Do you ever feel like you’re drowning in social media? From LinkedIn to Twitter to YouTube, there are virtually endless metrics to track and new strategies to try, and it can get overwhelming fast. Trust me; I’ve been there. When I first started working at Pardot, I created a multi-page, formula-heavy spreadsheet to measure everything from our follower growth to the number of +1s our Google+ posts received. Every week, I would update the document and try to figure out how to increase each and every metric I was tracking.
It was madness.
After a few weeks of this, I realized I was doing way more work than necessary — and I still wasn’t seeing the results I’d hoped for. How could I when I was focusing on meaningless metrics like the number of Pinterest comments we got each week? I decided it was time to sit down and take a long, hard look at our social media strategy and set some meaningful goals that our head of marketing would actually care about. As a result, I came up with an action plan and a worksheet to help track our progress.
If you’re looking for help setting (and reaching!) ambitious social media goals, read on and follow these five straightforward steps.
1. Determine which metrics matter.
First, you’ll want to decide which social media metrics you’d like to track and improve upon. While it may be nice to know the number of likes your Tweets receive every month, this isn’t a particularly useful metric. Of course, if this number drops dramatically from month to month, you may have a problem — but the number of likes is a vanity metric that doesn’t really prove the value of your social media efforts.
So what does matter? Take a look at metrics like your follower growth rate, the cost per lead generated via social media, and your levels of engagement in order to measure the tangible impact of your social media marketing. Need more help deciding what really matters? Check out Salesforce’s guide to meaningful social media analytics.
2. Audit your social media accounts — and your competitors’.
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.
You should also 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. Paid tools like TrackMaven can give you valuable, in-depth insight into your competitors’ online presences, but you can easily learn the basics just by checking out their profiles.
3. Put your goals on paper and outline actionable steps to reach them.
Based on your past performance and your competitors’ performance, it’s time to set some reasonable (but still ambitious!) goals for your brand. We recommend printing at least two copies of the worksheet below so you can track your progress towards both short-term and long-term goals for the metrics you chose in step one. You can also set qualitative goals — just make sure you map out specific, actionable stepping stones to success. For example, “Participate in one industry-specific Twitter chat per week” is a much better goal than “Be more active on Twitter.”
4. Implement change and track your social media success.
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. Use your analytics tools to measure your success, and track your progress using the worksheet above. Depending on your goals, you’ll likely want to update it once a week and/or at the end of each month.
5. 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’ll realize that growing your followers isn’t as important as engaging the followers you already have. That’s totally fine! In fact, agile marketing campaigns (in which you constantly reevaluate your strategy and alter it when necessary) succeed three times as often as those using traditional waterfall marketing tactics (Mountain Goat Software).
If you want to prove the value of your social media efforts, you need a clear roadmap to success. Outline your short- and long-term social media goals, consistently track your progress, and use agile marketing to update your campaigns. You’ll find that improving your social media strategy can be surprisingly simple — and you won’t waste time tracking unnecessary metrics.
Now that you’ve got a social plan in place, you can get dozens more helpful worksheets in The Complete Guide to B2B Marketing. Download the e-book now by clicking the banner below.