Do you suffer from pie in the sky delusions when it comes to setting goals for your social media marketing campaign? Or perhaps, you have the opposite problem and you are experiencing difficulty in setting any goals at all. Whether you are dreaming of having one million followers or fans, or you are experiencing trouble in articulating your goals, the importance of having a strategy in placing for setting social media marketing campaign goals cannot be denied. With a solid strategy in place, you will be able to establish realistic goals, determine how you are going to reach those goals, and be able to measure when those goals have been attained.

Specificity Leads to Social Media Success

Begin by setting specific goals. Far too often, many brands make the mistake of being too generic when establishing social media marketing goals. Do not set a goal of simply wanting to grow your fan or follower base. If that were the goal, you could reasonably say that you have met your goal after adding just one fan or follower. The more specific you can be about your goals, the easier it will be to recognize what needs to be accomplished. Along with being specific, it is also important that you are clear about what it is that you wish to accomplish. There should be no room for ambiguity in your goals. If you do not set clear, specific goals, it will be impossible to measure your activities in an effective manner, nor will you be able to understand what actually denotes success.

Can You Actually Reach that Goal?

Along with understanding what you need to accomplish, you also need to have a system in place for measuring your progress and understanding when you have achieved that goal.

Consider whether the goal you have set is actually attainable or realistic. While it might sound great to have a million fans or followers, consider whether that goal is realistic. Setting unrealistic goals will only cause you to be set up for failure and disappointment. Make a point of establishing goals that you can realistically meet. For instance: to grow your fan or follower base by 20 percent.

Hold Yourself Accountable with Timelines

Make sure you provide yourself with a deadline for meeting your goal. Using the example above, while it would be great to grow your fan or follower base by 20 percent, if you leave that goal open ended, your growth could easily become stunted. Establish a deadline to which you are held accountable for meeting your goal, such as to grow your fan or follower base by 20 percent in six months.

Keep in mind that when establishing goals for your social media marketing campaigns, the goals you set can vary based on your company’s mission. Additionally, your goals will likely change as your brand’s influence and recognition grow.

Categorizing your Social Media Marketing Goals

In developing goals for your brand, you might find it helpful to break those goals down into categories. CMS Wire recommends breaking social media marketing goals into four categories:

Audience-building goals

    • Activity-based goals
    • ROI goals
    • Engagement goals

The social media marketing goals that you establish will also likely vary based on the specific channels you opt to use. Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest are all quite different. In setting goals for Twitter, you might focus on such areas as increasing engagement rate, tweet frequency, retweets, follower growth, etc. Facebook goals, by comparison, could be quite different and might look more like this: to increase engagement, reach, or page likes. Since brands do not have profiles on Pinterest as they do on Facebook or Twitter, your goals on this type of social media marketing channel will naturally be much different. Even so, that does not mean that you should not set goals. A solid goal for a channel such as Pinterest or Instagram might be to increase shares.

Leveraging Past Stats

If you find that you are experiencing difficulty in determining which types of goals you should set, try pulling some past stats or analytics so that you will know what you have accomplished previously. Breaking down those stats in terms of average monthly traffic and the percentage of traffic that came from various sources can give you an idea of where you can make improvement and gives you a good starting place for setting goals.

It’s Not all Pass/Fail

Setting goals for social media marketing is not completely about whether you did or did not meet a goal. The main idea is to continue improving. Too often, it is easy to feel as though you may have failed if you did not meet a specific goal. When that happens, you may feel discouraged. Rather than becoming caught up in the fact that you failed to meet the goal you set, take some time to review and analyze for future improvement. For instance, consider what you could have done differently and what could potentially work better. At the same time, avoid the temptation to focus solely on what did not work. It is also important to look at what did work well.

Remember that the only way to know what is going to work for your brand is to explore and give various strategies a try. This means testing, tracking your activities, and then making changes to your social media marketing activities so that you can make improvements moving forward.

Regardless of how many goals and the various types of goals that you set for your social media marketing strategy, the bottom line is the big picture. At the end of the day, keep in mind that your social media marketing campaign is not just about attracting more followers or fans or even increasing your number of shares or tweets. Instead, it’s about creating a conversation around your brand that will resonate with your target audience.