8 Steps to Setting (and Achieving) Social Media Goals

If your company is to social media profiles as the Little Mermaid is to thingamabobs (she’s got twenty), you may feel a little overwhelmed. You post, comment, +1, pin, and #nofilter like a guru pro, but what now? How can you take your social media presence to the next level without spending all your time posting and measuring? And more importantly, how can you make sure you’re proving the value of your efforts?

It’s time to set some goals.

I know, I know—three weeks into the new year, you’re sick of resolutions and objectives and plans, but bear with me. Research has shown time and time again that setting goals (and, more importantly, writing them down) has a huge impact on results. Let’s take a look at how you can set and achieve your goals in eight painless steps.

1. Determine what matters.

42% of marketers rate social media traffic as the most important social marketing metric. (Salesforce)

It may be nice to know how many favorites your Tweets receive each month, but that’s not a very useful metric when it comes to proving that social media is valuable for your company. While it’s fine to look at vanity metrics to make sure you’re on track, they aren’t enough to show your CMO that social marketing is having a tangible impact. Take a look at metrics like your follower growth rate, how many leads you’re generating, and levels of engagement. Need help deciding what really matters? Check out our beginner’s guide to making social media measurable.

2. Audit your social accounts.

If you’re not already tracking your weekly or monthly progress on social media, it’s time to choose an analytics tool and get started. Looking at how you’ve performed in the past can give you insight into which areas need improvement and help you set a benchmark for future performance.

3. Analyze your competitors.

Take some time to peruse your competitors’ social profiles. Note what they’re doing well or poorly, and take a look at their metrics as well. Of course you won’t be able to see all your competitors’ data, but tracking their top posts or their follower growth over time can give you a goal to beat. Tools like TrackMaven give you in-depth insight into your competitors’ online presences, but you can easily learn the basics just by checking out their profiles.

4. Set goals.

Based on your past performance and your competitors’ performance, it’s time to set some reasonable—but still ambitious—goals for your brand. Be sure to set both short-term and long-term goals for the metrics you chose in step one.

5. Outline actionable steps.

What steps will you take to reach your goals? Mapping out specific, actionable stepping stones to success will help you avoid the dreaded procrastination bug. Here are some sample steps that aren’t so great and suggestions for improving them.

Okay: Join in more online conversations about my industry.
Better: Participate in one relevant Twitter chat per week.

Okay: Connect with professionals in my industry.
Better: Create and implement an influencer strategy by February 1st.

6. Implement change.

This step is pretty self explanatory. Now that you’ve set your goals and outlined the steps you’ll take to achieve them, it’s time to put them into action.

7. Track your success.

Create a spreadsheet to stay on top of your goals and track your progress. (Hootsuite has some great templates to get you started.) Update it on a regular basis so you know how close you are to victory.

8. Modify your goals if necessary.

Now, I’m not suggesting you drastically alter your goals so it looks like you met them when you didn’t. But if you’re consistently falling short, you might consider modifying your long-term goals to be more reasonable—and rethinking the steps you can take to meet them. Maybe you realize that growing your followers isn’t as important as engaging the followers you already have. That’s fine; just modify your goals to reflect that.

If you’re looking for more ways to improve your social media marketing this year, download The B2B Social Media Guide to Best Practices by clicking the banner below. Then let us know: Have you seen success with setting social media goals in the past? What do you hope to achieve this year? Leave your thoughts in the comments.