3 minute read

It’s time to pat yourself on the back. If you’ve been following this social analytics series, then you’ve already learned a great deal of information in a short amount of time. You have a deeper understanding of what social media analytics is and why it’s important in achieving your nonprofit’s goals. Also, you have the steps needed to start this process and identify what metrics you should track once you’ve begun.

Great! Now you’ve got everything in place, and you’re monitoring metrics like the social media analyst you were always meant to become. However, all these numbers can overwhelm people not involved in this process, like board members or co-workers on different assignments. This is where data visualization comes into play.

Data Visualization

Data visualization refers to the organization of data into a visual format. Simple as that! It allows board members and other non-technical professionals to easily digest what your data means using graphical and pictorial elements.

According to Forbes, “Today more than ever, professionals are being asked to argue their cases and make their decisions based on data.” The increasing relevance of data analysis further proves the need for non-technical professionals to quickly access and easily understand their data. Considering that 65% of individuals are visual learners, images are more memorable, while wordy reports take more time to decipher.

Google Data Studio

Choosing a data visualization platform can be tricky. Lots of data visualization tools exist, so you have a wide variety to choose from. Although, many of these tools can charge a pretty penny. That’s why I highly suggest you check out Google Data Studio. It’s free and enables you to design, deliver and share impressive visualization dashboards.

With Google Data Studio, you have the power to transform your data by building engaging, interactive reports and dashboards. It’s easy to connect your existing data from sources such as Google Sheets, Google Analytics and Google Ads. Are you using Excel to manage your data? Simply copy and paste into a Google Sheet and you’re good to go!

Now that your data is connected to Google Data Studio, you can visualize your data with an existing template or create your own. I love to create my own because I can easily customize my dashboard to meet my exact needs. Your options are abundant with line, bar, pie and scatter charts, tables, score cards and even geo maps—to name a few! Get creative and have fun with your design.

Once you create your dashboard, you might be wondering if you need to go through the process of creating a new dashboard every time your data changes. Absolutely not! The great thing about Google Data Studio is that you’re completely free to update your data from your data source. Just make sure you click to refresh your data in your dashboard and it will immediately update with the new information.

Learning Google Data Studio

I first learned about data visualization and Google Data Studio at a luncheon with a former boss. Two weeks later I presented her the dashboards I created from our existing social media data, and she was so excited to show them to our board members.

The moral of this little story is that you can go from knowing absolutely nothing about data visualization and Google Data Studio to beaming with pride at the dashboards you created in just a short time period. I’m not promising it will take two weeks to get it done—could be sooner, could be longer. It just takes some time reading articles, watching tutorials and playing around with the tool, but it’s totally worth it when you and your board members have a fun, interactive dashboard that makes understanding your social media data easy as pie.

It’s exciting learning new things, but it often comes with a little confusion and questions at times. Look out for more articles in this Social Analytics series, and learn more about Firespring’s social media solutions for nonprofits. We offer helpful materials, webinars and seminars on how your nonprofit can market itself to further its cause. Find out more by calling 877.447.8941 or email hello@firespring.com.