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How to Create Achievable Social Media Goals

how to create achievable social media goals

How can you tell if your social media marketing efforts are working? That single question has plagued businesses for years, and stopped them from engaging in social media altogether.

However, in 2016, you no longer have the excuse of limited tools to track your social media marketing efforts on networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. With all of the resources available that allow you to measure your campaigns, you have the ability to see exactly what’s working and how much social media is paying off for your business. Once you have something to measure, the next question is what are your social media goals?

Goal Setting 101

Read any blog post or book on goal setting, and you’ll most likely see SMART goals mentioned. SMART is an acronym for:

  • Specific: Your goals should be clear, simple and defined.
  • Measurable: Attach a metric to your goal so you can measure your progress. For example, it could be reach, new website visitors or leads.
  • Achievable: Will you actually be able to achieve this goal? Make sure you’re being reasonable with your expectations.
  • Realistic: You should have the resources and desire to achieve your goals. For instance, it’s possible to double your social media traffic within 60 days. But do you have the time, resources or drive it will take to meet that goal?
  • Time sensitive: Your social media goals should have a time frame. The trick here is setting a timetable that’s reachable, but not so far out that there is no pressure to achieve it. Setting a time frame of 12 months to increase your social media reach by 10% is too easy. A good starting point for most social media goals is around 3-6 months.

The purpose of the SMART approach is to help you avoid the pitfalls that stop people from achieving their goals. Marketing Land provides this worksheet to help you manage your goals.

smart goals graph

SMART goals are particularly effective for social media marketing because most companies are too vague about what they want to achieve. It’s common to hear goals like “get more likes” or “increase our followers.” The SMART approach turns those goals into “boost our total number of Facebook followers by 15% in two months through participating in Facebook groups.”

Now that we know the different pieces of what goes into a social media goal, let’s walk through the process of actually creating one.

What Do You Want To Accomplish?

Not everyone wants to use social media for the same reason. Some businesses use it to generate leads, others are active on social to strengthen their brand. You may even have different objectives for each of your social media platforms. Start by defining what it is that you’re trying to accomplish with social media (your objective), then you’ll be able to create goals that will help you attain it. Your objective might be a bit more vague than your SMART goals, but that’s okay.

Here’s what this entire process looks like:

  1. Define the objective you’re trying to achieve with social media marketing. “Grow your brand’s voice on Twitter”
  2. Create goals to help you achieve your objective. “Increase total engagement (replies, Retweets and likes) by 25% in six months”
  3. Write down the steps you need to take to accomplish each goal. “Participate in at least five Twitter chats per month”

Using this systematized technique gives you a framework for what you want to achieve, why you’re doing it and how you’re going to achieve it. Going in blindly without a strategy makes it nearly impossible to track your progress since you’re not working toward anything in particular. Don’t make the mistake of using social media just because all the experts say you should. Put a purpose behind your efforts and you’ll get better results.

How to Choose Your Goals

You’ve determined what the objective is, now you just have to figure out what goals you’re going to set to get there. If you’ve already setup profiles and dabbled in social media marketing before, you can start by analyzing where your current status.

What are your strengths and weaknesses? If you have a large number of followers, but you’re not getting the social media engagement you’d like, your focus would be generating more activity. Maybe you’ve joined several Facebook groups but haven’t been active in them. In that case, your goals could center around being more efficient with Facebook groups.

Taking stock of your current position or performing a social media audit will allow you to look back at what you’ve accomplished and help you set goals to get better results.

If you’re struggling to come up with ideas or starting from scratch, here are some tips to help you set social media goals based on your objective:

  • Branding: If your objective is anything brand related such as improving brand consistency or reaching a new demographic, then your goals may revolve around:
    • Content
    • Outreach
    • Followers
  • Customer service: When you’re aiming to use social media as a customer service platform and to communicate with clients, set goals with these elements in mind:
    • Response rate
    • Engagement
    • Support tickets
  • Lead generation: A lot of businesses use social media as a way to generate new leads. Setting goals involving these metrics can help you create better goals:
    • Web traffic
    • ROI
    • Interactions

As you can see, there is a lot of flexibility when you’re setting social media goals. The key is to customize them to fit your business. Just remember to keep your goals SMART.

Pick Your Metrics

The “M” in SMART goals is arguably the most important part. Measuring a goal lets you quantify your progress. Setting a goal to “get more likes” isn’t effective because once you’ve received one new like, you’ve technically achieved your goal. To make a goal measurable, you need to attach a metric to it.

