• Michelle Zaporojets

Case Study: A Nonprofit’s Journey to Growing an Engaged Social Audience


For any business, large or small, growing your following on social media is an integral part of success. These days, it’s an essential part of marketing. Sure, you can go down the traditional marketing path of highway billboards and radio advertisements, but 3.1 billion people are, in one form or another, using social media. And this number continues increasing by 13% every year!

Are you going to miss out on potentially advertising to 3.1 billion people?

Short answer is, you shouldn’t! And companies these days are quickly recognizing that you need an active social media presence to build a community and reach your target market.

The Women in Medicine Legacy Foundation came to us in early August 2017, asking for help growing their online presence. We instantly knew that as a women-led nonprofit organization with an important cause behind them, they would see exponential growth - and quickly!

With only 43 followers on Facebook and another 43 followers on Twitter, we knew that we were starting from scratch in growing their following. And we were ready for the challenge!

In just nine months, we were able to:

  • Grow their Twitter following by 4888% (43 to 2145)

  • Grow their Facebook following by 3776% (43 to 1667)

  • Increase Twitter impressions by 13637% (305 to 41900)

  • Grow Facebook engagement rate to 14% (started at 0%)

  • Increase website traffic from social media by 6900% (0 to 70)

The Strategy

Before we started posting to the Foundation’s social accounts, we spent time creating a custom social strategy (always the first step when we bring on a new client). We did a deep dive into their competitors and current social status. With 43 followers on Twitter and Facebook, and a fairly inactive social presence, there was little to examine. But it was clear that their competitors were very successful in the Twitter and Facebook spheres.

We also considered who the Foundation’s target demographic was. It’s critical for us to understand the audience in order to strategically select which platforms a brand should leverage for expansion. Instagram tends to skew more towards the younger demographic, while Facebook is (surprisingly!) skewed towards the older generation (which definitely wasn’t the case a decade ago!), and Twitter hovers somewhere in the middle.

Since WIMLF targets primarily established, prestigious female doctors, we decided to start with Facebook and Twitter.

Our ultimate objective with social media was to engage with and build and engage a community genuinely interested in the legacy of women in medicine, as well as to establish the Foundation as a leading influencer in the space. To support that goal, we shared content on the wage gap, medical school acceptance rates, sexism and sexual assault in medicine, as well as internal content including blog posts and quotes about or said by women in medicine.

Facebook Advertising

Due to the nature of the Facebook algorithm, we knew we’d need some advertising dollars to grow their following - at least until they got a few thousand active followers (we always recommend clients dedicate some money towards Facebook Advertising to skyrocket their growth!). We agreed on a modest $100 monthly budget to dedicate towards Facebook advertising - and boy, did it pay off!

We saw an average monthly growth of 200 new followers. That’s 200 new sets of eyes. 200 new website visitors. 200 new potential donors every month.

The Foundation’s Facebook following quickly grew to 1000 followers - a milestone we hit in just under six months.

The Execution

Over the span of nine months, we went knee deep into the industry and truly got a grasp of what works for the Foundation and what doesn’t - from hashtags to the type of content that performs best, specifically in terms of engagement.

We were by no means experts in the nonprofit sector or knew of the struggles women in medicine have to face but we did our research and became familiar. While it’s a sensitive topic for many women, it’s an important message to share seeing as it can be amplified to the general female population (i.e. wage gaps, sexual harassment).

Within a few short months of continuous posting on Facebook and Twitter, we saw a spike of engaged users - commenting, liking and sharing a lot of the content we were posting. It was obvious that the followers we were gaining were truly passionate about the topic - even ones that were not doctors themselves!

Today, the Women in Medicine Legacy Foundation has a strong social presence and has been able to grow their reach from simply their 193 email subscribers to over 4214 people through both their email list and their large social media networks. And we’re far from being done! We’re still in our first year and we know we’ll continue to see growth in followers and engagement, which of course, translates to awareness, recognition and donations - the true objective of a not-for-profit like this. All of our efforts serve to support their mission and connect the legacies of women in medicine. We look forward to what’s next!

#socialmediastrategy #casestudy #nonprofit

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