Two Surprising Nonprofit Social Media Trends: One Exciting, One Concerning

I get together with my Quarterly Website Strategy Session clients every three months, in January, April, July and October. I dive deep into their website analytics, and together, we identify the emerging opportunities that my clients can use to grow their audiences.

During the most recent round of website strategy sessions, I noticed two surprising social media trends among nonprofits. One trend is an exciting opportunity, and the other raises serious concerns.

Social Media Trends

First, the exciting trend:

1. Instagram is trending as a top source of social media traffic

For the first time ever, I saw Instagram trending as a top source of social media traffic for most of my clients.

For the first half of of 2017, Instagram accounted for a handful of visitors every few months.

But for Q3 (July, August, September), Instagram was sending hundreds of visitors to those same nonprofit websites.

So, what’s different in Instagram?

First, I believe Instagram users themselves have become more accustomed to the steps they must take to find (and click) a link inside the app.

Second, the Instagram platform has made it easier to find and click links inside Instagram stories.

After seeing their crazy Instagram traffic in the custom website analytics report I created, one of my clients mentioned that they had only promoted the link to their big fundraising event web page in an Instagram story!

Next, the concerning trend:

2. Conversion rates are lowest for social media visitors

Over and over, nonprofit client to nonprofit client, throughout the month of October, one trend stood out clearly: Social media visitors are not converting at the same rates as other types of visitors.

In fact, time and time again, social media visitors had the *lowest* conversion rates of any audience.

Whether the conversion rate related to fundraising, advocacy or email subscriptions, social media visitors converted at lower rates than visitors coming from search, referrals, direct, and even paid advertising.

So, what’s going on with social media visitors?

Are nonprofits not explicitly asking social media visitors to take a specific action?

Are social media visitors not ready to make a donation, contact their legislator, sign up for email, etc?

The only advice I can give to every nonprofit, based on the trend I’m seeing in nonprofit website analytics reports:

Re-examine your social media outreach strategy and desired outcomes.

Need help understanding the trends among *your* social media visitors?

Check out my Quarterly Website Strategy Sessions program and join me for a full year of insight and support in 2018! We’ll work together to identify the emerging opportunities that you can use to grow your audience.

yesenia sotelo

About Yesenia Sotelo

Yesenia Sotelo is a digital skills teacher and web developer.

She elevates ambitious nonprofit professionals by teaching them how to use the technology tools of modern marketing.

Yesenia can teach you how to use website analytics or improve your online marketing results.

Her SmartCause Method for building websites is especially designed for the way nonprofits collaborate, make decisions and grow.

She won the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) for her work teaching digital skills to nonprofit professionals.