Social Marketing Success Starts with Setting Goals

Are you seeing the results you hoped for from your social media marketing efforts?

Are you having trouble measuring your social marketing ROI (return on investment)?

In this article, I’ll explain why so many people answer “no” to the questions above and I’ll offer strategies you can take to avoid this frustration.

Set Your Goals

One of the first questions I ask clients is “What are your social media goals?” and “What are your objectives?”.

Most of the time the answers I get are “I don’t know” or “we haven’t thought about it.”

Many people are so focused on just doing social that they forget to think strategically about why they are doing it or what they want to achieve.

Without setting goals for what you want to achieve, you have a limited number of opportunities to measure how effective your strategies are. I find many people are strictly focused on how many fans and followers they have. Fan and followers to your various social accounts are important, but numbers alone are not the most important goal you should be focused on.

If I could get 10,000 fans to your page, that might make you happy. But if I told you they were all located in the Philippines, Russia or India, while your target market was Toronto, Canada, that would not help you at all. You’re not likely to get any sales generated from this market if you have a local-focused business in Toronto, as one example.

Don’t get me wrong, having quality fans and followers is important. But, I emphasize QUALITY.

One of most important goals you should have is to attract a fanbase that’s interested in your products or services, are in your target market, and who are willing and able to engage with you.

Notice another important aspect that makes social media marketing….well….social – engagement. The first thing you need is an audience. You need to work on building that audience and this will take time and effort.

How do you find the audience? Start by trying to define your target market.
Where do they live? How old are they? What are their interests or what additional interests are related to your product or service?

Here is an example. Let’s say you run a small local coffee shop. Who is your target market (audience)? They are likely people that live within 5-10 KM of your location(s). Age range is likely pretty broad, let’s say 16 – 65+. You know they like coffee, tea, espresso, hot chocolate and likely small pastries. You can also consider what people do in a coffee shop – talk, socialize, read the paper, work, etc.

This is just a start but doing an exercise like this will help you figure out not only what interests your audience and how to target their interests, but also what content you can share on social media posts to get them to notice, participate, and engage with you.

How does this relate to your goals? Again it’s important to think about ways you can measure results of your social media efforts.

If measuring the number of followers is not enough, think about measuring growth of engagement on posts. How many comments, likes, and shares do you get? What type of posts are of most interest to your audience? How frequently do you need to post to get more engagement or “reach” (defined as the number of people in your audience that actually see your posts).

So let’s circle back to the important question that I think you should review every 30 days: What are your social media marketing goals?

Think about what you want to accomplish. Be specific.

Here are some additional questions that can assist you in setting specific and measurable goals for your social media initiatives:

Do you want to attract a certain amount of new fans? How many did you attract last month? How many will you attract this month?

Do you want to increase the amount of likes, comments and shares to your various posts? How many on average per post? What can you do to encourage fans and followers to engage with you?

Do you want to collect email addresses from a promotional campaign you are running? How many email addresses will you collect this month?

Do you want to attract website traffic? How much traffic came from your social accounts last month? How much of an increase in website traffic do you want to achieve this month?

Do you want to attract sales for a specific promotion you are running? How are you going to track sales from social specifically?

Are you trying to build engagement on a specific social platform? If yes, what are you going to do to attract more users to that account?

These are just some questions that I commonly ask my clients to help establish specific, measurable, 30 day goals. There are many different components to consider with your social marketing efforts. It’s key to think about what’s most important based on other marketing initiatives you may have for your organization.

Once you have your goals set, you can next look at what you can do to help achieve these goals. You can also start to consider how your post calendar needs to include focused content and topics to help you meet or exceed your goals.

Once you have your goals, strategy and content calendar organized, you’ll have something to track over the next 30 days. You can then review and evaluate what strategies worked and what changes you need to make in the next 30 days.

If setting goals and tracking results is something you struggle with I’d recommend considering contacting a social media expert. Look for someone who is able to understand your business and able to work with you one-on-one or in a group setting to help you to set realistic goals and strategize ways to meet those goals.

I hope this blog post has helped you consider other components of your strategy that you may want to focus on. If you have specific strategies that have worked for your organization, I’d be happy to hear your ideas in the comments below.

Is Google+ Useful or a Waste of Time?

It’s always a question I get asked. What social media platforms should I be using? More recently, I’ve had numerous clients and prospects asking “What do you think about Google+? Is it worth it, or a waste of time?

My take on the social platform

Let me start with a statement I say to EVERY client I speak with: It’s best to pick the one or two platforms that will net you the best ROI for your efforts. Focus on those first, then branch out. That said, is Google+ one of the first you should focus on? In my opinion – no. That leads to the second question – is it worth the time and effort? Can it help my business? Does it help with SEO?

I’ll attempt to answer those questions in this blog post.
This article won’t cover the features of Google+, some of which are great. It is meant to point out if it’s RIGHT for some businesses.

Google+ started with buzz, like many other Google products. People liked some features of it that made it unique, like the concept of “circles” instead of followers and it’s tie with other Google tools. People were also attracted to the clean user interface. What was lacking, and still is, is the dedicated audience. The social platforms that excel are those that people use. What’s the point of spending your time in a space where people don’t interact or view what you are posting?

Over the past few years, Google has attempted to further enhance the platform with numerous changes: layout redesigns, feature changes and more….but is it enough?

The good and bad about Google+

Some user stats about Google+ include:

74% male
55% users are from US
4% from Canada

There are discrepancies on the user base of Google+ and some say it’s about 9% of Google’s overall use based (under 200 million).

Are numbers important? Not always.
If you have a small base, but that base is highly engaging or effectively serving your goals – then great – the platform can work for you. But if you are posting and posting, with no interaction or traffic from the platform….is it working for you?

BUT consider that Google+ still has a strong tie to getting found for search results. Every bit of activity that you do on Google+ awards you points, increasing your SEO value. User-created content on Google+ is indexed for search, unlike other social media platforms, where privacy concerns win over the indexing process.

My take on all of this – focus on where your audience is.
Facebook is still one of the largest used social platforms and Instagram and SnapChat are both booming. LinkedIn is still the B2B powerhouse and while some like Twitter and some don’t, it isn’t going away.

Focus your time where your audience is. If a specific platform isn’t driving traffic, isn’t getting engagement, isn’t helping you promote your products and service, isn’t where your voice will be heard, don’t waste your time. Find the right place and play there.

What’s your opinion? I’d love to hear your experience with this platform and how you use it. Share your comments below.

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