I wanted to give some encouragement to all the small and medium-sized nonprofits out there on the Social Web that tweet, share and post regularly with the hope of growing their communities and inspiring social good – some feedback I received last week from Line Storgaard-Conley, Director of Digital and Social Media Strategy at Safe Kids Worldwide:
Remember back when you came to present at our conference in 2008 and told everyone that 5,000 fans was the magic number – that once we got to that number our Facebook Page would take on a life of its own? We worked so hard to get to 5,000 and then we took off! We engaged, asked questions, held competitions, discovered advertising and had a great time teaching the world about our cause and how to keep kids safe. And today we hit 100,000 likes/fans. Yeah! So thanks for your great advice back then and the fantastic advice you still provide through your awesome blog.
Blush. And it’s true. 5,000 is the magic number. I wrote about it in Social Media for Social Good: A How-To Guide for Nonprofits:
Communities begin to grow exponentially when they reach 5,000 members. I’ve observed this phenomenon on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Myspace, and Foursquare. From there on out, the larger your community gets, the faster it grows. Large national and international nonprofits have little problem reaching this benchmark, but small and some medium-size nonprofits will. Some will say that the number of likes or followers that you have doesn’t matter, but it does. The larger your communities, the higher your ROI. Work toward that goal of five thousand. It may take a year or two, but if you follow the best practices in this book, you will reach that magic number.
All that said, if you have found yourself frustrated because your communities are growing slowly, but you know you are posting good content, just know that it’s always the slowest in the beginning. There is absolutely a math to social media and once you hit that 5,000 mark, you’ll begin experience a faster pace of growth. 🙂