June 25th, 2014

Social Media: The Importance of Establishing Goals and Measuring Success

by Steph DeLuca

Social media is changing on all fronts. Every day, every minute. Facebook certainly isn’t what it was yesterday, and it definitely isn’t what it used to be two years ago. Just like you and your business, social institutions are looking to get ahead. They’re anticipating trends and staying ahead of the curve through market research, development and strategic innovation. They’re constantly adding to the social narrative with new campaigns, new success stories, how-tos and how-not-tos.

You know how the saying goes: the only constant is change. And that’s exactly why it’s so, so important to set short and long-term social media goals. The variables may evolve (or change completely!), but it’s necessary to have objectives behind every business decision to keep you focused, effective and ready for the next move.

Whether it’s targeted customer acquisition, increasing engagement by a certain percentage, or driving a particular amount of conversions or new visitors to your website, your goals should be unique to your brand. A good way to cover all your bases is to make sure your goals are SMART: Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely.

The following is an example of a quality social media goal: “I want to increase my Facebook fan base by 15% each month in the third quarter of 2014.

  • The goal is specific. Your platform is determined, and you have hard numbers to meet in a specified time range.
  • The goal is measurable. You are not looking to “increase your fan base,” you are looking to increase your fan base by 15% in the month of July, 15% in August and 15% in September. This will keep you on point throughout the length of your campaign.
  • The goal is attainable. Your goals need to be challenging, but they also need to be realistic. Consider your resources!
  • The goal is relevant. It measures outcomes, not activities, that directly affect your business.
  • The goal is timely. With quantifiable data and a date range, you’re able to determine which elements of your strategy worked, and which could use a bit of TLC. You’re also creating a practical sense of urgency that is essential in successful business efforts.

Defining goals are as important as defining how you will measure ROI. There is a great deal of social media data out there—you just have to know what to do with it. Facebook, Twitter and even LinkedIn have user-friendly analytics tools that break down how users are engaging with your social media content. Social media insights allow you to measure audience, reach, engagement and sentiment—so you aren’t shooting in the dark with your content strategy.

Bottom line is that social media is more than just posts and tweets; it is an essential part of your marketing strategy. If you want your business to succeed, get to know social media analytics, and reassess your short and long-term goals based on those results. By establishing goals and measuring success, you set your business up for growth and innovation.