The metrics you use will depend on your goals. When you choose a social media metric to follow, remember that it needs to be something you can track. Here are some examples:

  • Facebook
    • Page likes
    • Post reach
    • Engagement
    • Page impressions
    • Shares

Facebook Analytics

  • Twitter
    • Engagement (replies, Retweets and likes)
    • Organic impressions
    • Followers
    • Messages sent
    • Response rate & time
    • Mentions
    • Profile visits
    • Tweets linking to you

Twitter Analytics

  • LinkedIn
    • Impressions
    • Clicks
    • Interactions
    • Followers
    • Engagement

LinkedIn Analytics

  • Pinterest
    • Impressions
    • Viewers
    • Average Repins per Pin
    • Pin reach

Pinterest Analytics

  • Instagram
    • Followers
    • Engagement (likes and comments)
    • Engagements per follower
    • Engagements per media
    • Clicks to website

Instagram Analytics

How to Achieve Your Goals

You know what you want to accomplish and the specific metrics you’re going to use to track your progress. The next step is to create a plan to ensure you reach your goals. Your plan should include:

  • The daily, weekly and monthly tasks you need to complete.
  • Milestones you want to meet while trying to achieve your goals.
  • Who is involved for each step.

The daily, weekly and monthly tasks you want to complete will be the meat and potatoes of your plan. Setting goals is useless if you don’t have a plan in place to reach them. These tasks outline the work that needs to be done in order to reach your goal. For instance, if your goal is to increase your number of followers by 15%, your plan should detail how you’re going to get these followers. If your goal is to decrease your average customer service response time to under 60 minutes, your plan must describe the policies and procedures you’re going to put in place to make it happen.

Failing to write down the steps you need to take to reach your social media goals is like going grocery shopping without knowing what you’re going to be cooking throughout the week. You’ll end up getting things you probably don’t even need. Without outlining the steps you need to take to reach your social media goals, you could easily wind up wasting time doing meaningless tasks that won’t get you to your end goal. And the larger your social media team, the more important it becomes to have your tasks clearly defined.

Creating milestones is great for morale and also to make sure you’re progressing on schedule. Your milestones need to be realistic and specific, just like your SMART goals.

For instance, if your goal is to get 6,000 new Instagram followers within six months, that breaks down to an average of 1,000 new followers each month. You could set milestones to have 2,000 new followers by the second month and 4,000 by the fourth month. If the second month comes around and you only have 500 new followers, you can reassess your goal and make the necessary adjustments.

How to Track Your Goals

The final piece of the puzzle is tracking your progress. Most social media goals can be tracked using a combination of:

  • Sprout Social: Great for tracking a wide range of metrics like engagement, audience growth and more.

Sprout Social Social Media Analytics

  • Google Analytics: Google Analytics makes it easy to track your traffic from social media, create campaigns and figure out your ROI. It’s also helpful for tracking metrics for social media sites that don’t give you a great amount of data like Snapchat or Instagram.

Google Analytics Social Media Analytics

  • Individual social media platforms: Certain platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest will give you further insight and metrics that will be helpful depending on your goals.

Twitter Analytics

Are You Reaching Your Social Media Goals?

Setting goals for social media marketing isn’t only about hitting milestones and completing objectives. It helps you become more efficient and cut out anything that’s not giving you results. As a business, a lot of the decisions you make will be based on your ROI. Creating goals and attaching metrics to them allows you to see your social media ROI so you can make better choices for your company.

Make sure you have the right social media analytics tools so you can evaluate and truly assess your incoming statistics. Having a tool to measure your goals makes the process much easier to control and inspect.

What are your social media goals for 2016? And what metrics are you using to track them? Let us know in the comments!

This post How to Create Achievable Social Media Goals originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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10 Crucial Steps for Launching Your B2B Podcast Into the Wild

Hey, friend, have you heard the good news about podcasts? 

Given the most recent stats, it’s highly likely you have. Over half of all Americans over 12 years of age have listened to at least one. Podcasts have well and truly hit the mainstream. In other words, the gold rush is on for brands looking to connect with a highly-engaged, long-attention-span audience.

However, getting a podcast up and running isn’t as simple as publishing a blog. We recently published an entire B2B podcasting webinar to walk you through the entire process, from conception to publication. This post will zero in on the choices you need to make and the steps you need to take to release your podcast into the wild.

B2B Podcasting Launch Checklist: 10 Steps

Sure, you could just upload your audio to your web server, add an RSS feed, and call it good. But if you want people to actually find and listen to your podcast, there are a few extra steps you should take. This checklist will help your podcast find an audience and start building a subscriber base.

via GIPHY

#1: Choose Your Hosting Platform

A podcast syndication platform makes it easy to publish your podcast and get listed in directories. Think of it like WordPress is for your blog — it hosts the files, makes them look pretty, and makes it so people can find them.

Most platforms will also give you embed codes for embedding episodes in blog posts or on a landing page. You’ll also get stats on how many people are downloading episodes, and on what program they’re listening.

We prefer Libsyn as our hosting platform. Podbean, buzzsprout, and Blubrry are also solid options. They all have a free tier of hosting, but you’ll want to pay a few bucks a month for bandwidth and analytics.

