Do you suffer from pie in the sky delusions when it comes to setting goals for your social media marketing campaign? Or perhaps you have the opposite problem and you're experiencing difficulty in setting any goals at all. Whether you're dreaming of having a million followers or fans, or you're having trouble articulating your goals, the importance of having a strategy in placing for setting social media marketing campaign goals cannot be denied. With a solid strategy in place, you'll be able to establish realistic goals, determine how you're going to reach them, and be able to measure when those goals have been attained.
Here's some notes on planning your social media strategy.
Specificity Leads to Social Media Success
Begin by setting specific goals. Far too often, brands make the mistake of being too generic when establishing social media marketing goals. Don't set a goal of simply wanting to grow your fan or follower base. If that were the goal, you could reasonably say that you've met it after adding just one fan or follower. The more specific you can be about your goals, the easier it'll be to recognize what needs to be accomplished. Along with being specific, it's also important for you to be clear about what it is that you wish to accomplish. There should be no room for ambiguity in your goals. If you don't set clear, specific goals, it'll be impossible to measure your activities in an effective manner, nor will you be able to understand what actually denotes success.
Can You Actually Reach that Goal?
Along with understanding what you need to accomplish, you also need to have a system in place for measuring your progress and understanding when you have achieved that goal.
Consider whether the goal you've set is actually attainable or realistic. While it might sound great to have a million fans or followers, consider whether that goal's realistic. Setting unrealistic goals will put you on a path to failure and disappointment. Make a point of establishing goals that you can realistically meet. For instance: to grow your fan or follower base by 20%.
Hold Yourself Accountable with Timelines
Make sure you provide yourself with a deadline for meeting your goal. Using the example above, while it'd be great to grow your fan or follower base by 20%, if you leave that goal open ended, your growth could easily become stunted. Establish a deadline to which you're held accountable for meeting your goal - such as 'to grow your fan or follower base by 20% within 6 months'.
Keep in mind that when establishing goals for your social media marketing campaigns, the markers you set can vary based on your company's mission. Additionally, your goals will likely change as your brand's influence and recognition grows.
Categorizing your Social Media Marketing Goals
In developing goals for your brand, you might find it helpful to break those goals down into categories. CMS Wire recommends breaking social media marketing goals into four categories:
- Audience-building goals
- Activity-based goals
- ROI goals
- Engagement goals
The social media marketing goals that you establish will also likely vary based on the specific channels you opt to use. Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest are all quite different. In setting goals for Twitter, you might focus on things increasing engagement rate, tweet frequency, retweets, follower growth, etc. Facebook goals, by comparison, might look more like this: to increase engagement, reach, or Page likes. Since brands don't have profiles on Pinterest as they do on Facebook or Twitter, your goals on this type of social media marketing channel will naturally be much different. Even so, that doesn't mean that you should not set goals. A solid goal for a channel such as Pinterest or Instagram might be to increase shares.
Leveraging Past Stats
If you find that you're experiencing difficulty in determining which types of goals you should set, try pulling some past stats or analytics so that you'll know what you've accomplished previously. Breaking down those stats in terms of average monthly traffic and the percentage of traffic that came from various sources can give you an idea of where you can make improvement, and provides a good starting place for setting goals.
It's Not all Pass/Fail
Setting goals for social media marketing isn't totally about whether you did or didn't meet a objective. The main idea is to continue improving. Too often, it's easy to feel as though you've failed if you didn't meet a specific goal, and when that happens, you might feel discouraged. Rather than becoming caught up in the fact that you failed to meet the goal you set, take some time to review and analyze for future improvement. For instance, consider what you could have done differently and what could potentially work better. At the same time, avoid the temptation to focus solely on what didn't work - it's equally important to look at what did work as well.
Remember that the only way to know what's going to work for your brand is to explore and give various strategies a try. This means testing, tracking your activities, and then making changes to your social media marketing strategy so that you can make improvements moving forward.
Regardless of how many goals and the various types of goals that you set in your plan, it's important to always consider the bigger picture. At the end of the day, keep in mind that your social media marketing campaign isn't just about attracting more followers or fans, or even increasing your number of shares or tweets. Instead, it's about creating a conversation around your brand that will resonate with your target audience.