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Do you know Sandy Rees?

March 31st, 2010 | No Comments | Posted in In The Spotlight

Sandy redSandy Rees is a fundraising coach and consultant whose passion is showing small nonprofit organizations how to raise more money, strengthen their Boards and build relationships with donors.

Sandy is also an accomplished presenter and an Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Master Trainer, and has conducted fundraising seminars for America’s Second Harvest, Habitat for Humanity of Tennessee, AFP International Conference and the Amputee Coalition of America. In October 2009, Sandy traveled to Russia to speak to Master School of Fundraising in Moscow.

In addition to speaking at local, regional and national events, Sandy has authored several fundraising books, including “Fundraising Buffet: A Heaping Helping of 101 Practical Ideas to Increase Donations and Deepen Donor Satisfaction.” She also produces a bi-monthly e-zine titled “Hot Ideas for Fundraising” and has written articles for various magazines and newsletters. Sandy was recently named one of the “2010 Inspiring Women Bloggers to Watch” by WE Magazine for Women.

Sandy obtained her Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) certification in 2003 and volunteers with several community organizations, including Shangri-La Therapeutic Academy of Riding (STAR), Lost Sheep Ministries, Loudon County Habitat for Humanity, Horse Haven of Tennessee, the Blount County Chamber Foundation and the Association of Fundraising Professionals Smoky Mountain Chapter.

Learn more about Sandy at http://www.sandyrees.com.

What sets you apart from other fundraising coaches or consultants?

I focus on helping small nonprofit organizations raise money by teaching the basics of fundraising and the importance of staying positive. I’m known for making things simple and giving people the encouragement they need to be successful. All too often, development directors get bogged down with the challenges and setbacks of the job and forget the reason they are so committed to making a difference. I provide simple, yet very effective, fundraising tools and advice that connect the organization with donors so both have the opportunity to really impact the community.

Why is it important to have a fundraising coach?

Fundraising coaching is a special kind of executive coaching that helps development directors and/or executive directors make decisions about their resource development plans and get focused on their goals. It simply provides coaching around issues of fundraising.

With a fundraising coach, you’ll have someone who will help you discover your own solutions by asking thought-provoking questions. Coaching isn’t about giving you the answers or molding you into something you aren’t. Instead, it’s about bringing out what’s already inside you, and helping you become the person you were meant to be.

Here are some of the benefits you can reap from a relationship with a Fundraising Coach:
• A good night’s rest instead of laying awake worrying.
• A sense of peace instead of a knot in your stomach.
• A game plan for raising money instead of just hoping that things will work out.
• Stronger relationships with co-workers.
• A shift to being proactive instead of being reactive. You’ll be able to spend more time on the things you planned to work on, instead of putting out fires all day long.
• The ability to engage volunteers in committee work and support them to take on more challenging roles with your organization.
• The ability to delegate tasks to others and trust that they will get done. And, the skills to follow up with others to ensure that tasks are completed.

Coaching is effective for people who want to make change but aren’t sure how to do it. Sometimes the change that needs to happen most is inside ourselves.

How do you respond to the complaint about the economic downturn negatively affecting fundraising?

It’s so important for us as fundraisers to stay positive right now. I find myself purposely ignoring the news because I don’t want to fill my mind with the negativity. I’d much rather focus on the positive.

Organizations have got to keep sharing the stories of their magnificent work. They must show donors they are staying the course, being efficient and proactive and helping them understand how their donation makes a difference.

The important thing is to stay focused on the work the organization is doing. Don’t give in to the doom and gloom. If you start believing that you can’t raise money in this economy, it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

What’s your advice for an organization struggling to raise money?

Fundraising can be difficult in the best of times. But now, it can be even more difficult. Here are a few things to remember.

First, DO NOT give into fear. Lots of people are afraid right now. If you get scared and back off from your fundraising activities, then you can forget it. You must stay positive and stay focused. Yes, unemployment is high, but 90% of the population is still employed. The sky is not falling. It’s going to be okay.

