Who won the super bowl?

Some say the Ravens won. Others say Beyoncé. I think it was GlobalGiving with this tweet during the blackout:

I contacted Alison Carlman, the Unmarketing Manager at GlobalGiving and she generously shared information I knew would be useful to nonprofits working to hone their social media performance.

Me: I was really impressed with the @globalgiving tweet last night during the blackout.

Alison: Thanks for the compliment! It was a fun night on Twitter!

Me: How many gifts did the tweet generate? How much money? How many retweets?

Alison: I’ll share the results in terms of the ways we measure success for Twitter:

  • Applause rate: how much did people like what we said enough to dig deeper? (Measured by the number of clicks and favorites): 109 clicks, 17 favorites
  • Amplification rate: how many times did people share the content? (Measured by RTs): 84 RTs
  • Donation rate: were people inspired to give? (Measured by donations): 3 donations totaling $85 for the project

This was a real success for us in terms of those regular metrics but the real victory was the high-quality conversation rate  and the mentions we had from people who liked the content. It helps establish the @globalgiving brand as relevant and fun, but with meaningful things to say. It was great to get some donations to the project, but that wasn’t our main goal.

Me: I agree that dollars raised is often not the most important metric when looking at the success of a particular social media effort. Did you generate new followers?

Alison: We gained 61 and lost 21 followers on Sunday, a net gain of 40 for the day.

Me: What is GlobalGiving’s decision making process on tweets–are you empowered to tweet at your discretion or do you need approval from anyone before you tweet? Do you have a Social Media policy you’d be willing to share?

Alison: There are four of us with access to the Twitter account and we’re all empowered to tweet at our own discretion. We communicate about it to make sure we don’t double-up. In general we have 1 person who’s officially ‘on’ during working hours but off-hours are anyone’s game.

It’s a small team that works very closely, and we have a strong shared understanding of our voice and actions on social media but not a written social media policy. None of us has to approve anothers’ work, but we do bounce ideas off one another frequently.

My colleague, KC Ellis Sledd (@kcesledd) sent that tweet then texted me right after as an FYI (which was good because I was also drafting something up!). She said afterward: “I think we’re lucky there’s no hierarchy or red tape in our team. It allows us to move quickly during a big pop culture moment that can pass just as quickly as it came.”

Me: With such a close-knit team I can see how it’s possible to do well without an official social media policy. Can you share any tips about how you ensure you’re successful?

Alison: It’s important that employees know and embody their organizations’ voice. There are many ways that we as a nonprofit could have responded. KC’s tweet was right in-line with the voice we aim for: “engaging, accessible, hopeful, curious, human, substantive, forward-thinking, smart and enthusiastic.” It came second nature to her to write something with a tone that  said, “Hey, this is bizarre! While we’re all sitting here staring at a dark TV, you could do something fun and ironic that would help people!” It wasn’t a guilt-laden “You should feel bad you’re whining about the Super Bowl lights while people in India don’t even have power” message. That would have been off-brand for us.

KC’s quick reaction is a reflection of the time we’ve spent talking about our communications philosophy and crafting other communications to be in-line with our voice.

Hiring great people and creating a cohesive team with a shared understanding of your voice and goals on social media are key for nonprofits to allow them to take advantage of moments like this.