Setting clear goals for your social media marketing activities prevents you from spending precious resources without delivering a clear business outcome.
Follow these three steps to define goals that create impact:
Be clear about your business
Are you planning to become a thought leader in a certain market segment or generate additional revenue? Common objectives are awareness or lead generation. How will you measure success?
Define and locate your target audience
Who is your target audience? What are their roles and titles? What geography are they in? Are they net new prospects or existing customers? Is your audience in distinct industries or horizontal?
Identify if each audience requires unique messaging. For example, most business solutions have people who use the product and decision makers who approve the purchase. Very often, these two audiences do not overlap, have different pain points, and get their information from different places.
Once you understand your target audience, you can identify the right “watering holes” for your social media activity. Watering holes are the places on social media where your audience goes to find information and potentially engage in conversations, e.g., on LinkedIn or Twitter. Your target audience and watering holes dictate what type of content you will need to produce.
Define your marketing and social media goals
Marketing goals are generally a sub-set of a company’s business objectives. Social media goals define how social media is used to support the marketing objectives. Pick just one of your marketing objectives to begin; for example, create thought leadership. Then define metrics to measure success. You may need separate goals and metrics for each channel.
If you have multiple target audiences, this is the time to decide who you want to focus on first. Especially, if you are just getting started with social media, start small. Don’t bite off more than you can chew, but experiment and fine-tune before you do more complex things.
I was hired to provide social media consulting for a social media startup. It became clear pretty fast that the company had not set well-defined marketing goals yet. After completing that step, they needed to create personas and clear messaging for each target audience. Social media needed to be part of their integrated marketing plan instead of an isolated program.
The next step was to generate content for each audience that could be used to engage in appropriate social media channels. Fortunately, the company had a number of talented bloggers who were subject matter experts. They initially committed to 23 blogs per week to gain traction. After week three, the company was picked up by a Google Alert for the first time.
Creating content, maintaining a corporate Twitter handle, or participating in groups on LinkedIn was a bigger challenge. While it was clear from the marketing goals we defined that all these channels were valid watering holes, there were no resources to manage these channels on an ongoing basis. The client decided to hire a social media manager who could create an editorial calendar for their blog, manage their social media presence, and track metrics. Until the person started, the social media activities were limited to blogging. They tracked blog views and comments, as well as click-throughs from URLs in the blogs to information on their corporate website. So, one success metric might be reducing the cost per click by 30%.
The lesson learned was that one needs to be realistic about the objectives that can be achieved.
Make your goals attainable.
© 2012 Natascha Thomsom