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Strategy

How To Set and Exceed Social Media Goals [9 Examples]

Struggling to structure your efforts on social? Set yourself up for success with our guide to setting and exceeding smart social media goals.

Greg Sides, Colleen Christison June 13, 2024
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If you’re asking yourself: Does your latest viral TikTok contribute to your company’s bottom line? Are all of your efforts working toward something tangible? Is your social media doing something? Then you may need to set social media goals.

By now, most businesses see the value in social media marketing. But, companies and, sometimes, social media managers themselves, have a hard time articulating what exactly that value is. That’s where social media goals come in.

With this guide, you’ll be able to set clear goals for social media marketing. We’ll help you figure out what your company needs and how social can help you get there.

Bonus: Get a free social media analytics report template that shows you the most important metrics to track for each network.

What are social media goals?

A social media goal is an objective you want to achieve with your social media strategy. Effective social media goals align with broader business objectives.

Examples of common social marketing goals include:

  • Generating leads,
  • Driving traffic to a website or online store, or
  • Building brand awareness.

Social media goals can apply to anything from a single ad or organic post to a full-scale campaign. Social media goals should always be components of your larger social media strategy.

Why do social media marketing goals matter?

Social media marketing goals matter because they give your strategy focus. They matter in the same way your destination matters when you drive somewhere. The route you choose to get there (that’s your strategy) is important, but ultimately, it’s your end destination that motivates the entire journey.

Having specific, stated social media marketing goals is also helpful to get buy-in from your managers, clients, or stakeholders.

Well-constructed social media objectives will also help you:

  • manage your budget,
  • structure and streamline your workflow,
  • prove your marketing’s return on investment,
  • and align your social media activity with your organization’s broader business objectives.

They can have added benefits like growing your social following, but that shouldn’t be your main motivator.

How to set social media goals in 5 steps

Setting effective social media goals doesn’t have to be a mystery. And it’s a skill you’ll use in many other facets of your career, like when you create a social media proposal.

Here’s the step-by-step on how to nail smart social media objectives.

Step 1: Consider your business objectives

Before you start throwing ideas out there, ask yourself: What problems does our business need to solve? Or, what would most benefit the business in the next year?

Maybe the answer is, “Our business isn’t as recognizable as we would like.” Or “Our business could really use some more web conversions.”

Your social media goals should be aligned with your business objectives. So, if your business is often confused with your competitors, you can use your social media pages to show people how you’re different and build up your brand’s reputation.

Let your business objectives inform your social media goals.

Step 2: Set your goals using the S.M.A.R.T. framework

Once you’ve finished step one, make sure the goals you’ve set are attainable. You can do so using the SMART framework.

The SMART framework is a great litmus test for whether or not your goals can be reasonably achieved.

Make sure all of your social media goals are:

  • Specific. Clearly define what you want to accomplish.
  • Measurable. Ensure you can track progress with metrics.
  • Achievable. Set realistic goals that can be attained with your resources.
  • Relevant. Goals should contribute to your business’s broader objectives (see Step 1).
  • Time-bound. Work towards deadlines to keep efforts focused.

Social media SMART goals examples include things like:

  • Reduce customer wait time from 10 minutes to two minutes by leveraging Facebook Messenger by next quarter
  • Increase audience shares of content by 15% on LinkedIn within the next six months

Step 3: Identify key metrics and KPIs

Your key metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) will depend on the goals you’ve set. For example, if your goal is to sell more products by funneling people from your social accounts to your website, then traffic and conversions will be important KPIs.

Common metrics include:

  • Engagement. Likes, shares, comments, mentions.
  • Reach. The number of people exposed to your post.
  • Traffic. The number of visitors directed to your website via social media.
  • Conversions. Actions taken, like newsletter signups or purchases.

If none of the above feels quite right, or you just want more options, try these social media metrics.

Step 4: Plan your tactics

Now that you know where you’re headed and how to tell if you’re on the right track, you need to map out what will get you there.

Brainstorm the kinds of things you can do to achieve your goals. This will likely take many forms, such as:

  • Scheduling regular posts to maintain a consistent brand presence,
  • Building a relationship with your community through engagement,
  • Ideating and crafting the types of content your audience wants to see,
  • A/B testing different content types and social platforms, and
  • Getting as many eyes on your content as possible by boosting posts and running social media ads.