Go back to the basics of fundraising. Craft a simple, clear message about the work your organization is doing, then share it! Tell your stories. Tell your donors how your nonprofit is changing people’s lives with their help.

Give donors the chance to give. Don’t assume that they won’t give as much or as often as in previous years. Keep giving them the chance to give through direct mail, newsletters, online and personal requests.

Truth is, while some nonprofit organizations are struggling, there are some who are doing great, because they stuck to the basics and weren’t afraid to think big and ask big.

Getting Past “No”

March 31st, 2010 | No Comments | Posted in Fundraising

why people don’t give and how you can break through the barriers

Research has pinpointed three reasons why caring people don’t give, says Joanne Fritz on About.com. Fortunately, there are ways to counter those baffling thought patterns that even the most empathic people experience when considering whether to donate.

Diffusion of responsibility

You might call this the “bystander effect”: the assumption that someone else will do what needs to be done. Fritz cites an experiment where 70 per cent of participants who were alone responded with help to sounds of distress from another room. But when two participants were together, their response rate plummeted – in one case to a mere 7%.

Sense of fairness

Fritz describes research showing that humans will go against their best interests if the situation violates their sense of fairness. In an experimental game, two players knew that one of them would be given a sum of money to divide with the second player. If the second person refused the offer, then neither player got anything. When receivers felt that the first person’s offer was unfair, they often refused it, even though their refusal meant no one got anything.

“In the case of charitable giving, a donor’s altruism may be depressed if he feels that other people are not doing their share,” Fritz concludes. “It doesn’t seem fair to give, say, 10% of your income to charity if others are giving less or nothing.”

Money

Even thinking about money can also depress altruism – bad news for fundraisers! An experimental group that was prompted to think about money before moving on to other tasks displayed much more self-sufficient behaviour than the control group. They often took longer to ask for help, sat further apart when told to move into conversational groups, chose solitary recreation, helped others less, and gave less when asked to contribute their honoraria to a good cause.

What to do

Fundraisers need to be aware of these pitfalls of human nature. Fritz offers several tips to forestall their influence.

   • Use powerful images and focus on one victim instead of several.
   • Help create a feeling of community and fairness.
   • Show the interconnection between ourselves and people thousands of miles away.
   • Help donors understand that their gift is not just a “drop in the bucket.”
   • Tell compelling personal stories.
   • Offer ways to help that don’t involve just giving money.

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World Report: India Invites the Worlds Universities to India

March 31st, 2010 | No Comments | Posted in News and Updates

_47474197_doonstudentsap226India’s government has approved a plan to allow foreign universities to set up campuses and offer degrees in India.

The proposal, which needs to be ratified by parliament, is expected to benefit thousands of Indian students who head abroad to study.

India is reforming its higher education system after concerns that it faces a shortfall of qualified graduates.

Every year thousands of English-speaking Indians head to countries such as the US and Australia to study.

Despite having top quality educational institutions, India is unable to meet the demand for a quality education, the BBC’s Sanjoy Majumder in Delhi says.

Some analysts project that India’s growing economy will face a shortfall of half a million qualified graduates over the next five years.

Federal Education Minister Kapil Sibal described the bill as “a milestone which will enhance choices, and increase competition and benchmark quality”.

If parliament approves the law it could see universities such as Harvard and Oxford set up institutions in India.

It is thought leading foreign universities could be attracted by India’s large number of English speakers and its burgeoning middle class.

India has allowed foreign investment in education for a number of years, but foreign institutes have not been permitted to grant degrees.

The bill had been opposed by some political parties, particularly those from the left, on the grounds that it will benefit only elite Indians with poorer students unable to afford to pay high fees.

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The Social Media Cheat Sheet

March 31st, 2010 | No Comments | Posted in Social Media

TheSocialLandscape

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Four Steps to Marketing Smarter (and for Less) in Today’s Economy

March 31st, 2010 | No Comments | Posted in Marketing

by Kimberly Smith

The economy is sour, consumers aren’t buying, and the competitive landscape is mutating. From marketers everywhere we hear a collective “where to even begin?”

