Investigative Post: Project Summary

Investigative Post serves Buffalo and Western New York as a high-quality investigative newsroom with analytical stories and investigations of interest to the region. The team proposes a somewhat different social media marketing campaign to build their follower base on Twitter and Facebook, and ultimately create a much larger lead acquisition group.

Last year Investigative Post brought on a social media manager, retained as an independent contractor. Since then, their Facebook fans have increased from 300 to 1,266; Twitter followers have grown from 615 to 1,726. Its posts on Facebook and Twitter have also increased, from about 5 to 10 per month to 150 to 200.

Its media partnership with WGRZ, the No. 1 television station in Buffalo, has given the nonprofit full access to their Facebook and Twitter audience. With this head start, the Investigative Post’s objective is to build on this by purchasing ads and sponsored posts on Facebook and Twitter.

Its contracted vendor will do market research to target certain demographics, such as those who follow other investigative news sites like the NY Times, Mother Jones, and the Buffalo News. The Investigative Post expects to spend $15,000 on paid ads over six months. In addition, it will use part of the budget on ads focused on driving people to its site,, as a means to increase web traffic and promote content.

The project will seek to create a separate group of ads specifically promoting events on Facebook to both fans and other potential attendees. Finally, another set of ads will be created to encourage people to donate to Investigative Post and become members. Through the additional code added by their vendor, they will be able to differentiate ads from various Twitter and Facebook accounts for additional metrics to accurately measure conversion rates.

What knowledge will be gained from this experiment?

The Investigative Post seeks to explore social media as a tool to grow the organization’s readership, event attendance and drive donations.

Throughout the social media advertising campaign the team will continually experiment with copy and design, closely monitor the demographics and co-existing interests of newly acquired fans, followers and donors, and make adjustments as needed to maximize the return on every advertising dollar.

If all goes according to plan, it will also provide valuable insight into the preferences of its readers and members, which will be extremely useful when planning and producing future stories and events.

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