But even now that social media is an integral part of our lives, many businesses still struggle to create social media marketing goals that are going to help them succeed. Today we’re going to be looking at some great tips for setting goals and attaining them!
Set SMART Goals
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To start with, we’re going to look at some basic tenants of any good marketing strategy. When setting goals it is important to set SMART goals. SMART stands for:
This is a straightforward guide to make sure the goals you set are reasonable. If it passes all of these requirements, then you know you have a solid goal!
Let’s take a look at a simple goal that meets all of these requirements: I want to gain 100 Facebook Likes in one week through Facebook advertising.
It’s specific, by stating that I want 100 followers. By that same token, it is measurable. I will be able to see what my current Likes are and what they are a week later. It’s attainable, as 100 Likes in one week is not too extreme if you craft an effective ad strategy around this goal. It is relevant, because gaining followers (at least legitimate ones!) is usually a good thing for your brand. Lastly, it is timely because we have set one week as the time-frame, and it is a reasonable one.
Regardless of what the goal actually is, you need to make sure that you know what you’re getting yourself into. Ensuring that your goal is SMART will keep you from getting in over your head, and keep you grounded. It will also make achieving your goal much more fulfilling. If you don’t set how many Likes you want to gain, then how will you really know when to celebrate?
Figure Out What is Valuable
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Going beyond just the five points of setting SMART goals, you need to make sure that the goal you choose is actually the right goal. This starts with deciding what is truly valuable. In our previous example, we aimed to get 100 Facebook Likes. But is that actually valuable? Sure, having 100 more people aware of and interacting with our brand is great, but if those people don’t actually engage in a transaction with your business, you may not actually find any value in attaining them. Instead, you can make your goal: I want to get 100 clickthroughs to my product page in one week through Facebook advertising. This goal is likely more relevant to your overall goal than just getting Likes, and will provide more value to you, if your ultimate goal is to increase sales. This is not to say that getting Likes isn’t a good goal, but maybe it’s a sub-goal. Your primary goal can be to increase sales, but you can drive those sales through social media and aim to get a certain number of Likes along the way.
Here are some common goals that you could try to achieve with social media:
- Increase brand awareness
- Increase online sales
- Improve ROI of social channels
- Get a better idea of what customers want
- Drive traffic to your website
- Increase brand engagement and loyalty
- Generate new sales leads
- Drive customer service with social media
These goals are only attainable if you plan for them and build a strategy around them. None of them are going to succeed overnight. But as long as you have a clear vision of what will make your business successful, your goals will be well-aligned.
All Kinds of Research
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A lot of research needs to go into creating a social media marketing goal.
One aspect of this research involves looking at what your competition is doing. Obviously you can’t know exactly what their social media goals are, but you may be able to identify through their social media content what sorts of things they value. For example, at a basic level it should be obvious if they are aiming to drive sales or engage the community as their primary goal. Observing what everyone else is doing gives you the option to compete on that same front, or try to gain advantage somewhere else. If your competitor is focusing on getting user-generated content, you can pivot and try to be the customer service expert on your social media.
Hopefully you have already done this next research, but if not it is the first thing you should do! That is researching the demographics that you want to target. Find out who would be interested in your product or service, then create a marketing persona. Make sure you also look into the general demographics of the social media platforms available to you. You don’t want to waste any time working on a social media platform if your target market doesn’t use it.
Create a Content Plan
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No marketing strategy is complete without content, and this is especially true on social media. Every post you make is content. This can be a single line of text, or a piece of multimedia. When designing your content strategy, there are a few questions you need to answer:
- What type of content (text, image, video, etc.) does your target audience enjoy?
- Are there multiple target audiences that require different kinds of content?
- How frequently and when will you post, and will this vary depending on the type of content?
- Who will create which content and who is responsible for posting it?
- Will certain content only be posted on certain platforms?
- Will you pay to promote the content, and what type of content should be promoted?
It is important to make sure all of the content you create has a purpose in your overall strategy, which is why it’s essential to answer these questions before you begin. This helps create a process flow, especially if you work on a team. Designate who creates, who posts, and who monitors the social media platforms. This kind of preparation is easy if you use a platform such a Hootsuite to schedule your posts. You can have all of the content created and scheduled months in advance for a social media marketing strategy. Creating a calendar and seeing the whole strategy at once really helps you nail down your goal. You can easily audit the strategy and make sure that every aspect of it somehow ties back to your overall goal.
Always Be Ready to Shift Gears
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The hardest part about social media is not the creation and dissemination of content. It is being able to adapt and evolve in an ever-changing environment. To be able to correct a mistake and do damage control without harming the brand’s reputation. Always be prepared for things to go wrong, because news travels fast on the internet. And it is not just about correcting errors, it’s about being able to change your entire strategy if something isn’t working. If your goals are not being achieved, you need to audit the goal itself as well as the methods you are using to meet that goal.
Here are some questions to ask yourself, if your social media marketing goals are not being met:
- Is my timeline too aggressive?
- Is my messaging not resonating?
- Am I using the right channels?
- Am I posting at the right frequency?
- Does my goal support the overall goal of the brand?
Once you identify what isn’t working in your strategy, you can adjust accordingly. There is no need to burn it to the ground and start over. Chances are, your strategy was working toward your goal but was just missing a few elements. Even if your goals are being met, you can always ask yourself if you can do better. Maybe there will be more potential success to be found by tweaking an aspect of your social media marketing strategy.
For years marketers have been trying to crack the social media code. There are best practices, but things are always changing. Use your best judgment, experiment with new tactics, and always pay attention to the data. In the end, having well-researched SMART goals will work better for you than not having those goals or having unclear goals. Good luck in all of your social media endeavors!