ONE What is the beneﬁt for our organization?
TWO Who is the target user and what is their beneﬁt?
THREE Can we manage it?
FOUR What are the implications of an unsuccessful campaign?
FIVE How does the campaign ﬁt into our bigger picture?
SIX Where should we be and what tools exist to support our efforts?
SEVEN What speciﬁcally do we want target users to do?
EIGHT What are our success metrics?
NINE What additional data can we gather?
TEN How frequently should we analyze the data and revisit the initial strategy?
WHAT IS THE BENEFIT FOR OUR ORGANIZATION?
The answer here should never be “because everyone is doing it.” We were taught as kids that ability
does not constitute action. It is important to stay on top of the latest technologies that continue to
play a greater role in the philanthropic world, though jumping into social media without any
clear strategy is a waste of your organization’s time and resources. This beneﬁt should be
simple, straight forward and NOT vaguely worded like a mission statement (i.e., should not be
“increase online awareness”). In using LinkedIn groups and subgroups as an alumni database/
resource, the beneﬁt could be that it’s free, people are already on it and people actually make an
effort to keep it updated. Others may be more marketing/communications focused, such as using
Twitter to disseminate news about your organization much quicker than with an email newsletter that
takes weeks to put together. If your organization has trouble answering this fundamental question,
your time may be better spent on other marketing efforts.
WHO IS THE TARGET USER AND WHAT IS THEIR BENEFIT?
While the popularity of social networks has skyrocketed over the past few years, there may still be a
large population of your supporters that is not active in these online spaces. Clearly deﬁne a target
group (e.g., 18-25 year old volunteers or supporters in the Metro Atlanta area) and never assume
that your efforts will reach your entire supporter or volunteer network. Answering the second part is
often the hardest part for many organizations. Throw out your ego and be honest with yourself
when thinking about what your target user’s beneﬁt is. Just because a target user supports
your cause or mission does not necessarily mean they will want to become a fan of your organization
on Facebook or actively participate in your blog discussions let alone donate through a social
network. That being said, do not think too narrowly with the word “beneﬁt,” as it could include
everything from tangible beneﬁts like coupons and prizes to something as basic as added
convenience in receiving news about your organization.
CAN WE MANAGE IT?
This question is often passed over and can easily derail a social media campaign even if a great
strategy is in place. Simply put, managing a social media campaign usually requires more
work than most organizations expect. Is there someone in your organization that has both the
time and the knowledge to properly set up and manage a social media campaign? Setting up the
campaign is only half the battle, as most require constant monitoring, management and new content
WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS OF AN UNSUCCESSFUL CAMPAIGN?
Any marketing campaign can fail for a number of different reasons. It’s important to understand not
just how your campaign could fail, but also the repercussions of an unsuccessful campaign. These
repercussions could be anything from simply annoying your supporters to damaging your
organization’s brand and even preventing further online marketing efforts. The user generated
content (e.g., Wikipedia, YouTube, commenting, voting, etc.) that makes social media, well, social,
can be a huge obstacle in achieving your desired marketing results. Opening up the doors for
supporters (and potentially individuals who oppose your cause) to speak on your behalf and or vote
in contests comes with a price. Your organization better be prepared to accept the outcome
and rarely is it your best-case scenario.
HOW DOES THE CAMPAIGN FIT INTO OUR BIGGER PICTURE?
Before you get ready to launch any campaign, it is essential to step back and think through
how everything ﬁts into your organization’s bigger picture (marketing, fundraising, operations,
etc.). Will the campaign take the attention away from an annual fundraiser currently underway? Will
our supporters feel overwhelmed by our communication efforts? Will our staff have extra bandwidth
to manage the campaign or is there an opportunity to bring on an intern/volunteer to help out? All
these questions and many more will help ensure that the timing is right and the messaging supports
higher level strategies of your organization.
WHERE SHOULD WE BE AND WHAT TOOLS EXIST TO SUPPORT OUR EFFORTS?
Once you have decided that a social media campaign makes sense for your organization, it’s time to
think through the speciﬁc social media spaces for your plan (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.)? All of
these spaces have different user groups, require a different level of effort and offer a wide variety of
features. As a result, it is important to never assume that strategies and tactics can be effectively
transferred across different social media spaces (i.e. a campaign that is successful on Facebook may
be a complete disaster on MySpace). Many organizations also fail to take advantage of various tools
and technologies that make managing social media campaigns signiﬁcantly easier, and
in some cases, effortless. Examples of these include TweetDeck, a desktop application for
managing communications across multiple social sites and Twitterfeed, a service for automatically
feeding your blog posts (and really any RSS feed) directly to your Twitter account.
WHAT SPECIFICALLY DO WE WANT USERS TO DO?
Unfortunately “being aware” is not a call to action. Do you want users to RSVP for your event on
Facebook? Subscribe to your email newsletter? Update their contact information? Whatever your
desired action is, it should very obvious to the user. Thus, if your desired action is for users to
forward the email on to a friend, then you better include some sort of messaging along the lines of
“be sure to forward this email on to a friend” as you should make it as easy as possible for a user to
complete your desired action.
WHAT ARE OUR SUCCESS METRICS?
While a desired action might be rather high level, your success metrics should be very speciﬁc and
quantiﬁable. If your desired action is for users to become a fan of your Facebook page and
participate in discussions, your success metrics might look something like “X number of new fans
per week” and or “X number of fan comments per week.” Until you have decided upon concrete
success metrics, you will never really be in a good position to report whether or not your campaign is
working. These metrics will also let you benchmark your campaign’s success and give you a better
idea when to focus your efforts elsewhere.
WHAT ADDITIONAL DATA CAN WE GATHER?
It is important to gather additional data beyond your success metrics to paint a holistic picture of what
is actually happening with your online campaign. Numbers and metrics are certainly important,
though can often be misleading with little or no context. Having 10,000 subscribers to your
email newsletter may seem like a major success for an organization, though if users are not clicking
through to your site to read more or to make online donations, than that number much less meaningful.
In this case, it would be helpful to actively monitor the inbound clicks from your email newsletter. A lot
of this data can be found through online services such as Google Analytics (or through your email
marketing services), though some data collecting may require ofﬂine tactics such as having event
attendees indicate how they found out about the event when they sign in.
HOW FREQUENTLY SHOULD WE ANALYZE THE DATA AND REVISIT THE INITIAL STRATEGY?
Unfortunately your job is not quite done after launch your campaign despite all the work that went
into the planning and execution. There is a tendency for organizations to take on a “set it and forget
it” mentality with social media campaigns, though this is a particularly bad idea given how
unpredictable their outcomes can be. A meeting or calendar reminder should be set for an
appropriate time after the campaign launches to analyze the data and revisit the initial strategy. It may
seem like textbook advice for any marketing campaign, but a disciplined approach to
monitoring and optimizing your campaign is key for learning how best to reach your