The Amplification Project answers a critical question for digital advocates: How can you know if you are reaching your goals and making progress?

Measuring impact is more than benchmarking social media accounts.

One of our supporters recently asked a question about measuring the success of digital advocacy efforts. She posted the question to our Facebook group: “How can we measure the impact of Twitter, etc in advocacy—are there some metrics, etc that we can use to evaluate the effectiveness of a campaign and getting a message out?” The answer to this question is nuanced, as measuring the efficacy of advocacy can be an obscure topic, but the Amplification Project can provide some advice to get you started.

There is a difference between benchmarking and measuring impact. Benchmarking social media accounts is fairly straightforward. You can create an Excel document to track each account over time, and see how many followers, comments and shares you get each week (or each day if that seems necessary). This document will allow you to see the increase in your outreach through your social media accounts. Benchmarking is the easy part – measuring impact is much more difficult.

As an advocate, you must be clear on what your goal is, and envision what steps would lead to achieving it. You may not always change a law or get a law passed, as those goals are difficult to achieve, but you might empower a community to keep up the fight even after your initial campaign falls short. As a digital advocate, you can also see how the conversation or base of support for an issue changes as a result of your efforts. To measure your impact, it is important to think about these kinds of change that you want to occur once you meet your social media benchmarking goals. Additionally, you might miss your goal for the number of Facebook fans your page has, but still garner enough support to change the law you want. Take benchmarking with a grain of salt along with other measures of impact.

There is a difference between reaching benchmarking targets and making a sustainable, systemic difference.

Reaching your benchmarking social media goals are quantitative measures, but making progress and measuring impact on advocacy efforts are qualitative measures. As described above, the former is fairly straightforward, and easy to measure, but may not make a difference in the latter. The latter requires far more strategic thought, and may be very difficult, to accurately measure. As a first step, make sure you have a clear goal for your digital advocacy campaign; from there you can outline what you need to do to reach that goal, and pinpoint small victories you want to achieve along the way. Every successful digital advocate must be able to identify the critical milestones for your campaign to ensure that you stay on track.

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