Step 5: Execute and optimize

Once you’ve set things in motion, keep checking your progress by using the metrics and KPIs you decided on in step 3. This way, you can see if you’re on track to meeting your goals, and if not, you can adjust the tactics you’re taking.

Regular evaluation and optimization help to make sure your efforts are working toward your goals.

9 social media goals [examples]

The goals of social media marketing should always reflect your specific business needs. But many goals can apply to almost any social media campaign. Some campaigns can even contribute to several goals at once.

It all gets a bit confusing, but specific social media goal examples can help contextualize it for you.

The social media objectives examples below contain common goals and the metrics you can use to measure their success. These can help you frame your work in concrete, actionable terms.

1. Increase brand awareness

Building brand awareness means increasing the number of people who know your brand. This goal might be necessary if your brand or products are often confused with your competitors. Achieving this goal keeps your brand top of mind for consumers when they make purchasing decisions.

You can measure brand awareness on social media with specific metrics like:

  • Post reach. The number of people who have seen a post since it went live.
  • Audience growth rate. The rate at which you gain followers over time.
  • Potential reach. The number of people who might see a post during a reporting period.
  • Social share of voice. The number of people who mention your brand on social media compared to your competitors.

Need help tracking your brand awareness? Specialized social media management tools like Hootsuite can help.

Hootsuite Analytics makes measuring brand awareness metrics easier by allowing you to track metrics from multiple social networks, all in one place. You can even export the information or create custom reports to share with colleagues and stakeholders. The tool collects data from Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Hootsuite Analyze

If you want to go even further, Hootsuite can also help to show you your social share of voice through social listening capabilities.

2. Manage brand reputation

Social media marketing is one of the top ways you can build trust in your brand.

The metrics for measuring reputation are like those for brand awareness. Of course, you’ll track brand mentions and relevant hashtags. But you’ll also want to watch what people say about you even when they don’t tag you. That’s where, once again, social listening comes into play.

You can set up Hootsuite Streams to listen 24/7 for brand mentions. Then, you can use tools that measure social media sentiment (a metric for this goal), like Talkwalker, to see how people are feeling about your brand.

Source: Talkwalker

Talkwalker offers more than 50 filters to monitor conversations across 150 million data sources, including blogs, forums, videos, news sites, review sites, and social networks.

You’ll be able to monitor conversations around your brand and measure engagement, potential reach, comments, and sentiment.

Talkwalker is especially useful for spotting activity peaks in conversations about your brand. This can help you determine the best times for your brand to post on social media.

Psst: Hootsuite is set to acquire Talkwalker VERY SOON. This means you’ll have access to Talkwalker social listening and analytics directly in your Hootsuite dashboard!

3. Increase traffic to your website

Yes, increasing traffic to your website can be a social media goal! Social media marketing goals aren’t limited to actions that happen on social (though creating zero-click content is still a valid strategy).

Your digital strategies should all be working toward the same business objectives, so don’t let your social platforms become siloed from your website or any other online touch points. They can all work together to boost sales or move people down your social media marketing funnel.

Measuring website traffic in analytics is relatively simple. However, here are some of the top metrics you should keep an eye on:

  • Traffic to your site. It’s obvious, but don’t forget to limit your reporting to the most relevant period. This can be daily, weekly or monthly. If you have a baseline number to compare traffic to, even better!
  • Network referrals. Monitoring referrals can help you determine which platform is working best.
  • Email sign-ups. Once your social traffic makes it to your website, are they signing up for more of your content?

Pro tip: For more on tracking social media ROI using Google Analytics, check out our guide!

4. Improve community engagement

Engagement is any type of visible interaction with your brand on social media. For example, likes, comments and shares on your posts are all forms of engagement.

Engagement is sometimes considered a vanity metric, but that’s not always true.

