American Civil Liberties Union

Contact Person: Alicia Gay, Senior Communications Strategist
Phone: (646) 812-3979
Executive Director: Anthony Romero
Communications Director: Emily Tynes
Social Media Staff: Katie Smith


CWRF Overall Level: Walk
Overall Score: 1.54
Detailed Score:
Burning Questions To Be Answered: How do we engage our Facebook community beyond likes, in a meaningful way so they are poised to take action? How do we used paid promotions (promoted FB posts, promoted hashtags, promoted tweets) to better target and have a larger impact?

Measurement Indicators [Crawl=1, Walk=2, Run=3, Fly=4]
Data-Informed: 1
Tools: 2
Sense-Making: 1

Social Media Presence

Fans: 141192
Subscribers: 4173

Views: 6
Followers: 153,131
Hashtags: #WannaBeMyDoc


Thoughts on Project
We (the 3 of us at the ACLU) have had an initial brainstorm about a potential pilot action learning projects. We started by thinking about what kind of metrics could actually help us achieve programmatic goals in the future. So one idea we think we will pursue is increasing our number of Facebook followers in states where we don't have a lot of traction (most of our FB followers are in NY and CA) but we often want to mobilize people around state legislation in the Midwest or south. Some metrics could be- an increase in followers, increase in positive comments and/or more likes/shares other engagements.

In terms of next steps we need to think though metrics, benchmarks and tools to use


Measurement Pilot Design: Using the 7 Steps of Measurement
Project Overview: The ACLU’s Facebook page has nearly 150,000 likes or fans. However the vast majority of our Facebook base is located in New York and California. While we appreciate all of our Facebook fans, many of our impacted communities (for example those most impacted by laws restricting voting or limiting access to abortion care) live in the South and the Midwest. For our project we will attempt to identify ways to increase the engagement of our Facebook fans in those regions.
  • GOAL: Describe the results of the activity, campaign, or program that is using social media that you want to measure? How does this support your organization’s mission? Can the activity be implemented and measured by June 1, 2013?
The goal of our Project is to increase engagement with our Facebook fans in the south and Midwest. A secondary goal is to increase the number of followers in those areas. The ACLU works to extend rights to segments of our population that have traditionally been denied their rights, including people of color; women; lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender people; prisoners; and people with disabilities. Many of these people (what we refer to as impacted communities) live outside of the areas where the bulk of our Facebook fans live. If we can increase engagement with people outside of NY and CA we will advance our organizational goals of increasing public education about civil liberties threats within impacted communities and also increase (potentially) the number of actions taken that can positively impact our state advocacy and legislation goals.
Tip: Your goals will consist of one or more of the following:
  • Changes in perceptions or awareness of your brand or mission
  • Changes in positioning of your brand or mission
  • Improvement in or establishment of relationships
  • Changes in the health or strength of your relationships
  • Increase in specific actions – attendance, donations, volunteering, or other (actions)
  • Increase or decrease in specific behaviors

  • ORGANIZATIONAL CONSENSUS: Describe your process getting everyone on the same page around this goal? Does everyone agree? Gut-Check: Are you trying to measure too much?

The process for getting consensus in our group consisted of a conversation where we tried to weigh what we thought we could realistically measure in addition to testing a project that could have a significant and long-lasting impact on the way we do social media if we can “crack the code” of reaching people between the coasts.
  • AUDIENCE DEFINITIONS: Who can help you achieve your goals? Think small - segment your audiences as much as possible. This is not the general public. Your audience may be the decision maker, or it may be the people who can help influence your decision maker. What motivates them? How do they use social media channels to get their information?

What motivates them to help you reach your goal?
Target Group 1:
FB followers in the Midwest and South
The state legislative sessions are now. There is a wide variety of state-based legislation that negatively impacts people in these regions
Target Group 2:
Within the above group – people of color, non-wealthy, range of ages
As bad as the civil liberties threats are in the south and Midwest, the impact of bad laws on these populations is disproportionally bad
Target Group 3:
The Facebook friends of the above/potential new fans for the ACLU
We hypothesize that our main target group has friends and family in the target regions so the same reasons as above should motivate them + the endorsement of their friends.

