A successful social media strategy is largely centered on setting (and meeting) goals. Without them, you’re pretty much working without a strategy, and you won’t get very far with that.
Choosing and implementing your goals is a process, but it doesn’t have to be a complicated, difficult process. In fact, the simpler you make it, the more likely you’ll stick with it.
Still, you will need to put time and effort into setting and meeting goals. Here are 5 simple ways to create and meet the goals of your social media strategy.
1. Brainstorm Your Goals
A good old brainstorming session, by yourself or with your business partner(s). And by old fashioned, we mean get out a pen and paper and starting writing things down.
Start with your idea of social media success. Don’t just think it terms of number of followers (and important factor, but not the real big picture), think in terms of your influence in the industry, which will positively impact both your sales and your follower count.
How will you know when you’ve reached the level of influence you’re striving for? Make a list of possible indicators:
- The average number of shares on your content is (10? 100? 1,000?– it will depend on your industry and the target of your posts, but you should strive for at least double digits. If you’re currently struggling to get a half dozen shares, you need to step up your game, but set a reachable goal at first (say, 25 shares) and increase it as you grow.
- You have followers who are well-known in the industry. Always follow your industry peers back, whether they’re bigwigs or not.
- People come to you for advice. It’s one thing to put out great content, but when people start coming to you for help because they know you know what you’re talking about, you’re an influencer.Whenever possible, answer questions from followers publicly, either on your blog or on social media. When other people see that you happily accept questions, they’re more likely to ask themselves, further building your expert reputation.
Finally, make a list of the things you can do to help get you to that level. Things like:
- Creating content about topics that will help to establish you as an expert. Be as specific as possible. What can you offer that goes above and beyond what’s currently out there in the field? What unique angles can you take?
- Taking the initiative to interact with people in your industry on social media.
- Making your posts visually appealing by using a tool like Canva to make graphics.
- Offering specials such as discount codes and freebies like mini-ebooks that bring people to your website to sign up for your newsletter.
You should brainstorm periodically to come up with new,, fresh ideas.
2. Make a Plan
Once you’ve done enough brainstorming to have a good basis for your plan of action, open up a spreadsheet and start organizing.
This is where you take your ideas and turn them into scheduled actions. So, if you’ve decided during brainstorm that you should be releasing two new pieces of expert content a week, this is where you decide the details:
- When will you post them? Don’t think just about the day of the week, which should be consistent week to week, but the time of day your followers are most likely to like and retweet/share. (It may take a few weeks of action to determine the best times, so start with varied test timeslots. For example, 10 am on Monday and 3 pm on Thursday.)
- Will you write your articles throughout the week, or will you do your content for the week all at once at a specified time?
- What will you write? Create working headlines for the next four weeks of content.
- When will you create the graphics? As you write the content or when the article is ready to post?
- Will your blog posts be automatically posted to social media, or will you post them manually with a short message.
- Do you plan to use a social media management program like HootSuite? When do you plan to utilize it? During the work day? Will you schedule posts after hours?
- Where will you find other content, such as outside articles to share and motivational quotes?
- When will you designate time to interact with people on social media? Will you do it daily? Several times a week? As people interact with you?
3. Get Feedback
Even if you have a business partner to create a marketing strategy with, it’s always a good idea to get some outside, objective input. Preferably from someone with more experience in business and marketing than you.
Possibilities might include:
- A former classmate who you keep in touch with
- An industry colleague
- A private industry forum on Linkedin
Remember, you want objective feedback, so look beyond your spouse, close friends, or a parent, unless they are themselves experienced in marketing.
If you receive critical feedback, listen and consider adjusting your plan. Maybe you are being too ambitious with your weekly goal and should start out slower and build your quantity of content more gradually.
4. Give Yourself Deadlines
Deadlines go beyond scheduling a certain amount of tasks per week. They set and end date for your goals, and that motivates you to get it done.
So, say you want to have 50 new pieces of evergreen content that you can share and re-share between your new content features. Break it down into batches of 5 or 10, and give each batch a deadline. These deadlines will motivate you to finish the posts in a timely manner, and will serve a milestones.
Making smaller deadlines is more effective than making one big (vague) deadline like “I want to create 50 pieces of evergreen content between now and the end of the year.” Chances are, by November you’ll be so far behind your goal you’ll just extend it indefinitely.
Take your self-assigned deadlines as seriously as one assigned to you by a client. Add them to your calendar, set reminders, and make time to meet them.
5. Set a Stretch Goal
Setting goals that you know are attainable are important, and your immediate goals should be things you know you can manage.
But you should also set at least one goal that takes you out of your comfort zone. Something that pushes what you think is realistic. These goals are called stretch goals, and they can be very useful, because they force you to push beyond what you think is possible.
An example of a stretch goal is to honored with your industry’s highest award, or to create something so groundbreaking that it changes the face of technology (or even the way people live day-to-day).
You can’t just want things like that. You have to push yourself to be the best. In most industries, rising to the top is incredibly competitive, with major players already in place.
But remember, all of those major players were at the bottom once.
The purpose of having a stretch goal isn’t necessarily that you have to meet it, like your smaller goals. Maybe you will, and that’s great!
But even if you don’t, keeping your eye on a long-term, difficult-to-attain goal will motivate you to be the best. And your business can only benefit from that.
Social media success isn’t easy, but you have a good plan and make it stick, your hard work can pay off.
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