OK you’re a convert to social media. You’ve got profiles on all the major platforms. You post regularly. You mix it up with text, pictures and videos. You re-tweet and favourite your followers and sometimes they do the same to you. You probably spend far too much time on your social media but that’s OK it’s good for business right? Probably, but what are you trying to get our of your social media push? If you don’t know where you want to go, it’s pretty hard to get there and almost impossible to know when and if you get there.
Social media is like every other aspect of business life. to fully understand what it can do for you, you need to go back to basics. Management by Objectives, or MBO has been used by businesses across the globe for over 60 years using S.M.A.R.T. goals method. The principle is one of setting objectives that are S.M.A.R.T. so you may well have come across the foundations of this idea before. Now you just need to use them against your planned social media.
First but probably the hardest part of the concept to pinpoint. The more simple and clearly defined your goals are the easier to aspire and meet they will be. Example specific goals in social media could be building follower numbers on Twitter for example, or perhaps increasing the number of re-tweets you get or comments on your Facebook posts. They don’t need to be rocket science.
There’s no ROI in social you may hear. Well it is often hard to prove but at least if you are setting goals that are then measurable you can work out if your effort is hitting the targets you had in mind. You need to have a goal to have somewhere to head but equally you need to know when you’ve achieved your goal. In the era of technical data being so easy to manage it pays to measure all number of things, and most people will count the number of comments, tweets, website visits, etc they attract. Alone they may not mean much but combined and in unison with each other they may help you define some sort of success. Comparing this week to last, that week to the month before you can establish a benchmark and help yourself with the next character of your smart goals.
When you are setting out it is often difficult to you know what you could be capable of. Don’t just pluck a number out of the air and don’t just want to match your competitors. Keep your goals movable and updatable and make them attainable and achievable. The feeling of attaining a pre-established goal should not be underestimated, nor should the negative impact of failing to reach a goal that was too ambitious.
Playing a big role in whether those goals are achievable or not is how realistically you set them. Not just in terms of what is feasibly possible but also keeping in mind the resources you may or may not be able to commit. Social media is ever changing so to be at the top of the game you do need to be constantly learning and that can take time. Equally, good social media comes from a steady and regular output. That can’t be forgotten when perhaps you have a busy time across other areas of the business that need your attention. You also need to plan any holiday impact too, social media can be unforgiving if you haven’t planned effectively.
A goal that is measurable only makes sense if it has another parameter alongside it. Improving likes by 15% means nothing unless you also add something like, over the next 12 months. With a time-frame set, you can also better plan in your head or on paper the stepping stones you need to take and the milestones you need to achieve in order to make sure you achieve the full goal. Be realistic however. Social media results tend to take a good 6 months to really show themselves. Social media is as much about snowballing results as it is quick wins and that’s why different goals should be set measuring different things over different time-frames, so that you always have a dynamic but clear understanding as to how everything is working.
Once you have your goals organised you need to think about your audience and who you are looking to attract to join in with your social conversation. That’s all part of your strategy that can only be really embarked upon once you are clear on your goals and we’ll come to strategy and how to best use social media in later posts.