Social Media Goal Setting

Marketing Tools & Tips Social Media Best Practices

“Without goals, and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination.” — Fitzhugh Dodson

Another day, another tweet. As you log on to manage your brand’s social media presence each morning, are you influencing positive change, or just wasting your time? To ensure your every move is strategic, ask yourself: do I know where I’m going? How am I going to get there? Better yet, how will I know whether or not I’ve arrived?

In order to answer these questions, you need to set appropriate and manageable social media goals. Whether you’re redefining your approach, or creating a long overdue strategy for the first time, here are tips to get started.

Dream Big

“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” ― Henry David Thoreau

The truth is, every goal starts out as a dream. Creating a vision is the first step to identifying your goals and making a plan to achieve them. The secret to achieving your dreams is to organize your ideas, put them in priority order, and turn them into attainable goals.

Take a look into the future: six months, a year, and/or five years down the line. Using your imagination, what does your social media presence look like?

Come up with answers that would be true in your perfect world. How does this world differ from your reality? For example, if you have a thousand followers now and wish for hundreds of thousands later, how can you make that happen? To figure this out, you have to be S.M.A.R.T.

Be S.M.A.R.T.

Goals are a critical component of any strategy because they serve multiple purposes. For one, goals give you a destination to navigate your daily decisions. Secondly, they establish benchmarks to use when measuring results. However, all too often we set goals and never meet them. Why?

Most likely, your dreams translate to big, lofty objectives. The trick is to break each down into smaller, measurable pieces. Your goals should be S.M.A.R.T.: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.

Note: the smartest people question everything, so feel free to challenge the notion of S.M.A.R.T. goal setting. If you find an aspect of the formula doesn’t work for your organization, customize until you find a method that does.

Select the Right Goals

With so many opportunities to connect with customers online, many marketers feel pressure to participate on every platform and engage in all of the discussions. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this way.

Once you’ve prioritized your wish list, create goals that make the most sense for your brand. If you’re looking for inspiration to get started, here are some common social media objectives:

Increase Brand Awareness: Is your brand easily recognizable by potential customers? Almost all marketers aim to be top of mind among consumers. For example, if you own a donut shop in town, it’s ideal if locals immediately think of your bakery when the craving for sugary carbs hits hard. This goal requires a lot of moving parts, as summarized in the following steps:

  1. Define your target demographic.
  2. Figure out where these customers are most active online.
  3. Create content to reach and resonate with these individuals.
  4. Measure KPIs.

Sell, Sell, Sell: Move that product off the shelves! Whether clearing out your inventory or selling more of one product than ever before, sales-related goals are plentiful and easy to track. One goal can be to increase Instagram lead generation by 25% in the next three months, or to double your sales in the month of December with a targeted holiday social media campaign.

Boost Engagement: Have you ever told a joke and…no one laughed? What about when you’ve shared some news, and suddenly everywhere you go people mention hearing about it and ask for more details? This is essentially how social media engagement works.

The joke analogy represents the worst-case scenario, when the content you share receives zero engagement. It’s not shared, liked, commented on or even seen at all. On the other hand, the news analogy is the best-case scenario, receiving tons of engagement and organically spreading online and in real life.

To increase engagement, experiment with the type of content you share. Evaluate what seems to be the most popular and what might be going unheard. Armed with insights, make adjustments along the way to create the right approach to connect with your target audiences.

Napoleon Hill said it best: “Do not wait; the time will never be ‘just right.’ Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.” It’s never too late to update or set new social media goals. Our best advice is to remain nimble with your strategy, hold your team accountable to demonstrate results, and constantly strive to improve.

Katie McCall

Katie McCall is a strategic communications consultant, working with clients to establish trustworthy and engaging reputations, driving authentic communication with fans and influencers. She specializes in branding and positioning, storytelling and online advocacy networking. In addition, Katie is a lifestyle portrait photographer, serving clients in her community in Texas.

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