Ladder of Engagement: Use this to brainstorm what steps your audience must take

What is the first step audiences need to take to move toward your objective?
Step 1: First they have to see our posts in their feed. This may be a challenge if they don’t regularly engage with us. Worth considering promoted posts?
What is the second step audiences need to take to move them toward your objective?
Step 2: If they see it they must find the post headline and teaser content engaging
What is the third step audiences need to take to move them toward your objective?
Step 3: Read the content and/or comments
What is the fourth step audiences need to take to move them toward your objective?
Step 4: Like
What is the fifth step audiences need to take to move them toward your objective?
Step 5: Share

  • SMART GOALS/KEY PERFORMANCE METRICS: Look at your goals and make them SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, and Timely) by adding how many and by when. What is the single most important metric to know whether or not you have been successful in making your goal? Ask, what would we see that would make you say, “Wow we’re kicking it!”

SMART OBJECTIVE 1: Not quite sure how to make our goals SMART. Not sure what the best way is to determine how many….

Tip: If you come up with a list of more than 7 metrics to track, you’re gathering too much data! Prioritize.
List Your Metrics:
1. Existing Facebook fans outside of NY and CA “liking” our content at higher than usual rate
2. Existing Facebook Fans outside NY and CA commenting on our Facebook posts more than usual
3. Existing Facebook Fans outside NY and CA sharing our Facebook content more than usual
4. Increase in advocacy actions taken outside of NY and CA (outside of Facebook). Here action means send a letter to a rep, take a pledge to stand against a bill, ect
5. More positive comments on our content outside of NY and CA

Use this Cheat Sheet
Key Performance Metric
Increase donations
% reduction in cost per dollar raised
Increase donor base
% increase in new donors
Increase number of volunteers
% increase in volunteers
Increase awareness
% increase in awareness

% increase in visibility/prominence

Positive correlation between increase in donors vs. visibility
Improve relationships with existing donors/volunteers
% improvement in relationship scores

% increase in donation from existing donors
Improve engagement with stakeholders
% increase in engagement (comments on YouTube, shares on Facebook, comments on blog, etc.
Change in behavior
% decrease in bad behavior

% increase in good behavior
Change in attitude about your organization
% increase in trust score or relationship score
Increase in skills and knowledge of staff Learning
Increase in revenue per employee,
% employees understanding their roles and organizational mission

  • BENCHMARKS: Measurement is a comparative art. You need to compare yourself to your past performance or peers. How did you come up with your “how many?” Is it realistic or not? If you need to compare to a peer organization, find 1-3 others that are similar to your organization.
    • Still need to analyze our existing FB data on the behaviors of our fans in the Midwest or South
    • Need to figure out if there is a way to look at the regions as a whole or if its best to measure metrics in a few key states (OH, FL, AZ, SC, OR, KS). Picked these states because lots of civil liberties threats coming up in the 2013 legislative session in these places
    • I think it would be difficult to analyze this kind of data from a peer organization but we would welcome feedback from other people in this learning group on how they engage with their “nontraditional audiences”
    • Ask Purpose (the group now running our action program) what the baseline for action takers in certain regions is.

  • COSTS: Be honest! How much time will you invest in this activity? What are the opportunity costs? Are you adding resources or shifting them?
    • This should not cost too much in terms of time or resources. I would like to test promoted posts (especially of voting and reproductive freedom content) in certain areas. Maybe budget $200-$500 for this. More?
    • I’d also like to test what kind of framing for our national posts (starting with a question or statement of fact or an ask to share) engages our targets. This shouldn’t take much additional time.
    • Lastly I’d like to take a closer look at content we only promote in certain states and see what the engagement is compared to posts targeting our entire list. Should only take a little more time

  • Tools: These are the tools and techniques you will use to collect data – the key performance metrics. Remember, any tool is useless unless it collects the data you need to figure out whether or not you are making progress towards your objectives.
    • Facebook Insights
    • Visually reviewing comments on certain posts

  • Insights: What is the formal reflection, review, and real time data feedback loops you will use.
    • Meet as a team bi weekly to discuss data and any (if any) changes we see in behavior of target audience
    • When posting or submitting content look for opportunities to test with targets (daily)