“Start with a company-wide deep breath, since it’s so hard to panic during a deep breath, and it’s conducive to thinking and creativity, too,” suggests Tim Berry, president of Eugene, OR-based Palo Alto Software.

He and a few other industry pundits—including Seth Godin, David Meerman Scott, Bryan Eisenberg, and Jonathan Salem Baskin—recently lent their advice for marketing smarter, and for less, in the down economy.

You’ll find their comments and more here in our quick list of the steps that marketers can immediately start taking to hone their programs and cut back on expenses.

Step 1: Get back to basics

When the going gets tough, the tough get down to business and figure out exactly where they are, how they got there, what it was that originally led them to their heyday, and how they might evolve those strategies to function through the current economy.

“These downturns are good for spurring us to step back away from the business and take that fresh look; it’s like an artist squinting to see the landscape differently,” said Berry.

His recommendations include setting aside time to do a thorough SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis and answering vital questions, such as these:

  • What makes your company unique? What advantages do you have to leverage? Which challenges can be transitioned into opportunities? And is the company prepared to take on those challenges?
  • Where do you make the most profit? And where are your resources being spent? To what extent do those connect?
  • Are your products and promotions aligned with current market needs and expectations? What is the overall perception of your company and product in the marketplace? What are your customers saying?
  • What are your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses? How do competitor products and promotions compare with—and impact—your products and promotions?
  • Which is your most profitable customer segment? And which customers are you most likely to retain if the economy worsens? Are there alternate market segments that might now be better positioned for your products and services?
  • What are the current and foreseeable trends in your industry? Are there any emerging trends on which you may be able to capitalize? How might your value proposition be altered to reflect new trends and new consumer expectations?
  • How up-to-date is your marketing plan? How valid is the rationale behind your current marketing programs and promotions? Is your marketing accountable for results?

Your SWOT analysis won’t necessarily paint a pretty picture, but if you go about it honestly you’ll gain a much clearer view on where you should be focusing your efforts.

Step 2: Let the data be your light

As businesses realize that this economic downturn is not some minor blip that will soon correct itself, marketers must reconcile with the fact that things have changed for the long term, and so must they.

And as we begin the process of determining what to keep and what to cut from the old “game plan,” it is important to realize that this is not the time for guessing or playing favorites with campaigns of sentimental value. It’s time to put our trust in cold, hard data—for real this time.

“The days of propagating brand image into the cosmos are long gone…. Marketers need to find ways to map behaviors against desired outcomes, [and figure out] what actions will lead targets to buying things,” offered Jonathan Salem Baskin, marketing strategist and author of Branding Only Works on Cattle. “Think about shortening, or making more direct, the connection between marketing expenditure (or tactic) and some demonstrable behavior evidenced by the target customer or consumer.”

Bryan Eisenberg, analytical-marketing consultant and author of Teaching Your Cat to Bark, said one of the biggest mistakes companies make is collecting the data but not analyzing it or leveraging it to make improvements.

“Companies need to understand not only how to get the data but also what to do with it, and that takes work,” he explained. “It’s a four-letter dirty word, but ultimately it is the key to being successful.”

For example, women’s clothing retailer Intermix (the subject of this week’s premium case study), was able to increase multichannel revenue 9% from June 2008 to January 2009 by doing just that—repeatedly digging into the numbers to identify unique customer segments and the specific offers that appealed to each group individually.

“Execution is not a one-time event,” Eisenberg advised. “Execution is something you have to do on a regular basis. There’s always something that can be improved, and it’s about finding the biggest hole, patching it, and doing that relentlessly.”

In addition to demonstrating the overall advantage of ongoing testing and refinement, the Intermix campaign illustrates the need to look at not just how one marketing tactic compares with another but also how distinct customer segments respond differently to the same campaigns.

