Don’t Just Create Social Media Goals — Reach Them

By Andrew Pressault

Social

The importance of goal-setting cannot be understated—and social media goals are no different. But how to actually achieve those goals is another conversation altogether, and one that’s not talked about as often. So we took the battle-tested S.M.A.R.T. system goal setting model (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely) and applied it to the world of social so that you’re not just setting your social media goals, you’re setting yourself up to achieve them.

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Make your social media goals specific

Increasing your social media reach, for example, is a great goal to have. But what’s your benchmark for success? Is it 50 followers? Or 500 followers? And on which social network? If the goal is too vague, you’ll never really know what you’re working towards. So develop goals that are clear, specific, and not open to interpretation.

Example

Not Specific: I will use social media to increase brand awareness.”

Specific: I will create a campaign of hashtag contests on Twitter to increase brand awareness.”

Set goals that are measurable

measuring using a ruler in reference to social media goals
Image by Sunny Mama via Flickr CC 2.0 by SA

Maybe you want to use social as a channel for customer service. How do you know how well it’s working? An increase in Tweets? Decreased phone queries and emails over the span of a few months? When it comes to success, the numbers matter. Don’t just know you were successful—know how successful you were.

Example

Not measurable: I will increase my reach and engagement on social media.”

Measurable: I aim to increase my reach by 100 followers a week and answer all queries over Twitter within 24 hours.”

Make the goal attainable

We’d never try to talk someone out of punching above their weight. After all, that’s where life’s big wins happen. But short of winning the go-viral lottery, aiming for 300 retweets a week when you have a 500 Twitter followers just isn’t going to happen in even the best of circumstances. Keep your goals challenging, but realistic. #babysteps

Example

Not Attainable: Double the number of my followers every day on every social network forever.”

Attainable: Grow my Facebook audience by 25 followers a week, and my Twitter followers by 35 a week for the next quarter.”

Relevance is king

Want to use social media to build your mailing list? Social channels are a tremendous way to accumulate qualified leads. But if that’s your goal, it makes more sense to focus on using social media to drive traffic to your website than, say, staying on top of your Instagram mentions. Make sure that goal is relevant to your business’s success (even if the it’s not as sexy or fun).

Example

Not relevant: I will use Instagram posts to increase web enquiries for my logistics business.”

Relevant: I will use Instagram as a way for me to present my stationery brand in a fun, visual way and increase engagement with my community.”

Keep it timely

clock reference to social media goals post
Image via zoutedrop under CC by 2.0

You’ve ticked all the boxes and your social media goals are locked, loaded, and ready for lift-off. Now all you have to do is achieve them. By committing to a time frame in which that’s going to happen, you’ll keep the oft-repeated chorus of “I’ll do it tomorrow.” at bay. A hard deadline keeps you accountable.

Example

Not timely:I will increase my Facebook followers by 100,000.”

Timely: I will increase my Facebook followers by 100,000 by Q4.”

You might be implementing a large-scale strategy to improve international brand sentiment of a Fortune 500 over social media. Or maybe you’re just trying to drum up some local excitement for your new small business. Big or small—the rules still apply. You’ll dramatically improve your chances of achieving your social media goals (and enjoy all the perks that come with it.)

When it comes to reaching your goals, are you batting a thousand? What rules or tricks have worked for you in the past? And what do you think you could’ve done to improve some of your not-so-stellar results?

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