We all know how much time nonprofit communicators spend on creating and posting social media content (Hint: A LOT). But what’s it all for?

I recommend that you connect your social media strategy back to specific nonprofit marketing goals and objectives.

Here are the 12 categories of nonprofit communications objectives that we suggest you start with for all of your work.

  • Newly joining, subscribing, or following (e.g., increase newsletter subscriptions by 20% this year)
  • Expressions of loyalty, including retention or renewal (e.g., maintain a 75% donor retention rate this year)
  • Participation levels, such as registrations, donations and RSVPs (e.g., sell out 90% of the workshops this year)
  • Financial gains or savings (e.g., increase the percentage of race revenue raised via peer-to-peer fundraising by 20%)
  • Increased levels of influence or share of conversation (e.g., get invited to speak at 5 events this year)
  • Increased demand or desire for something (e.g., increase appointment requests by 30% next quarter)
  • Change in knowledge or understanding (e.g., 75% of beginners move to the intermediate level in 6 months)
  • Change in tone, sentiment, attitude or preferences (e.g., the majority of social media comments on our profiles are positive or neutral this year)
  • Increased preparedness or empowerment to act (e.g., 70% of petition signers continue to open educational emails six months later)
  • Change in behavior (e.g., 50% fewer students use inappropriate language this semester)
  • Increased satisfaction (e.g., raise the Net Promoter Score for the program to +60)
  • Expressions of trust (e.g., three new organizations agree to partner with us on the new project)

Now, let’s look at some ways to get more specific about social media objectives.

Newly joining, subscribing or following is an obvious one as you build your list of followers. This is a good indicator for goals like raising awareness of issues, brand building and reputation management, and engaging our community to keep people inspired and active.

How about increased level of influence or share of conversation? When you look at conversations on the topics you care about, are your posts included?

Same with a change in tone, sentiment, attitude or preference.  When you look at the conversations you are in on social media, is the vibe of the conversation changing in meaningful ways?

Or consider change in knowledge or understanding. If you see a lot of engagement around posts on a particular topic, that can be an indicator of change in knowledge.

Working through how these and other objectives can apply to your social media work is a great way to be more strategic and to add real meaning to all that time spent.