Eisenberg recommends taking the time to dissect any non-campaign components that may influence the customer experience (the company Web site, for example), and making incremental improvements that help increase conversion on a more permanent level.

Step 3: Take the high road

Consumers are skeptical—and who can blame them, considering the number of financial scandals that have recently come to light. But that’s why now, perhaps more than ever, it is essential for companies to appear very upfront and honest, smart, and innovative—as leaders that consumers can, and want, to trust.

It’s time to think best-practices, not gimmicks.

“I think the down economy is no real barrier to marketing remarkable products in a human way,” offered bestselling author Seth Godin, who offered incisive wisdom: “Instead of yelling, connect. Instead of pushing, lead.”

Hyundai Motor America, the pioneer of “America’s Best Warranty,” recently launched an industry-altering campaign when it announced its new Hyundai Assurance Program, which promises consumers the option to return their newly leased or financed Hyundai vehicles and “walk away” from any loan obligations should they lose their incomes within the coming year. “We’re all in this together, and we’ll all get through it together,” its ads tell consumers.

The Associated Press reports that the program has already had an impact on Hyundai sales performance, assisting a 14.3% growth in sales in a time when most of the company’s competitors are struggling with losses.

The program has “struck a chord with American consumers during these uncertain times,” Dave Zuchowski, Hyundai Motor America vice-president of national sales, said in a statement.

Tim Calkins, clinical professor of marketing at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, agrees that the Hyundai campaign is a commendable approach in today’s economy. “Advertising has to connect with folks,” he explained in a recent NPR interview about recession marketing. “You don’t want to talk about price and being cheap… you have to talk about value, or you’ve gotta really talk about what makes you unique.”

Step 4: Go social

Following Godin’s and Calkins’ advice for connecting with consumers has recently become easier—and much more cost effective—with the dawn of new online media.

“We’re living in a time when we can reach the world directly, without having to spend enormous amounts of money on advertising and without investing in huge public relations efforts to convince the media to write (or broadcast) about our products and services,” explained David Meerman Scott, marketing strategist and author of the bestseller The New Rules of Marketing & PR.

Organizations such as performance company Cirque du Soleil and online invoicing service Freshbooks have been working to establish themselves on social-networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, where they can make personal connections with customers through one-to-one interactions.

“We have found [Twitter] to be one of our most successful tools from a listening and engagement perspective,” a Freshbooks representative said.

Other companies are using low-cost online media to directly grow their businesses—with fantastic results.

For example, as consumers cut back on major purchases throughout most of 2008, used-car retailer Auction Direct USA realized an annual sales increase of 40%. IT/Web director Eric Miltsch attributes a strong majority of that growth to the company’s low-cost online-marketing efforts, which include social-networking sites, mobile web sites, and a company blog.

In another example, Paris, IL-based pet food retailer K9 Cuisine has grown its business from the ground up — achieving $2.5 million in sales in less than two years—without spending a dime on traditional advertising. Instead, the company engages in online forum conversations, has a company blog, and connects with customers on Facebook and Twitter. In all cases, K9 Cuisine is careful to offer content of value, which is helping the company establish trust, along with a very loyal customer base.

“There is a tremendous opportunity right now to reach buyers in a better way: by publishing great content online, content people want to consume and that they are eager to share with their friends, family, and colleagues,” Meerman Scott said.

“Instead of investing tons of money in expensive agencies and big-bucks advertising, create something valuable and publish it on the Web for free.”

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What if Pacman were on Twitter?

March 31st, 2010 | No Comments | Posted in Cartoons

pacmannewfollowers

Fundraising Webinars

FUNDRAISING WEBINARS

SOCIAL MEDIA AND FUNDRAISING     ($175 Live / $175 Recording)  (Oct.19 at 2pm ET / 1pm CT / 11am PT)

What is the social media component to your fundraising strategy?  Join Jay Frost, a 25 year veteran of fundraising and a social media entrepreneur, as he takes you through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other major outposts of the social media revolution.  We will look at the specific cases where organizations have raised both awareness and money.   Following this seminar, you will be able to establish strategies, policies and guidelines for effective use of the many free tools available to nonprofits today.

