2010 / 10 June

Setting Goals for Your Overall Social Media Strategy

B2B Business Goals from B2B Magazine's 2010 Survey

*This content was previously published on Social Conversations in June 2010.  Social conversations was a product of Serengeti Communications which closed in 2012

This post is part of a series entitled The Four Pillars of Social Media.  This week’s topics revolve around the second pillar, Strategy.

Marketing in Social Media is fast becoming an important piece in most companies’ marketing plans for this year and moving forward.  More companies are adding Social Media Marketing as a line item in their budgets this year.  They are either maintaining what they invested in it last year or adding more money to it, which is pretty impressive seeing the state the economy is in and how budgets are being slashed left an right.

What Are Your Company’s Goals for Social Media?

Number of Business Initiatives Planned

Number of Business Initiatives Planned

With that increase in money towards Social Media Marketing though must come accountability.  At the end of the day, how what is your Return on Conversation or Investment for entering into the Social Media space?  Do you have goals set in place to help understand whether or not the marketing tactics you’ve researched and laid out very carefully in your strategy are really helping or harming your company?  Without a clear set of goals, how do you know what to even measure and what do the success metrics look like?

A study from Business.com surveyed its audience about their plans for 2010.  In it one of the figures showed that over 25% of the companies who were intended to participate in Social Media Marketing were planning to implement 10 or more marketing tactics in social media.  Wow!  10 or more!  How does any marketing team keep track of all of that, and whether each tactic its successful or not?  It’s a tall order.  Even taller is how do they know how each of these tactics help reach the goal set in place – if there are any?

Goals are Different than Metrics

B2B Business Goals from B2B Magazine's 2010 Survey

B2B Business Goals from B2B Magazine’s 2010 Survey

Measuring, counting, accumulating anything is looking at metrics for a particular tactic you are implementing.   Measuring tactics alone doesn’t really mean you are hitting your goals.  Goals are more encompassing of the bigger picture of where a company wants to be.  It isn’t to gain 100 more fans on a Facebook page – that’s measuring a tactic.  A goal is something like “Increase Customer Retention by 10%” and figuring out what metrics you measure in your social media tactics that can help prove social media helped to meet or contribute to meeting that.

Counting tweets, retweets, fans, friends, website traffic, referrals, and everything else is all about the metrics.  Individually they can mean absolutely nothing.  For your goals to be successful you need to look as how all of these metrics work together.  Which are the strong pieces and which are the weak.  You do need to measure, and look at these individually  – how else will you know if the particular tactic is helping you?  But when you look at your goals, it has to be from a higher view, and remember that’s what the C-Suite and Senior level management is looking at too.

When you are putting together your strategy, make sure you lay out your goals first – then figure out what metrics help you understand how what marketing tactics you are implementing are helping you reach those goals.

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