Determine Your Objective and Track Goals That Align to Your Business
Ask yourself, why is your business on social media? Sometimes social media feels like a popularity contest to a lot of creatives. They focus on how many likes, comments or shares their recent post got. But if those likes are not coming from people who align with their ideal customer, then the metrics that come with them don’t matter. Instead, think about what social media can help your business achieve. Perhaps it’s a customer who understands the value of your service more. Maybe it’s more of a sense of community with your potential customer base.
Once you understand what your overall purpose for being on social media is, and you know who your ideal customer is, you need not worry about what’s popular or trending on social media. Now it’s more important to think about what your marketing goals are and how they translate into your objectives.
Your goals also need to align with the S.M.A.R.T goals framework by being:
Making sure all of your social media goals fall within this framework helps keep you accountable to your business’ bottom line.
Ask yourself what your goals will be and what metrics you will want to track through social media. Keep in mind, many brands use social media to help increase awareness and interest. That’s because social media is not an intent-based channel. What that means is that people are on social media for those three things we talked about before: education, inspiration, and connection. They aren’t shopping on social media. So, while not impossible, it is more difficult to generate leads and bookings directly with social media.
If you use social media for awareness and interest, here’s an example objective and goal you might set for your business:
My objective for being on social media is to connect with potential customers and inspire them with beautiful photography. To achieve this, my goal is to grow my audience by 500 followers this month. I will also study which posts get the most engagement and look for similar content to continue inspiring and growing my audience.
With this in mind, there are several social media metrics that marketers and business owners should think about. Think back on the customer journey and the A.I.D.A. model we outlined in our digital marketing strategy article. The various metrics we will want to measure fall into Awareness, Interest, Decision and Action. Remember: likes, comments and shares are wonderful, but unless they are tied to helping prospective customers move closer to the Decision and Action phases, they are just vanity metrics.
Here’s a quick snapshot of some metrics you can measure during each phase:
- Brand awareness
- Audience growth
- Post reach
- Engagement rate (likes, comments, shares)
- Website click-through rate
- Conversions (often, a contact form fill)
- Conversion rate
Don’t worry if you’re unsure how to measure all of these metrics. We will do a deep dive into social media analytics in a future article. For now, just ask yourself what your overall objective is with social media, what goals you will set, and what metrics you can use to measure the success of each.
Audit Your Current Social Media
It’s important to evaluate what you’re doing on social media and how effective it is. Ask yourself a few questions:
- What has been working for you on each channel you’re active on?
- To help you identify this, look at your top three recent posts and see if you can identify any kind of patterns. Is there a similar content type or were they all posted at specific times of day?
- What hasn’t been working?
- Similarly, look at what patterns you can identify in your worst performing content in the same time range.
- Who has been connecting with you on your social media channels? If it’s not your target market, ask yourself the following questions:
- Are your ideal clients using the social media platforms you’re on?
- If they are, how are they using this platform?
- Can you use this platform to achieve your business goals?
- How does what you’re doing on social media compare to what your competitors are doing?
Research the Competition
If you’re living in a market that’s saturated, then you already know there’s competition out there. And researching those competitors is a fantastic way to see what is and what isn’t working with your target market. In both cases, look to see what you can improve upon. By looking at what your competitors are doing, you’ll see where the opportunities are.
For example, perhaps they spend most of their time engaging with their audience on Facebook but rarely update their Instagram. As long as you know your audience is underserved on Instagram, you’ll know it’s a good place to invest your effort. This doesn’t mean you won’t spend efforts on Facebook either, but you’ll know you have the potential to have a great impact elsewhere too.
Just as you’ll want to be looking at your own posts to see what resonates and what doesn’t, keep an eye on what your audience engages with on your competitors’ pages. If a post is doing well, dig into the comments and see if there’s a reason. Conversely, if post falls flat, is there a reason that you can identify? In both cases, make a note of these things and adjust your social media content plan accordingly.
Define Which Channels You Will Use and How
Remember how we talked about cross-posting? Here is where we will determine what the purpose of each channel will be. It’s a good idea to create a mission statement for each channel so you remain clear why you’re on that channel and what your goals are.
For example, if your business is focused on senior photography, you may decide that Instagram is where you will display your best portfolio images, Snapchat is where you will showcase behind-the-scenes glimpses of how amazing your shoots are, and Facebook is where you will engage with parents.
With this model, you’ll note that the teenager might be the person you engage with in the Awareness and Interest stages, but there’s likely a handoff to the parent in the Decision and Action stage. The parents will have different questions and content needs than the teenager, so the social content mix will be different.
Even if the decision maker differs from your ideal customer, making sure that your channels have a consistent voice, tone and style is very important. You want to make sure that followers know what to expect from your brand, no matter what channel they follow you on.