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Create a Social Media Strategy: Step 1

Create a Social Media Strategy: Step 1

SMART goal framework

Set Meaningful Social Media Goals

An essential first step to creating a social media marketing strategy is to establish goals. It’s probably safe to assume you’re not new to goal setting. It’s a staple of all marketing and business strategies. And therefore, social media is no exception.

If you want to chart a course for improvement and success, you’ll need goals. If you want to see how effective your efforts are, you’ll need goals. And if you want your strategy to have a purpose and a clear direction, you guessed it; you’ll need goals.

To set yourself up for success and increase the likelihood that you will achieve what you set out to do,

  • be sure your goals align with company objectives or solve specific challenges (we’ll talk more about this in a moment)
  • write your goals down (but not on a Post-it that you shove inside a notebook and never look at again)
  • share your goals with team members and across departments
  • regularly report on your progress for each goal

Without any goals, it will be difficult to know precisely how well your social media strategy is performing or where you might need to make changes to continue moving forward. As you begin to think about goal setting, ask yourself, what outcomes you want to achieve using social media? What challenges might social media help your business overcome? Your response to these questions might be something like:

  • Drive website traffic
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Improve customer service and retention
  • Grow my audience
  • Increase community engagement
  • Gather quality leads
  • Source job candidates

Get Started Setting Social Media Goals

It’s been said that the hardest part of any important task is getting started. Not to worry, we’re here to guide and motivate you to continue on this goal-setting adventure. The framework laid out before you is for any business, regardless of which social network you’re focused on.

At first, think big and broad
If the task of setting goals feels daunting, take a step back, start with the big picture in mind. Ask yourself, ‘Why is my company on social media in the first place?’ Here are a few examples to get the ideas flowing:

  • Small business: engage a local audience and grow a more significant community presence
  • Not-for-profit: build awareness around our mission and values and generate donations
  • Enterprise company: improve customer service to boost customer retention

Write down your answers and then think about your business objectives. Whether you are developing goals for social media or your marketing strategy, be sure those goals align with your business objectives. Leveraging your social media and business growth requires an equal mix of creativity, attention to detail, and data crunching. The social media strategy you develop will set the course for investing your organization’s resources, both financial and human, to achieve your primary business goals.

Now that you have some broad ideas on paper, it’s time to develop specific goals that will directly inspire your day-to-day activities on social media. You’ll know what core activities to focus on throughout your week, over the next month, and beyond.

Speaking of specific that leads us directly to our next point.

Create S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Now it’s time to get down to business.

To create your social media goals, we recommend using the S.M.A.R.T. goal framework. Each of your goals should be:

  • Specific – Does each goal clearly and expressly state what you are trying to achieve on social? Saying you want to “increase engagement” doesn’t really mean much. Will you want to gain 500 new followers or 5,000? With a specific goal, you can track progress and measure success.
  • Measurable – How will you know if you are making progress toward achieving your social goal(s)? Simply put, if you don’t have a way to measure improvement, it’s not really a goal. Say hello to our friend ‘analytics’. You want a goal that has at least one metric associated with it.
  • Attainable – Is achieving your goal dependent on anyone else? How can you sync with others to make sure you are all on the same page and that your goal is attainable? Additionally, think about setting goals that are both challenging and achievable. Another consideration is the amount of time and money you have available to support achieving the said goal(s).
  • Relevant – Why is achieving this goal important to your organization? What effect will achieving your goal have on your organization’s success? Be sure your chosen goals have a direct impact on the world in which you operate.
  • Time-bound – Does each goal have a deadline or a timeframe for completion? By committing to a deadline, you’ll be less inclined to procrastinate. We could all use a little accountability. Am I right?

Using this framework will help you create worthwhile goals that will guide your action and ensure it leads to real business results. Here are some examples of S.M.A.R.T. social media goals.

  • Increase website traffic by 25% by adding social media content starting by March 1, 2021.
  • Acquire 100 new donors through Facebook Causes by June 30, 2021.
  • Increase mentions by 20% on Twitter before, during, and after performances for 2021.
  • Increase likes and comments on Facebook to 3 comments per post by August 31, 2021.
  • Grow Instagram audience by 50 new followers per week between July and September 2021.
  • Increase views on YouTube Channel by 50% by December 2021.
  • Recruit ten organizations to join our LinkedIn company page by May 31, 2021.

PRO TIP: Keep it simple; write down at least three goals for social media. Or you might choose one goal per platform.

Identify Goal Metrics

Once you’ve established your goals, it’s time to assign metrics to each goal. Doing so helps you understand how well your campaigns are performing and whether you might need to change your strategy. Tracking such data allows you to make informed decisions about how best to proceed, what actions or content types to continue using, and which to stop entirely.

While there are near countless metrics to measure on social media, here are some of the most important ones for most companies:

  • Whether people hear about/see your brand
  • How often people engage with your company
  • The rate at which engagement transforms into conversions
  • The overall impact on your customer base

Let’s break down some of the key metrics, how to track and measure them, and what each might mean for your business.

Reach metrics
Reach measures the spread of a social media conversation or how far your message has traveled. At its most basic, reach is a measure of your potential audience size. You have likely heard the phrase, ‘gone viral’ meaning an image, link, or video has spread quickly and widely through social media. Viral content has a massive reach, and while that may be impressive, it doesn’t always mean your target audience is consuming it. A note here, the goal should not be to ‘go viral’ but rather to reach your target audience with a specific message.

To measure your social media reach, you’ll want to track some of the following metrics over time:

  1. Follower count
  2. Impressions
  3. Web traffic

Social media metrics around reach help you measure the potential of the campaigns you create, yet these metrics by themselves don’t mean a whole lot. Having a huge audience isn’t very valuable if those people don’t buy from your company. Am I right?
This leads us to the next social media metric, engagement, which provides insights on how people are participating in the conversation around your company and what they are doing to spread your content and engage with it.

Engagement metrics
One of the most insightful metrics is social media engagement, which looks at the number of shares, likes, and comments that your social media posts generate. These metrics help you measure your company’s interactions and interest and are arguably the most vital metric to track because a higher rate of engagement means your content is resonating with your target audience.

To measure your social media engagement, you’ll want to track these actions:

  1. Clicks
  2. Likes
  3. Shares
  4. Comments
  5. Mentions

To uncover the types of content that generate the most engagement, pay careful attention to which messages receive the most replies and shares. You might be surprised by what people interact with; it’s not always what you expect.

Over time, track your results
Without monitoring data, how will you know if you’re reaching your goals? Are your social media updates receiving more engagement month-over-month? Is your audience growing at a steady rate? Looking at the data that your social media content generates is an essential part of being effective online and will let you know if your action plan is working. Plus, it will allow you to make informed decisions about how to enhance what you do on social media in the future.

And remember, reach and engagement metrics are just some of the basic elements to begin tracking, especially if you’re new to collecting and analyzing data. In the end, it always comes back to your goals. Pay attention to the metrics that will provide insights on whether you’re getting closer to achieving your goals.

Ready to create a few social media goals?

If you want to be successful online, goal-setting is a must-do task, and by doing so, you’ll know the exact steps to take to reach those goals. To start, set a few realistic goals and build from there.

We’d like to hear from you, though. What’s the most challenging part about goal-setting for social media? Let us know by leaving a comment below.