There is absolutely nothing new about the importance of goal-setting and not just in marketing, digital or otherwise.  It is, however, probably fair to say that it’s going to take on a whole new level of significance over the immediate future, which means that some companies, especially micro-businesses, may need to get a whole lot more astute at it.  With that in mind, here are some tips.

Astute versus SMART

Hopefully, by now, businesses of all sizes have already grasped the fact that in some aspects of business marketing they need to set Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic Targets.  The challenge is deciding what targets to set and how to measure them.  That’s where being astute comes in.  Astute goal-setting aligns your social-media targets with your business objectives, so the end effect is that you are measuring how your social media presence contributes to the overall performance of your business.

Start with the why

In principle, the “why” of social media is fairly straightforward.  It’s a place to build relationships.  Quite bluntly, however, in and of themselves, relationships do not contribute to your bottom line.  In financial terms, i.e. the ones which see your staff and suppliers (and owners/shareholders) and bills all paid, relationships only matter if they contribute to your success.  This means you need to be able to monetise them in some way. 

It’s becoming increasingly important to keep this reality in mind because social media is a place where everyone has an opinion and is quite capable of expressing this opinion.  This is how it should be, but it does very much put the onus on you to make sure that you are listening to the opinion of your customers, or people who might feasibly become your customers, as opposed to people who want you to run your company in a way which fits their values but will still be highly unlikely to buy your products no matter how hard you work to please them.

Bearing in mind current events, it’s also a place where you can be made or broken. You only have to see how companies either for or disinterested in BLM are the focus of attention.

Go on to the how and where

The pragmatic approach is to think about what you can do before you develop a plan for what you will do and then look at what criteria you will use to measure the success of this plan.

You need to be very realistic about the fact that creating high-quality social-media content requires time and/or money (usually) and so think realistically about your resources and build your social media strategy around them.

Be very careful about jumping on the video bandwagon. Videos can be great but they are also extremely resource-intensive, for which read expensive (unless your brand works well with the “iPhone” type videos of team members, but these still take time to get right). Still images and text (written or spoken) are easier to create and demand less bandwidth to consume which may become a very important factor in the not-too-distant future. Even though broadband is becoming broader all the time, there are already concerns about how much of it is gobbled up by streaming videos (and games).

Putting all this together should lead you to the what and then the how

Once you have thought through all of this, it will probably be relatively straightforward to work out what you need to measure and often the how will flow naturally out of this.  For example, if your goal is to make extra sales via special offers promoted on your social media platform, then you would probably just measure the percentage of times these offers resulted in sales. Using s[ecific codes is a good way to track this.

If you find yourself in a situation where the how does not immediately present itself, then you need to think through the steps you predict will get you from A to B, in other words, from your social media content to your end goal.  Then you can measure the percentage of people who make their way from one point to the next along this path.

Make sure that you are regularly checking your analytics to see how your social media and your website is performing. The old adage “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink” is very true here, if you’re getting a lot of traffic to your site but none are hitting the buy now/contact us button then it will be worth giving your website an overhaul. If you’re making it hard for your customers to buy from you or find what they’re looking for, then the best social media content in the world won’t help bring you business.

If you’d like more help and advice, please contact us.