One of the basic tenets of using social media is to listen. I learned this concept from the chief nonprofit social media guru herself – Beth Kanter – at a Kellogg College of Consultants conference I attended in 2008. There are many tools available and one of the ways to listen and learn is with online analytic tools.
I’ve done an analysis of my blog for 2009 and I highly recommend that you do one of your web presences also. Using Google Analytics, bit.ly, and Post Rank I think I have the best picture yet of what my readers are interested in. I’ve also reviewed the posts with comments so I know which ones attracted the most interaction. I announce each post on Twitter and LinkedIn and they have been major reasons for the increase in traffic this year – directly and even moreso indirectly.
If I were a major business this would be confidential marketing intelligence. But since I am a one person consultancy and in the nonprofit sector we want to be all about transparency I am about to reveal some – only some - of the intelligence I have gathered from my blog this year. Here are some quick facts:
• The traffic to my blog increased by 30% in 2009 over 2008
• Being mentioned in Philanthropy.com’s Give and Take, and several well read blogs contributed to some surprising spikes in readership.
• I developed new relationships with online collaboration this year. Beginning with mentioning others and being mentioned I have made wonderful new friends in the nonprofit world. I even got to meet some of them at various events throughout 2009.
• Rather than just the most popular posts, here are the most popular topics:
-My series of articles about nonprofits and social networking
-Several articles about nonprofits and the economic downturn. My thanks to Todd Polyniak, of Sax Macy for much of this material.
-Two posts with reading lists were retweeted and garnered lots of comments with additional recommendations on the blog and on LinkedIn. They were not only well read but being well commented on puts them in an even more coveted category. Comments on your blog indicate a higher level of engagement than just reading your posts.
-Posts about working for and hiring trends in nonprofits
• Only 20 percent of the traffic to my blog came directly to the blog. 34% came via search and 46% came from other referring sites.
• The most popular search keywords driving traffic to my blog included nonprofit, twitter, linkedin, facebook, giving USA, strategic planning, board, consulting, conway, leadership and visionary. I was surprised at how far down the list conway was.
• The most popular referring site by far is LinkedIn where I always update my status when I have a new blog post and I am active in a number of nonprofit groups. The big surprise is that the second biggest referrer to my blog is the Nonprofit Blog Exchange where Emily Weinberg has featured some of my posts in her roundups. Thanks Emily – I always check out the posts you include in your eclectic roundups and apparently so do other people. People visit my blog via Twitter and my website. A fair amount of traffic comes from the Nonprofit Good Practice Guide and BoardSource where my blog is listed as a resource. The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s Give and Take column always causes a big spike in traffic. There are numerous other referring sites but these were the major ones.
• Many people were repeat visitors and read more than one page and believe it or not 5% of my visitors are still using dial-up internet service.
So what do I plan to do with all this information?
I plan to write more about nonprofits faciing a paradigm shift with economic change – This will be tied to themes including board leadership, vision, and strategic planning.
I will be attending the NTEN conference in April and I will write more about technology issues for nonprofits with what I learn at this conference. Understanding how popular the technology topics I wrote about this year were influenced my decision to attend the 2010 NTEN conference.
I certainly plan to continue the collaborative spirit of sharing information about the wonderful nonprofit community out there – these collaborative posts were among the richest in content and the most popular.
I am planning to attend two national conferences in 2010 and I am looking forward to meeting people who I have only known on the Internet.
In 2009 I also had more business from people who learned about me on the Internet – that may be via a search leading to my blog or knowing me through a LinkedIn group. I want to explore connecting my Internet participation with the nonprofit community with more business. I would especially like to do more speaking in 2010 – so just to let you know – I am available and I am willing to travel. Any pointers? Please let me know.
I hope I have piqued your interest in listening on the Internet and finding out more about your own Internet presence. It can provide a good starting point for planning both your web and non-web priorities for the new year.