Its starting to be clear….the concept of measuring outcomes of your nonprofit organizations’ social media efforts, and the measurable relevance of their presence….it’s the emperors new clothes- Just. Not. There.
Measuring quantifiable results from social media is like testing the hypothesis that the sun rises because you wake up. What you see will always allow you to justify your theory.
I think the better perspective to social media is to think of it as what it is: socializing in a virtual environment. Its unlike other marketing approaches in just this way. For instance, your company would not have a marketing plan that includes: go to happy hour and measure how many people ask you about your product? Or hang out at subway station and count how many people smile at your company logo’d hat. How about stand at corner with megaphone and yell out random 140 word phrases, comments and directives? What could possibly be measured by that- how many people stop to listen?
No, this is social media. Social. Like making friends and acquaintances. Good to do, but not something that is measurably strategic. To try to develop metrics for testing results is a tail chasing exercise. Better to focus your energies on more productive analysis.
Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything counted counts.
**Props to my social media friend Jon Hardie, for making the term Emperors New Clothes…viral. 😉