Green Apple has the privilege of working along some of Nashville’s best nonprofit organizations for various areas of marketing, most of which invest in some sort of social media (both on their own or through Green Apple’s services). The more I talk with these nonprofit leaders, the more conversations I’m having about the ROI of social media.

You’ll find that people are in several different camps when it comes to determining the ROI of social media. Some people want you to determine that a Facebook like is worth $3.60. Others tend to pitch their tents in the “consumer relationship” camp instead. Either way, at the end of the day, you still have to prove that the time, energy, and resources you’re investing are being spent wisely. So, what do you measure to determine whether or not you’re getting your return on investment?

Lead Generation

Since most nonprofits aren’t necessarily “selling” anything, getting people plugged into your cause is the single greatest way to prove that your online efforts are making an offline impact. How many people are you convincing to donate funds or support your cause? How many people have you influenced to host a fundraising event or to run a 5k for your cause? Whenever you make an online connection that turns into offline engagement, take note of it.

For Green Apple’s nonprofit clients, lead generation is the single greatest measurement for proving the ROI of social media. Figure out the ways people can engage with your cause, cultivate remarkable content that inspires people to action, and don’t be afraid to make the ask when people show interest.

Brand Awareness

When it comes to brand awareness, most people want to determine the value strictly by the number of followers they have on Twitter or the number of likes on Facebook. While this is a good starting point, it’s not the end-all-be-all for me when it comes to determining how successful you’ve been at growing brand awareness through social media. Everybody knows that it’s almost impossible to double the number of followers you have overnight (unless you get some tweet love from @justinbieber).

Therefore, don’t get discouraged when your brand awareness is following similar patterns. Instead, look for growth over time. How much have your brand awareness, mentions, & engagement increased over the past six months? This is a far better gauge of how you’re doing when it comes to increasing brand awareness through social media. Don’t stress out from week to week. If you’re producing good content, your following will grow. Instead, keep track of how many times your brand is mentioned for the course of six months and then determine how successful you’ve been.

Is that it?

Granted, lead generation and brand awareness aren’t the only two ways to determine if you’re getting a return on your investment. Customer service and engagement are two other great social media metrics for nonprofits. The key, as with any successful social media strategy, is to determine how to effectively use the tools to compliment your overall marketing goals. But, if you can start cultivating online relationships and get people taking action offline, you’re off to a great start.

Ready to take your social media strategy further? Contact us today for a consultation.