4 Signs Your Nonprofit Should Quit a Social Network SquareNonprofit Tech for Good began as a “Nonprofit Organizations” Myspace Page in 2005. In the 10 years since the “Nonprofit Organizations” brand has expanded to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, Storify, Flipboard, Periscope, and most recently Snapchat. Nonprofit Tech for Good is a one-person operation and one person can only do so much.

After a decade of embracing new social networks as they rose in popularity, in recent weeks it became clear that it was time to reassess the value of being active on so many social networks and to prioritize the social networks that most benefit Nonprofit Tech for Good. Each social network has its own unique user base and given the time to master the best practices for each social network, the return on investment in terms of brand recognition, referral traffic, new e-newsletter subscribers, new followers, new webinar attendees, etc. would most likely had revealed itself. But time and mental space are precious commodities and as I have always said (though I rarely write in first-person), it’s better to manage a few profiles well than manage many profiles poorly.

Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram were no-brainers. The time required  to be active on those social networks is time well spent. Referral traffic is high from Twitter and Facebook, and although referral traffic from Instagram isn’t possible (unless you are willing to spend a small fortune on Instagram advertising), the high level of engagement and rapid growth and the simple fun of using the app ensured its placement as a top priority for 2016.

Google+ is less valuable than Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, but overall the site is more valuable than most nonprofits realize in terms of referral traffic and SEO. Google+ made the cut for another year.

After managing four LinkedIn Groups for almost seven years, I made the decision to keep the largest group, delete two of the smaller groups (with a great sense of relief), and I’m in the process of handling over the fourth group to another nonprofit technologist. The groups had become a burden to manage and now with only one group remaining, I can commit myself to being a better group manager  (translation: deleting spam and spammers faster). Nonprofit Tech for Good’s LinkedIn Company Page requires a minimal time investment and grows in value each year, so it made the cut for 2016. As far as my personal LinkedIn Profile, it’s mostly up to date and serves well as an online resume, but I have never had the time to use it as a networking tool (years of emails go unanswered… sorry) and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

Pinterest did not make the cut. I did not delete the profile, but rather than using it to brand “Nonprofit Organizations” and to pin nonprofits, I changed the name from “Nonprofit Organizations” to “Nonprofit Tech for Good” and deleted all boards except #NPTech and #SocialGood. Even though I followed 8,600+ nonprofits on Pinterest, my Pinterest Feed had become so overrun with suggested pins a.k.a. pins “Picked for me”  from non-nonprofits that the nonprofits I did follow were buried in clutter. It became impossible to effectively pin the nonprofits I followed. Pinterest’s decision to suggest pins to its users may have been good for their individual users, but for “Nonprofit Organizations” the change made the site impossible to use effectively. Ironically, my referral traffic from Pinterest is still high, but that’s due to a small number of pins that I posted in 2013 and 2014 that rank high in Pinterest search results. The vast majority of the pins I posted in 2015 never gained traction. My assumption is that my pins were similarly overrun by suggested pins in my followers’ Pinterest Feeds. I am still going to use Pinterest, but not to promote nonprofits. I will use it as content discovery tool (primarily infographics), but not as a marketing tool.

Tumblr also did not make the cut. The return on investment was practically nil and it was a great feeling to remove it from my bookmarks, take it off my list, and just let it go. There is definitely an audience on Tumblr that would like to learn more about nonprofits and the good work they are doing, but I had no where near the time necessary to create or curate the type of content that Tumblrs respond to and even more important, I did not have the desire. Unlike many tweens, teens, and Milllennials, I did not enjoy using Tumblr. I did not delete my Tumblr in case the site ever soars to can-not-ignore popularity status, but most likely it has tumbled its last tumble.

4 Signs Your Nonprofit Should
Quit a Social Network

1. There is very little trackable return on investment from using the social network.

After two years (!!) of posting and reblogging on Tumblr, my WordPress stats revealed that referral traffic from Tumblr to Nonprofit Tech for Good was an abysmal total of 359 click-throughs over 26 months. If you have given a social network a good effort and two years of your time and the basic metric of referral traffic is very low, then it’s time to move on.

web traffic

2. There are other social networks that need your attention.

Real-time storytelling and reporting using mobile apps such as Instagram, Periscope, and Snapchat is increasing rapidly in popularity. If you are already over-extended, then experimenting with new social networks or social media tools isn’t possible. A good new media manager knows when to quit a social network (or two) and when to expand to a new social network, such as Periscope or Snapchat.


3. You don’t have the time or desire to use the social network anymore.

Following 8,600+ nonprofits made for a chaotic Pinterest Feed to begin with and when you add a glut of “Picked for me” pins, the site was no longer fun to use and if you don’t enjoy using a social network, then you won’t be very good it. I could have invested more time in filtering through all the suggested pins to try and regain the Pinterest repin rate I had in 2013 and 2014, but without the desire, I felt my time could be put to better use on other social networks.


4. Research reveals that the social network isn’t a good fit for your social media strategy.

Nonprofit Tech for Good needs to reach nonprofit professionals and with the Tumblr userbase being predominately tweens and teens, it’s not a good fit. But for nonprofits trying to reach young people, Tumblr could work well along with Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat.

Tumblr Demographics 1Pew Social Media Research

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