With any planning, we are taught by our own efforts during the process of articulating goals, selecting paths toward fulfilling those goals, and determining how to measure our progress. Planning uncovers obstacles and opportunities. Planning teaches. Because it’s ongoing and subject to strategy shifts and market influences, it will always require navigational tweaks (and sometimes even U-turns).
Set general goals for your social media activity.
- Increase website traffic.
- Grow an audience.
- Increase engagement.
- Build brand awareness.
- Generate leads.
Set goals specific to your organization.
- Increase contact us form submissions.
- Increase whitepaper downloads.
- Attract your target audience to a special event.
- Increase registrants for a seminar or conference.
- Garner more donations.
- Attract more qualified applicants.
- Earn new business.
- Grow email list.
- Leverage as a real-time channel for improving customer service.
- Increase video viewership.
For each goal, use the SMART framework – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely – or another goal-setting framework to help determine, record, and track expectations and achievement in a document or a preferred software program.
What does success look like?
For each goal, identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics (measurements) that will help show when that goal is reached.
General goal examples:
For a goal of growing social media audience, we would look to metrics that include:
- Follower count
- Post reach
For a goal of increasing website traffic, we would look to metrics that demonstrate conversion, like:
- Website analytics for social media referrals
- Link clicks from social media post to website and/or blog
Look for correlations; ask questions.
In the two examples above, we would watch the numbers associated with each metric and their relationship to each post on social media.
- Do those numbers show more people have seen the post? Engaged positively or negatively with a particular post?
- Was that a positive performance based on our goals?
- Should we increase or decrease a certain type of post? At a certain time?
Watching the metrics assigned to these general goals tells us a lot. But increasing this kind of performance may not get customers, partners, or applicants close enough to the organization to begin the kind of conversation that leads to doing more of what your organization is built to do.
Specific goal example:
A goal of attracting more qualified applicants is an example of a social media goal designed to bring a segment of your audience closer to you, so close that you would be engaged in a transaction that supports your organization’s purpose. The metrics to measure the effectiveness of social media activity around this goal may include:
- Determining the criteria for qualified submissions
- Tracking the number of qualified applicants received daily and overlaying that with the timing of social media posts encouraging submission
- Tracking website analytics, click-throughs/referrals, post link clicks, and post-engagement metrics
We have to go outside the metrics provided by social media platforms or social media management software to understand the full story.
Beyond metrics: Listening for voice-of-consumer (VoC) data
- Social media metrics can help bolster decisions that have been made based on more traditional methods of collecting feedback from your audiences
- feedback forms
- roundtable discussions
- process-related comments
- content-related comments
- Be wary of relying solely on social media metrics to change course in business or communications strategy
- does social media capture all of your optimal audience?
- does your optimal audience use social media exclusively for its news and communications?
- Use social media to listen and learn beyond your own posts’ metrics
- audit social media posts for topics relevant to your organization’s offering
- audit your industry’s thought-leaders for their hot topics
- Despite its popularity, social media may not reach all of your market