Social Media

Nonprofit Marketing Trends for 2015

What is your number one priority in 2015? In today’s fast-paced society, marketing tactics and communications channels are constantly changing. Quickly identifying areas of growth and adapting to new technology are essential to success.

The fifth annual Nonprofit Communication Trends Report sheds light on current nonprofit marketing strategies, failures from 2014, and upcoming plans and challenges in 2015. The report gives an excellent baseline to the norms for nonprofit communications in 2015.

Expect many nonprofit marketers to increase the frequency of email and print marketing efforts. Another key shift in 2015 is making donor retention a higher priority than new donor acquisition.

Some of the biggest challenges facing nonprofit marketers are: lack of time to produce quality content, lack of budget for direct expenses, and the inability to measure effectiveness.

Communication and Marketing at your average nonprofit in 2015 include:

  • “Engaging Our Community” as a top priority.
  • Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are the most important media sites.
  • Email newsletters and email appeals are both sent monthly.
  • Direct Mail appeals are sent twice a year, print newsletters are sent quarterly (if at all).

The full report is available online at

Serving as a Marketing Analyst, Josh Wood whips our team into shape with his eye for strategy and trends. He also has over 20,000 Twitter followers.

Posted in Advertising Tips, Email Marketing, Online Advertising, Print Advertising, Social Media

Maximizing Social Media Sharing

What is a better advertisement than the recommendation of a friend? When someone who knows me well endorses a product, or suggests I check out an article or a website, I will almost definitely take a second look. Social media is where most of this kind of sharing takes place these days, so it’s important that you are considering how to maximize your word-of-mouth marketing by encouraging your customers to share their positive experiences on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, blogs, and anywhere else their friends are listening.

Social Media Link recently completed the 2014 Social Media Recommendation Index, an annual survey of 24,000 active users of social media that studies how consumer recommendations and social networks impact purchase decisions. The results showed that Facebook and Instagram were the most popular platforms for sharing purchases, and that trust in recommendations made on Pinterest grew by 12 percent in the past year. Consumers also overwhelmingly said they did not mind if the reviewer had received free products in exchange for the review—88 percent of respondents said they trusted such a review, especially if it came from a friend or family member.

The infographic below details more of the study’s findings and takeaways that can help your brand develop strongMaxer sharing strategies through every stage of the purchase process.

For more on the study, go here.


Laura Leonard is an associate editor, managing this blog as well as,,, and 

Posted in Online Advertising, Social Media

Making Sense of Social Media Metrics

At Christianity Today, we have been gaining a lot of experience in building our brands on social media. In fact, in 2014 we began to realize that more of our audience was discovering and engaging with our content via social media sites than through our traditional homepages. For some, that may seem like a terrifying loss of control, but we have seen it as an opportunity to expand our reach to new audiences. We have even launched a sponsorship program that allows our advertising customers to reach out to our engaged social media community. The consumer has moved the conversation to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest; it’s up to us to follow them, or risk losing them to the brands that will.

The problem we immediately ran into when we started to engage with social media was the data. There was so much data, and so much of it was completely worthless. What we needed was a set of flexible metrics for measuring our social media efforts. Then we discovered four simple metrics, developed by Avinash Kaushik, that help to cut through the noise and find real, useful insights.

Many marketers focus on amassing big numbers on their Facebook profile or Twitter feed. But what does that actually tell you? Does the number of followers I have on Twitter help me determine if my tweets are actually effective at driving people where I want them to go? Or does it simply a measure of my current brand recognition?

As Avinash puts it, “What matters is everything that happens after you post/tweet/participate! Did you grab attention? Did you deliver delight? Did you cause people to want to share? Did you initiate a discussion? Did you cause people to take an action? Did your participation deliver economic value?”

The four metrics below are designed to help you answer those questions, and they can be applied to virtually any social media site or campaign.

1. Conversation Rate: The number of audience comments (or replies) per post.

The conversation rate measures your effectiveness at understanding and reaching your audience. Are you connecting, or just shouting? A lot of marketers approach social media (and, if we’re honest, most of their online campaigns) as though they were using traditional TV or billboard ads: They shout as loudly as possible into the darkness, without even listening for a response. With social media, the response is the entire point of the campaign. Measuring the conversation rate helps you know what engages your audience.

2. Amplification Rate: The number of shares/retweets/repins etc. per post.

This is the magic of social media. Nothing else can spread a campaign faster than the “viral” effect of social media sharing. This tells you what types of content get your followers excited and what connects with them so deeply that they feel like they have to share it with their own network.

3. Applause Rate: The number of likes/favorites/+1s etc. per post.

This one may be the simplest of them all. Like the Conversation and Amplification Rates, Applause helps you gain insights into what drives your audience. They are literally telling you what they like. Interestingly, these rates won’t always coincide. There are certain types of posts that people just feel the need to share with a friend, while others seem to demand a comment. Sometimes the audience just likes what you’ve posted, and that’s a great thing to know. If you can entertain or give free help, you’ll build valuable goodwill and loyalty.

4. Economic/Referral Value: Sum of revenue/goal value from social media segments.

Finally, don’t forget the bottom line! Direct sales shouldn’t be the only reason you engage with social media, but they can still be a factor. Take note of what those social followers do, buy, and subscribe to. Does your site sell products? You can use your website analytics software (Google Analytics is free and easy to use) to segment out traffic from social media sites and see how well your posts drive sales. Don’t have hard sales on your site? Figure out the value of soft conversions: What does increased traffic earn you in onsite advertising or newsletter subscription revenue? What are lead generations worth?

All of these metrics can be pulled together for most social media sites, but there are also analytics tools that can help you. Check out the rest of Avinash’s post for more great tips and tools to help aggregate the data.

To connect with Christianity Today’s own highly engaged audience on social media, take a look at our sponsored posts and contact one of our Account Reps for more details.

As the team’s “stats guy,” Luke Schoenrock is our go-to staff member for analytics and reporting—as well as witty remarks.

Posted in Advertising Tips, Online Advertising, Social Media, Web Analytics

2015 Media Kit: Resources to help you meet your marketing goals

I haven’t even bought a turkey for Thanksgiving yet, but here at work I’m already well into 2015 projects — tweaking next year’s plans and figuring out how to meet my marketing goals. If you’re in the same boat, here’s something that might help — our new 2015 Media Kit.

You can download the entire media kit pdf, or you can get the same information by navigating this website. Either way, you’ll find information on our print, digital, mobile, and social opportunities that can connect you with over 3.5 million responsive consumers every month.

I like this graphic that our designer, Michael, developed to show our current (and growing) reach:

Resource growth

If you’re looking for creative solutions to help you meet your 2015 goals, take a look through the media kit, then contact Toks, Walter, or Peggy. They can customize a plan to your exact budget and marketing needs.

Posted in Company News, Digital Magazines, Email Marketing, Mobile Advertising, Online Advertising, Print Advertising, Social Media

“World of Mouth” Advertising

Erik Qualman is the author of Socialnomics and producer of the very popular Social Media Revolution videos. His book covers how to boost your brand in terms of awareness, sales, and contributions. It also shows case studies on how to increase sales, cut marketing and production costs, and better reach consumers. His video was last updated in 2013, but the content hardly seems passé. For example,

• “53% of people on Twitter recommend products in their tweets”
• “90% of consumers trust peer recommendations while only 14% trust advertisements”

Numbers like those indicate the importance of two things: people liking your brand and people talking about it. He argues that brands are no longer sustained by word of mouth, but need “world of mouth” to stay afloat.


Kirsten Privett is our email operation ringmaster, who oversees all house Newsletter and Eblast production.

Posted in Social Media