#2: Upload Your First Three Episodes

Podcasting is all about establishing a regular cadence (more on that later). But for launch, you’ll want to have at least three episodes ready to go. There are a few reasons for publishing multiple episodes for your debut:

  1. One episode may not be enough to convince people to subscribe. 
  2. Multiple episodes show you’re committed to keeping the content coming.
  3. Most importantly, Apple podcasts requires at least three episodes to qualify for their “New and Noteworthy” section. 

So before you publish, have at least three episodes completed, and be ready to follow up with more at your promised publishing cadence.

#3:  Register with Podcast Directories

Podcasts are peculiar in terms of content delivery. Your hosting platform makes the files available, but most people will listen to your podcast on their chosen podcast app. Each app maintains its own directory — think of it as a search engine for podcasts. 

Your podcast needs to be listed in their directory, or people won’t be able to find you. I recommend registering with at least these six:

  1. Apple Podcasts
  2. Google Podcasts
  3. Stitcher
  4. Podbean
  5. Spotify
  6. TuneIn

Each of these sites will ask for the RSS feed of your podcast, which your hosting platform will generate for you.

I created a podcast tracker to keep track of all these directories — sign up for the webinar and you can download it for free.

B2B Podcast Tracker

#4: Promote Internally

Gaining visibility on a podcast directory is tricky business. Apple and Google are where the majority of your listeners will be, and each employs an algorithm to promote podcasts in search results and feature pages.

How do you get an algorithm’s attention? Engagement! Start by promoting your podcast to all of your employees. Encourage them to subscribe on Apple or Google, give a rating, and write a brief (and honest) review. What’s more, draft some social messages and encourage everyone to promote the podcast to their networks, too.

That base level of initial engagement will help your podcast start finding its audience.

#5: Activate Your Influencers

Most podcasts are Q&A-style interviews with influential guests. If your podcast includes influencers in your industry, make sure they know as soon as their episode goes live. Give them the tools to promote the podcast easily:

  • Sample social messages
  • Social media images in the correct sizes
  • Embed codes

If your podcast doesn’t feature influencers, it’s worth re-evaluating your strategy for your next season. Influencer content not only is more valuable to your audience, it’s an indispensable channel for promotion.

#6: Publish Blog Posts

The one downside of audio content: It’s not super crawlable for SEO purposes. Granted, Google has started to auto-transcribe episodes and add them to search results, but the technology is still in the early stages.

To truly get some SEO juice from your podcast, we recommend embedding each podcast in a blog post. This example from the Tech Unknown Podcast by SAP* shows how simple it can be. All you need is an introduction, a few pull quotes, some key takeaways, and a transcript.

#7: Add Paid Promotion

As with any content, you want to use every tactic available to make sure it gets seen by your target audience. That’s especially true with podcasts, since podcast search engines are incredibly competitive.

Targeted, paid social promotion can help establish your subscriber base and get your new podcast some much-needed visibility.

It’s also worth considering cross-promotion on other podcasts. Consider both paid advertising and trading guest spots with a podcast that shares your target audience. 

#8: Solicit Listener Feedback

Ratings and reviews are essential to your podcast’s success. They’ll help provide social proof for new listeners and boost your search visibility in podcast directories. 

The best way to get ratings and reviews? Ask for them. Make it part of each episode’s sign-off. You can even encourage thoughtful reviews by reading the best ones on future episodes. You will engage your listeners and solicit more reviews at the same time.

#9: Keep Up Your Cadence

As with blog content, there’s no single “right” frequency to publish a podcast. Some of my favorite podcasts publish weekly, biweekly, or even monthly. The best cadence for your podcast is “However frequently you can reliably, regularly publish quality content.”

Choose your cadence with an eye to long-term sustainability, and tell your listeners explicitly how frequently you’ll publish. Whether it’s “See you next week,” or “PodcastTitle is a monthly podcast that…” listeners will find it easier to make your podcast a habit if you stick to a schedule.

#10: Repurpose, Repurpose, Repurpose

In my last post on the content marketing benefits of B2B podcasting, I mentioned that podcasts are a content machine, and I’ll say it again. It’s easy to finish an episode, publish it, then forget it and move on to the next thing. But don’t do that! 

Pull snippets of audio content for social media. Turn them into short videos, too: Add a still image or a simple looping GIF for visual interest.

Use your transcriptions as fodder for future blog posts, quotes for influencer marketing, or even a stand-alone asset. 

Any way you can reuse that content can help bring more listeners to your podcast. What’s more, putting the content in a different medium can reach an audience who might not be into podcasts (yet). 

Check, Check, One Two

Launching a podcast is a little trickier than launching a new blog, especially if you’re new to the format. But if you follow this checklist, you can make sure your podcast is available on all the right channels and is ready to start attracting an audience.

Need more podcasting help? Check out our B2B Podcasting Webinar. In addition to learning the Four P’s of podcasting success, you’ll see me make this face:

B2B Podcasting Face

*Disclosure: SAP is a TopRank Marketing client.

The post 10 Crucial Steps for Launching Your B2B Podcast Into the Wild appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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