It’s the Doghouse for Some Small Business/Non-Profit Social Media Metrics. But That’s Okay.

Russ Horner    June 30, 2016

If everything around running a small business or non-profit organization (NP) isn’t tough enough, try adding social media performance metrics to your list of tasks.  Metrics for social media can be scary and confusing for small businesses and non-profits when they have no time, no extra staff and no budget. But not all social media metrics need to be relegated to the doghouse. Some easily taken metrics are important and can measure a level of success.

As I was driving on highway 11 through North Bay, Ontario, the fun looking storefront of Lisa’s Doghouse caught my eye. So, I went in and talked social media metrics with the owner of this upscale healthy pet food store, Lisa Rousseau. The business is only four years old and she has relied primarily on Facebook and her website for staying in touch with her customers. On the success of their social media efforts on their business, store associate Brendan Vandermeulen says, “ It’s a hard one to gauge. It does not bring in new people as much as engage those who are already keeping an eye on us.”. And about translating their social media efforts to sales Brendan explains, “Again, it is a hard one to gauge because the other advertising overlaps.” Right now, Lisa and her team are comfortable with their current social media strategy and look forward to when there is more time to improve and measure the success of what they are doing.

And the thoughts expressed by Lisa and Brendan are quite common. Zachary Chastain, Head of Community Engagement at Thought Labs says, “Since all of this data (metrics) is new and people are still trying to figure out which information is valuable, which is just noise, how to leverage it to improve results, etc it can be a very intimidating industry to get into.”

In the case of non-profit organizations, a different element can be the block to obtaining more accurate social media metrics. Jill Clarke, Executive Director for The Gathering Place Community Food Centre in North Bay says, “Money stops us from doing more. However, we know our social media campaigns are working when we get an increase in volunteer request and an increase in donations.” When it comes to non-profit organizations, everyone is different and has their own goals in measuring success. According to Ventureneer, “Measurements can be as simple as; number of visitors to your site; number of followers or fans; and/or how many people comment on or like your postings. Decide what is important to your organization and ignore the rest.”

For the Richmond Hill Philharmonic Orchestra (RHPO), they have assembled a team to help gauge how effective their social media is performing. Dr. Jessica Kun, Conductor/Artistic Director RHPO, Professor of Music-Wilfred Laurier University says, “90% of our classical audiences don’t own computers so how they going to know how to tweet? So social media does not help us much to fill seats for those types of concerts. For pops type of concerts, social media does raise the bar and interest in our orchestra.” So Dr. Kun and her team have determined precisely what works and what doesn’t when it comes to using (or not using) social media. For some shows more traditional forms of advertising will be more successful than implementing social media campaigns.

Lessons for Others

Small businesses and non-profits need not stress over social media metrics. Simply find the social media that best represents the objectives of the organization and ignore the rest.

Every organization is different and has different reasons for not doing more with their social media and metrics. Companies should try and keep it simple, identify what is important and grow into more involved social media tasks and measurements as the organization grows.

Do not stress over social media metrics. Companies only need to pick out what THEY think they need and put the rest in the doghouse…for the time being.

Organization: Lisa's Doghouse
Industry: Retail Store
Name of Organization Contact: LIsa Rousseau

Authored by: Russ Horner

If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.


Winn, Matt. Volusion, The 5 Most Important Social Media Metrics You Can Actually Measure | Two Minute Tuesdays. Retrieved June 28, 2016 from

Ventureneer. Non Profits Take Charge. Retrieved Jun 28, 2016 from

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Normoyle, John. Slideshare. I Heart Social Meida Metrics. Retrieved on June 28, 2016 from