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Published March 18th 2015

Report: Social Listening for Nonprofit Organizations

The nonprofit industry, perhaps more so than any other sector, is driven by the passion of its supporters.

At the most basic level, nonprofits function because people value a cause enough to sacrifice their time, energy, or money.

As such, a nonprofit’s ability to drive its mission is often limited by how effective it is at generating followers, nurturing an impassioned community, disseminating information, and activating its supporters. In all of these realms, social media plays a crucial role.

In our latest sector report, focusing on nonprofit, we’ve interviewed industry leaders, chatted with major nonprofit clients, and used Brandwatch Analytics to gain a deeper understanding of the unique social strategies and challenges that nonprofits face online.

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An impassioned industry

With a limited number of resources and followers, nonprofits perform exceptionally well at generating conversation. In fact, leading nonprofits outperformed leading retailers in nearly all benchmarks.

The analysis below, taken from our report, reveals just how successful major nonprofits are at spreading their messages.

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On average, these nonprofits received 1,722 likes, 321 shares and 94 comments for each Facebook post or comment they published. For comparison, retailers received 78 likes, 7 shares and 9 comments in a similar analysis.

This may be explained by the fact that the general public is either more passionate about nonprofits’ content than that of retailers or more comfortable with how nonprofits’ missions reflect on their own personal accounts.


How can nonprofits do better?

The nonprofit industry is one of the most successful at generating conversation and interest on social. However, not all content performs equally as well.

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Our analysis reveals that visual posts perform significantly better than plain text or status posts on Facebook.

On average, image links are the best performing posts.

However, these posts only constitute 33% of what nonprofits publish on Facebook.

Simple photos, without links to further resources, performed marginally worse than those that included links. Status updates, which constitute 24% of nonprofits Facebook content, were by far the lowest performing post.

While videos on average performed lower than static images, The ALS Association’s #IceBucketChallenge, Water Is Life’s #firstworldproblems, or even Invisible Children’s #stopKony stand testament to video’s capability at generating substantial awareness.

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Nonprofit community managers seeking to improve their reach should acknowledge how their audience will react to different formats of content when planning their content release schedule.


The role of social media intelligence for nonprofits

As leaders in providing social media intelligence solutions, we’ve noticed that the not only has the number of nonprofits applying social media intelligence techniques to their organizations strategies increased, but also that nonprofits are growing more sophisticated in how they apply social media intelligence.

Indeed, while community management plays a central role in any social strategy, an increasing number of nonprofits are recognizing the capabilities of social listening for market research, competitor benchmarking, crisis management, influencer identification and more.

To learn more about the applications of social media intelligence for nonprofits, download our free Nonprofit Report.

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