 

For additional information on webinars offered by Brian Lacy and Associates:

Brian Lacy

(860) 478-9291

brian@brianlacy.com

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YouTube ‘Brings Sexy Back’ To Charity Work

March 2nd, 2010 | No Comments | Posted in Social Media

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The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank needed a way to tell the world about its work. Shawn Ahmed wanted to continue the video storytelling he’d begun on behalf of the poor in Bangladesh.

YouTube wanted to bring them together.

The result, YouTube’s Video Volunteers page, pairs deserving but underfunded charities with creative video producers willing to help them. The page has brought hundreds of sometimes-offbeat fundraising and promotional videos to the same site that launched such Web celebrities as singer Susan Boyle and the “Leave Britney Alone” guy.

“There are all these really big, sexy parts of YouTube, but we need people to know about this [project] because it actually matters,” said YouTube spokesman Aaron Zamost, invoking pop star Justin Timberlake.

“The nonprofits aren’t that sexy — but we’re trying to bring sexy back a little bit to the nonprofits.”

The Video Volunteers page lets nonprofits post descriptions of projects for which they need videos produced. Video artists, in turn, can scroll the offerings and pick a cause they’d like to help.

Since October, the site has featured a particular issue each month. February’s issue is health. The best videos get featured on YouTube’s main page, giving massive exposure to both the charity and the video artist.

“We would love to think users just do it out of the kindness of their own hearts,” said Ramya Raghavan, the nonprofits and activism manager at YouTube, who said she thinks that’s usually the case. “But I think the incentive piece does help a lot.”

On average, about 75 new volunteer videos appear on the page each month. During “animal welfare month” in October, 120 new videos were created, Raghavan said.

Last year, Ahmed, who had already visited Bangladesh to video blog and raise funds for poverty relief there through his personal project, Uncultured, was looking for a way to address the issue closer to home.

He found out about the Los Angeles, California, food bank through YouTube and the charity’s parent organization, Feeding America.

“It was just really serendipity,” said Ahmed, who lives in Toronto, Canada. “I wanted to do something charitable at home and YouTube had made a relationship with Feeding America. This actually made things really, really easy for me.”

The food bank is one of the nation’s largest and distributes about 1 million pounds of food a week. Its staffers were thrilled at the prospect.

Spokeswoman Julie Flynn said the staff recognized the value of an online video presence, but never had the time or money to seriously pursue it.

“We’re just trying to maintain our own Web site,” she said. “It was really nice to have someone volunteer, and a cool way for [Ahmed] to get involved. It was a perfect blend of his passion, his skills and our need.”

The resulting video shows Ahmed touring the bank’s distribution center on a forklift, interviewing clients and, ultimately, showing the 10,000 pounds of food he was able to provide with a $2,000 donation he’d raised online.

It appeared on YouTube’s main page on Thanksgiving Day, and had gotten more than 400,000 page views as of this week.

The key to success on YouTube, Ahmed said, is realizing that the site’s viewers are different than a television audience and that traditional public-service announcements aren’t going to cut it.

“When people watch videos on YouTube, they don’t approach it the same way as when they watch CNN or ‘Heroes,’ ” he said. “It’s very personal interaction for them. I just wanted to take a personal approach … I thought if I do it this way, people would get more involved.”

Many of the clips are quirky, unconventional and self-referencing — taking their cues from some of the most viral videos on the site.

One video titled “The World Sucks: Make It Suck Less” promotes the launch of Video Volunteers while name-dropping some of the most viral Web videos ever.

“How about we put a squirrel on water skis and we tie a banner to its neck with all the stuff that you want to say about charity?” says a guy having a video chat about the page. “Or, we take a 7-year-old kid to the dentist, we get him all hopped up on pain medications and then we have him talk about charity.”