These softer signals can help you track how well your content meets your target audience’s needs. Improving engagement often means better quantity or quality interactions with your audience.

hootsuite analytics dashboard showing engagement, impressions, views, and followers data for instagram

There are several ways to calculate social media engagement rates. Here are a few examples:

  • Engagement rate by reach (ERR). The percentage of people who chose to interact with your content after seeing it. You can calculate this by individual post or average it over time.
  • Engagement rate by posts (ER post). Similar to ERR, but measures the rate at which your followers engage with your content.
  • Daily engagement rate (Daily ER) measures how often your followers engage with your account daily.

You’ll also want to keep an out for things like user-generated content and interactions in brand-hosted forums, like a live feed.

If calculations make your head spin, we’ve got you. Hootsuite’s free engagement calculator can do the work for you!

5. Boost conversions or sales

Do you want your social presence to translate into sales? Then try focusing on your conversions.

Depending on your specific business goals, you can measure conversion in several ways:

  • Conversion rate. The number of visitors who, after clicking on a link in your post, take action on a page divided by that page’s total visitors.
  • Click-through rate (CTR). How often people click on the call-to-action link in your post.
  • Social media conversion rate. The percentage of total conversions from social media.
  • Bounce rate. The percentage of users that click on one of your links only to leave without taking any action.

Social platforms or campaigns with integrated shopping tools are great for conversion goals. These include Pinterest Product Pins, Facebook Shops, Instagram Shops, TikTok, and Shopify.

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6. Generate leads

If you want to fill your funnel with potential customers, you might want to set a goal to generate more social leads.

Lead-generating campaigns yield any information that helps you follow up with a social media user. That includes names, email addresses, occupations, employers, or other information they share.

Common metrics to watch for are:

  • Number of lead forms submitted,
  • Downloads of gated content, and
  • Sign-ups for webinars or newsletters.

To learn more about generating high-quality leads, we’ve put together a guide dedicated to social media leads.

7. Promote events or product launches

If you’ve got a new product ready to launch or are hosting an event, social media is the perfect place to toot your horn.

Running a social media campaign dedicated to your pending product or event can help you find success.

Here are the metrics to measure:

  • Event registrations,
  • Mentions of event hashtags or the name of your product,
  • Product sales or traffic from social, and
  • Engagement on promotional posts.

8. Deliver customer service

Your social presence isn’t just about attracting new customers. It’s also a place to keep the customers you already have. Goals to improve customer service on social media can take on a variety of forms, including:

  • Establish a new customer support channel on social media
  • Reduce wait times
  • Increase customer satisfaction

Measuring the success of your social customer service will depend on your goal. Usually, you’ll use data from customer testimonials and customer satisfaction surveys

Internal measurements like the number of service requests handled per customer service representative can also be useful.

Conversational social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook are a good place to focus on your customer service goals.

9. Attract candidates for open positions

Using social media to fill open positions in your company is another kind of conversion. In this case, you’re targeting a particular type of user interaction: submitting a resume.

When recruiting for an open position, quality conversions are way more important than quantity. LinkedIn is usually (but not always!) your best bet for finding an engaged audience.

When tracking social recruitment, keep an eye on metrics like these:

  • Number of leads per platform. Is Instagram sending more candidates than LinkedIn?
  • Source of hire. Once a hiring decision has been made, review where the candidate came from. Maybe that flood of Instagram-generated leads was mostly spam.

No matter your broader social media marketing objectives, SMART social media goals can help you succeed. At worst, you’ll learn from your mistakes!

If you want to become an expert in goal setting for social media marketing, we can help. Hootsuite’s Social Marketing Certification course has a section about setting strategic goals. 

Use Hootsuite to achieve your social media goals across all platforms. Easily schedule and publish posts, interact with your audience, monitor conversations around your brand, and measure performance with real-time analytics — all from one dashboard.

Do it better with Hootsuite, the all-in-one social media tool. Stay on top of things, grow, and beat the competition.

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By Greg Sides

Greg Sides is a freelance copywriter, editor, translator, and general dealer-with of written things.

Read more by Greg Sides
By Colleen Christison

Colleen Christison is a freelance copywriter, copy editor, and brand communications specialist. She spent the first six years of her career in award-winning agencies like Major Tom, writing for social media and websites and developing branding campaigns. Following her agency career, Colleen built her own writing practice, working with brands like Mission Hill Winery, The Prevail Project, and AntiSocial Media.

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