Social media strategy (part 2): the calculations

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Your goals are not to sell, but to provide quality and value to a growing audience. Set them right, make them measurable goals. Here is how.

Social Media Strategy (Part 2): The Calculations

This is the second in a series of blog posts about The Art of  Marketing Strategy and tactics. In our first post, we talked about scheduling social media into your daily agenda and employing the right people to govern your social media efforts.

In this post, we will explore how to set goals and match them to measurable metrics.

Part 1 – The Challenge 
Part 2 – The Calculations: Setting Measurable Goals
Part 3 – The Plan of Attack
Part 4 – Choosing the Right Channel 

"The greatest victory is that which requires no battle."
--Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Being a marketer is way more difficult than being a king or a mighty warrior. There will be no white flag,  no messenger, no marriage proposal to solidify power. No bard will write songs about the brave and glorious fights. So how will a marketer know when the battle is won? Choosing goals and picking measurable metrics to determine whether the goals have been achieved or not is the next best thing to capturing the flag.

Start by defining the objectives you want to achieve with marketing and then focus on social media. Which goals will help you achieve those objectives? Don’t forget to write down all the steps you need to take to accomplish each of the measurable goals you set. Let’s start!

How to set goals

Warriors have it easy: they know which land to occupy and whose army to conquer. But what are your goals? The first step to setting goals is to determine the marketing objectives you want to achieve. Ask yourself:

  • Do I want to increase reach?
  • Am I trying to increase conversions?
  • Am I maintaining visibility?
  • Do I want to increase retention?
  • Is this going to help me develop stronger relationships?
  • Am I trying to increase credibility?
  • Am I maintaining visibility?

After you are clear about your marketing objectives, focus on the social media ones. Is your goal essentially:

  • building an online community?
  • increasing conversions from visitors to buyers?
  • thought leadership?
  • increasing online visibility?

"Who wishes to fight must first count the cost."

Fighting battles is costly. Make sure that what you want to achieve is worth the resources you will spend. It seems like an obvious thing to say, but it’s something marketers often neglect to consider. Once you know what you want to achieve, you can break down your social media goals into categories. Carter Hostelley of CMS Wire advises to use four categories:

  • activity-based goals
  • audience-building goals
  • engagement goals
  • ROI goals

Or you might separate goals according to different social media channels you want to focus on. For example, for B2B companies it makes more sense to focus on LinkedIn and Twitter. So your goals might look something like this:

  • Twitter: increase followers; tweet frequently; improve engagement; increase reach by mentions.
  • LinkedIn: increase followers; post industry news frequently; create a professional group; increase engagement in the group; share content in industry specific groups; increase impressions.

How to measure goals

Warriors can be counted. Land can be measured. Treasure can be accounted for. How will you know when you’ve achieved what you want to achieve? You are going to need a framework for defining success. Tracking your progress is as important as setting goals. Using social just because everyone else is using it is not a good enough reason. You need to make your goals measurable by defining a value for each one.

Let’s create a set of measurement points! Here are some examples:

  • reach (insert number here) number of email subscribers
  • increase website visitors (insert number here)
  • increase conversion from visitors to buyers with (insert number here)
  • generate content (insert number here) per month
  • find (insert number here) social influencers
  • engage (insert number here) influencers (engagement measured by a follow and a RT, for example)
  • obtain high-visibility rank for a certain keyword

Use the right tools to track your progress. Usually, a combination of Google Analytics and just keeping an eye on the social media platforms is enough. Google Analytics is an easy way to track traffic to your website coming from social media, to monitor campaign results and check your ROI. If you are using other platforms that don’t provide a lot of data like Instagram or Stumble Upon, Google Analytics will at least give you information about the traffic.

Other platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter give sufficient insight and metrics that you can follow according to your set goals. There are a lot of social media analytics tools you can use to evaluate and analyze data, but most of them come at a price.

What should be considered success?

Warriors are not terribly concerned with who likes them or not. They just need to know who is with or against them. Following vanity metrics like likes and mentions does not always result directly in increased revenue. So how do you know you have achieved success with your engagement strategy? If your ROI increases over time as your reach and authority grows, then you are doing it right. However, your goals shouldn’t stay the same; they need constant adjustments. Focus on the trends, not the instantaneous results.

The impact of your social media strategy will grow as you engage with influencers, curate and share quality content and promote your own content. Your goals are not to sell, but to provide quality and value to a constantly growing audience.