Step 1½ : Are Your Goals SMART?
This week we are talking about social media strategy. The first step we spoke about was defining and documenting the goals for your social media efforts. Before you can walk into any marketing or advertising effort, you have to know what you are hoping to get out of it, and you can’t do that without setting goals.
I would like to propose a half step. Many clients, when told to come up with goals, quickly shout out a few very general goals. Others set goals that are impossible to attain. Today, we are going to talk about how to evaluate those goals to make sure that they are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based) according to Paul J. Meyer (in Attitude is Everything).
A goal must be specific. It must be clear and unambiguous. If your goal is to build an online fan base, where will that fan base be? Is it on Facebook or Twitter or somewhere else? Should the fan base have qualifying factors? For example do you want that fan base to consist of a specific demographic?
Next, a goal must be measurable. Building an online fan base is an easily measurable goal. I want to build a Facebook following of more than 1,000 people from the United States. This goal is now specific and measurable. We can see (and measure) our progress toward the goal during the campaign.
A goal must be achievable. We can set a goal to build a fan base of 35 million Facebook followers (like that of Oreo), but if we are a local pizzeria, that is highly improbable and most likely unachievable. When setting a goal, I always favor setting achievable and realistic goals, attaining them, and then setting new goals. It promotes a sense of accomplishment and allows you to adjust your goals more often. These adjustments will often lead to reaching a better outcome than a single lofty goal. For example, assuming our 1,000-follower goal is in a year, start with 250 followers in the first quarter. Then if it was easy to accomplish, maybe 300 in Q2. If that worked, try another 300 or maybe 350 in Q3. As you can see, by then end of Q4, you could have a lot more than 1,000 followers.
Next, a goal must be relevant. A relevant social media goal is one that advances the overall goals of the organization. It must drive the organization forward. Attaining the goal must mean there is a benefit. If there is no benefit from attaining the goal, it is not relevant.
Finally a goal must be time-bound. I alluded to this in the attainable discussion, but a goal must have concrete timelines associated with it. I would like to build a US fan base on Facebook of 1,000 followers in the next 12 months. I would like to drive $10,000 in revenue with a source of social media by the end of the second quarter. To create a goal is powerful. But when there is no timeframe associated with it, it is useless.
I dedicated two days of my blog to setting social media goals because I think it is something of critical importance that often goes neglected. Setting goals for your social media campaign or efforts is necessary to both judge your effort’s effectiveness and determine future investments.
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