In the end, Raghavan said, the project is about giving charities — which often struggle to make ends meet in tough economic times — a chance to make their case to the masses.

“If you’re a pet shelter in Kansas, you don’t have the money, you don’t have the staff and, frankly, you don’t have Bono,” she said, referring to the U2 singer’s worldwide One campaign. “It’s very hard to get your message out.”

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Do You Know Debbie Miller?

March 2nd, 2010 | No Comments | Posted in In The Spotlight

Debbie Miller


Debbie Miller began her career in development research in 1987, working at her alma mater Virginia Tech. In 2003, she took the position of Director of Prospect Development with the global charity The Nature Conservancy, one of the world’s largest non-profits. There, she led research efforts on a multibillion-dollar fundraising campaign, one of the largest ever undertaken by any charity. During this time, Miller has also had a thriving career as a consultant and public speaker, and recently formed a new consulting firm, Philanthropy Inc., to bring her innovative principles and techniques to a wider range of clients.





You were at Virginia Tech for more than 15 years. What changes did you witness in development research?

The field really underwent a sea-change. When I began, the technology revolution hadn’t arrived at our development departments.  Our efforts were hands-on and low-tech.  We read newspapers and magazines for stories about Tech alumni. We spent countless hours in the library. By the early 1990’s technology revolutionized our work.  Public data such as real estate records or SEC filings become available to us digitally.  The university began to keep vast, detailed digital records on alumni.  New screening and research tools allowed comparison and matching of our database with public records highlighting the best potential donors for additional research and eventual solicitation.  Rather than following best practices, we were creating them.

You went from Virginia Tech to The Nature Conservancy.  Was it a big change?

The fundraising strategies at universities differ with those of other non-profits.  Universities pursue their alumni – a support base with strong ties to the organization.  Solicitations can be very natural within these relationships.  At a large non-profit like The Nature Conservancy, you can have millions of donors.  While people may have given to your charity, even large donations, you have little information where you rank on their “cause” list. With a high-net-worth individual, they may give to dozens or hundreds of non-profit organizations. And you don’t have the same familiarity universities have with their alumni.  Relationships are the key to access in the non-profit world, so we carried out extensive relationship mapping projects, finding shared board memberships, business interests and the like which would allow us to gain access to existing donors and increase their involvement with our organization.  The scope of our donor base made database mining, screening and other tools much more expensive, thought still a necessity.

What new trends are you seeing in the industry?

The greatest potential for philanthropy exists in the developing world. In the past, the majority of funds raised for projects overseas came from the United States. Within five years, the Asia-Pacific region will surpass North America as the wealthiest region in the world and will become home to the most high-net-worth individuals. These wealthy people are younger and have a greater interest in global philanthropy. Increase the philanthropic infrastructure in these countries and the number of trained fundraising professionals and the potential for successful global fundraising becomes clear and very exciting.

What do you hope to achieve at Philanthropy Inc?

Philanthropy Inc. is dedicated to the business of fundraising.  By placing a focus on analyzing your data and its potential, and by utilizing tools and services from for-profit partners like Brian Lacy and Associates, we assist clients in raising more support.  We bring a professional business perspective and responsible solutions to the challenges you face.



10 Social Media Metrics Your Company Should Measure

March 2nd, 2010 | No Comments | Posted in Social Media

metrics-iconWhile companies are starting to adopt Social Media for online marketing campaigns, and even letting employees participate, the question of ROI (Return on Investment) arises, along with doubts about what metrics to measure. How do you know how effective your social media campaigns are if you’re not measuring any metrics, let alone an overall ROI? Below, we discuss ten important Social Metrics for companies.

