Although social media marketing was already an essential topic in the minds of many SMEs, the dynamics around the issue increased again significantly during the Corona crisis. The pandemic has completely paralyzed many areas. Company trade fairs, which are still an essential factor for many companies, were canceled. In addition, there were additional budgets that could be saved in the “offline” area. So, where do you go with all the dedicated resources? For many SMEs, the answer to this was the sub-discipline of social media.
Decision-makers and executives gradually realize the importance of social media for their companies. It is no longer just any contributions that are “unloaded” here. Social media have long been an instrument that can also improve communication with existing and potential new customers. This can lead to new customers and, in the best case, also increases customer loyalty. So, all in all, a simple decision is “pro” social media, right?
For some, not quite yet! Because one area is challenging for many in this context: the definition of practical social media goals. Suppose large parts of the saved budget are really to be invested in social media marketing. In that case, it must be possible for the decision-makers to foresee whether the commitment will pay off.
The “good gut feeling,” which usually arises at the beginning of one’s activities, is not sufficient in the long term as a basis for decision-making. Therefore, in this article, we would like to look at the most common questions from SMEs in practice and help define practical social media goals. Goals that are tailored to your own company, its target groups, and, above all, its overarching strategy.
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“Soft” And “Hard” Social Media Goals – Which Are The Right Ones?
Defining goals for your social media marketing shouldn’t be that complicated! Why do so many SMEs still struggle with this topic? In our experience and conversations, the reason for this lies primarily in one area. When defining goals, “soft” and “hard” factors are regularly lumped together.” Soft goals in this context are social media goals that are more difficult to grasp and therefore more difficult to measure.
These include, for example, goals such as giving the company a “face,” building a brand or even promoting your employer branding. Don’t get it wrong: these goals are worth striving for and should also be part of your goal definition. To measure this in the short term is usually an impossibility. If you don’t have a lot of staying power in social media marketing – which is rarely the case – you will quickly conclude that this sub-discipline of marketing does not make sense either. After all, your own goals will not be achieved!.
Conversely, “hard” goals are all goals that can be measured without any problems. For example, the conversions in a Facebook campaign. But also the range of your posts or the number of “likes.” Anyone who wants to measure these numbers can do so. However, the success is only visible if the figures are put in the appropriate context. After all, it can look positive if your reach increases continuously or the number of “page likes” increases, but what do these numbers say in concrete terms about achieving the goals? Are you rowing in the right direction with this jumble of numbers?
And above all: do I have to choose either “soft” or “hard” social media marketing goals? Of course not! Before defining specific goals in the direction of “faster, better and, above all, MORE,” time should first be taken to understand the different types of plans. Once you have examined them in detail, both categories can be successfully combined, and practical social media goals can be defined!
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Tips And Tricks When Defining Goals – This Is How The Right Goals Are Found
The supposedly most crucial tip for defining your own goals is to choose the social media goals that match the measures that have been described. Are the target conversions, for example, leads or sales, to be generated? In this context, the return on investment or return on ad spend should primarily be measured. After all, this is about “hard” factors that not only can but should also be measured.
On the other hand, it becomes more difficult with “soft” goals. Our recommendation is to find here plans here that suit your own company, but above all, the phase of your own social media strategy. For a team just starting on social media, it makes little sense to measure the number of “likes.” In any case, these rarely meet your expectations in the first phase. So if you only start from these measured values, you will come to the wrong conclusions in the worst case. In these cases, it makes sense to focus on goals that you have control and can influence, like your own continuity.
For example, the focus could be publishing a post at least twice a week in the first six months. Reply to comments within 1 hour. If these goals are achieved – and the first phase is overcome – this builds self-confidence and generally enables more incredible successes in social media marketing to be celebrated later. Far too often, one’s own social media marketing is “pulped” because wrongly set goals cannot be achieved.
However, it is often forgotten that every form of social media activity serves a specific purpose. But rarely several or even all at once. Organic contributions help to build a community and brand, but they cannot be used as conversion parameters on top of that. There are particular formats for this, which in turn have to be measured with other parameters.
Decisive Factors For Measuring Your Success
Although social media marketing can be successful in many ways, success depends primarily on measuring it. This should not only be adapted to your wishes but also your measures. Social media goals can and should be as individual as the company itself. An e-commerce company wants to achieve the best possible ROI with its measures. In addition, the organic contributions should help to create a community with a high level of interaction.
On top of that, your own social media presence can effectively help improve customer service. If the goals and related measures are in the latter area, then it must be clear that other parameters must be set here than with conversion-driven campaigns. Corresponding KPIs should be defined here. The longer you think about “how” you can define social media goals, the more apparent another problem in this area becomes: namely the so-called “Analysis Paralysis.” So much is analyzed here that your activities come to a complete standstill. And why not? After all, so many numbers can be measured in social media marketing. However, that does not mean that everything has to be counted here.
Because especially at the beginning, when your followers are hardly available, and the interaction is correspondingly low, such measurements are as good as irrelevant. Instead, the focus should be on your team, the published contributions, the number of comments, and the structure of internal processes. These things, too, can not only be measured but also have a more significant influence on subsequent success than tons of pie and bar charts, which say nothing.
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Social Media Goals Should Be Individually Tailored And Suit Your Own Company!
Defining social media goals is not rocket science. But as a team, you first have to be clear about which values are worth measuring at all. If, for example, we define reach, page likes, or even conversions as key performance indicators, how do these values advance our company? Are we getting measurably closer to our real goals? Or are we moving in the area of ”gut feeling marketing” despite the plans? If the latter is the case, this could indicate that we still have to adjust our goals with the team.
And please: no “copy & paste” target definitions! Under certain circumstances, nothing is more harmful to your social media marketing. A “one fits all” solution is only available in the rarest of cases. Copying your own social media goals from a company with a larger team and a larger budget rarely makes sense. Here you can get inspiration, but in the end, you should find goals that are tailored to your own company.
Because one thing is clear: whenever goals are unattainable or meaningless, the motivation in your team quickly decreases! If you want to avoid this, you should approach this topic seriously right from the start and carefully examine the internal processes. As a team, social media goals can then be formulated that are measurable, realistic, and the achievement of which, especially at the beginning, depends mainly on one’s actions.