAVE A COMMENT: Are you using Pinterest for your own organization? Do you have any tips? Who do you think is using Pinterest well?  

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to find a recipe for this week’s chili cook-off. Got recommendations? Tag “@GlobalGiving Foundation” in your pin and the chili recipe I choose to make will get a $25 GlobalGiving gift card. It better be good, my crock pot mac and cheese is a tough act to follow.



Building Trust with Millenial Donors

Posted by Alison Carlman on June 24th, 2011

Hi project leaders! I’m Alison Carlman, GlobalGiving’s Unmarketing Manager. I was privileged to attend the Millennial Donor Summit this week which focused on millennials and social change.

The summit gathered around the idea that targetting millennials is a vital long-term investment for non-profits.  Millenials don’t yet donate as much money as their parents do, but they bring their extensive social networks to the table when they engage with your organization.

At the Summit we discussed the Millenial Donor Report, research conducted by the folks at Johnson Grossnickle & Assoc. This online study of nearly 3,000 20-35 year-olds revealed that Millenial donors thrive in online and mobile environments, but they are still driven by personal relationships and human connections.

Millenials donate to organizations that they TRUST. Where does trust come from? 77% of millennial respondents said that friends and family’s recommendations are a major factor in their giving.  This is an important “unmarketing” principle: your current, satisfied donors are your most important assets. If your current millennial donors feel happy and trust you, then they will promote you amongst their own networks.

How do you get your millenials to feel happy and trust you? Trust is built slowly. With the exception of crises, millennials engage first, and donate second.

According to “ The Trusted Advisor,” trust results from a combination of credibility, reliability, and intimacy.  But these factors are divided by one major bombshell: SELF–INTEREST. Donors, especially millennial donors, can smell self-interest coming from a mile away. (more…)

Zero to Social: GlobalGiving’s Social Media Trainings

Posted by Alexis Nadin on October 5th, 2010

Social isn’t just a tactic for marketing; social is how we live. And as a nonprofit, it should be how your supporters give. Social giving only helps your organization by letting your biggest fans be your advocates. Social networks are tools you can use with your overall marketing strategy to make sure you stay relevant to your supporters.

On September 29, 2010, Alison McQuade, GlobalGiving’s Online Marketing Manager and social media guru, hosted beginner and intermediate trainings on social media. (more…)

Become a Fundraising Rock Star with GlobalGiving’s Tools & Training Blog!

Posted by Alexis Nadin on September 7th, 2010

Do you want to have your organization featured on GlobalGiving’s homepage? Are you interested in attracting new donors to your organization or using Social Media to expand your online network? Well, you’re in the right place!

Welcome to GlobalGiving’s Tools & Training Blog, a resource for organizations that are interested in using the internet and GlobalGiving’s online fundraising platform to raise money. (more…)