According to 2009 Mzinga & Babson Executive Education study, over 80% of professionals do not measure ROI for their company’s social media programs. Granted, Social Metrics and their measurement techniques are relatively new, and this might account for the lag in tracking. However, there are some organizations measuring social metrics, which enables them to eventually measure ROI. Marketing Sherpa’s survey of 2,000+ marketers shows the following three social metrics at the top of what’s being measured:

  1. Visitors and sources of traffic
  2. Network size (followers, fans, members)
  3. Quantity of commentary about brand or product

These are easily understandable common social metrics. However, with some C-level executives saying that they want to measure ROI from social media but don’t yet know the value of certain types of social media, there has to be more measurement and analysis. Monitoring data is only valuable if metrics relevant to a company are being tracked, analyzed, then applied to improving a Social Media Marketing (SMM) strategy. Each company may have some specific requirements, but here are ten important social media metrics to measure:

  1. Social media leads. Track web traffic breakdowns from all social media sources, and chart the top few sources over time. If members of your social media networks are sending referrals, consider measuring this data as well.
  2. Engagement duration. For some companies, engagement duration is more important than page views. For example, if you have a Facebook application, how much time are social network members spending using it? Is per-member usage increasing over time? Alternately, if people visit your your company websites from SM (Social Media) sites, how long are they spending? (Also consider tracking which pages they visit.)
  3. Bounce rate. Are visitors coming to your site from SM sites but quickly leaving? Maybe your landing page needs better, more relevant copy. Maybe the information they’re seeking isn’t easily found.
  4. Membership increase and active network size. This is the portion of your company’s social networks (e.g., Twitter, Facebook) that actively engages with your social media content (e.g., Twitter, Facebook Pages, etc.) Is your collective members, followers, fans network growing, and is there interaction with your content?
  5. Activity ratio. How active is your company’s collective social network? Compare the ratio of active members vs total members, and chart this over time. There’ll always be some social network members who are inactive, but if you initiate a campaign to increase interaction, you should also measure the resulting data. Activity can be measured in a variety of ways, including usage of social applications.
  6. Conversions. You want social network members to convert: into subscriptions, sales (direct or through affiliates), Facebook application use, or whatever other offerings you have in your overall sales funnel and that can somehow be directly or indirectly monetized. (E.g., subscription to a weekly e-newsletter can be monetized by giving other companies access to your list in the form of advertising.) Measure all types of conversions and chart them over time.
  7. Brand mentions in social media. So, you have a highly active social network and members are talking about your company or the company’s brands. Measure and track both positive and negative mentions, and their quantities.
  8. Loyalty. Are social members interacting in the network repeatedly, sharing content and links, mentioning your brands, evangelizing? How many members reshare? How often do they reshare?
  9. Virality. Social members might be sharing Twitter tweets and Facebook updates relevant to your company, but is this info being reshared by their networks? How soon afterwards are they resharing? How many FoaFs (Friends of Friends) are resharing your links and content?
  10. Blog interaction. This is actually more than one metric lumped together. Blogs ARE part of an SMM (Social Media Marketing) toolkit, but only if you allow comments and interact with readers by responding. If you’re doing this, encourage responses either directly in the comments section of blog posts, or via Twitter. (Use a blog widget that allows this.) If your blog’s content is suitable for social voting (Digg, Propeller, Mixx, etc.) or social bookmarking (Delicious, Stumbleupon) sites, install a blog plugin that displays the necessary sharing “buttons”, then track referrals back from those sites.

You can see from the above list that there are both key metrics and variations that you’ll probably want to monitor and analyze, depending on your business objectives. Not all of them are simple metrics to track, and as such do require either or both custom tools and custom reports. Supplement your metrics reports by noting any milestones in your SMM plan. Also, if you run any sort of social campaigns, measure the ROI on specific goals. Social campaigns could use applications (E.g., Facebook applications like Mob the Rainbow) to encourage social participation. Measure application usage and resulting conversions. Finally, the use of complex measurements such as Multiple Moving Averages (MMAs) can show both short- and long-term trends, thus providing you with an overall view of the health of your sites and social networks.

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