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How To Set Goals and Measure Success on Social Media

How to set goals and measure success on social media marketing

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What’s the goal of your social media marketing strategy?

This is a question that many small business owners struggle to define.

One of the reasons why social media marketing is so great is because of its flexibility. It has the ability to accomplish a wide variety of goals that can have a significant impact on your business. However, to get the most out of social media, you really need to focus on your #1 goal and adjust your strategy accordingly.

So what are some of the common goals of social media marketing? How do you measure these goals? Are they all good things to focus on?

The answers might surprise you.

1. Follower Count

This is one of the most common goals that people set for themselves on social media. To many people, follower count is a good measure as to the success of their social media strategy as they see the overall growth of their community gain speed.

While this is certainly one metric that you should be looking for to understand overall success, it should never (I repeat NEVER) be your social media strategy’s primary goal. Why? Because it really doesn’t mean anything.

What do I mean by that? I mean that a page or account with a high follower count might actually perform worse than an account with a much lower one. At the end of the day, it’s not about the number of followers you have, but the number of ENGAGED followers you have. While it is nice to have a big number, having a smaller community that is truly interested in your products and services is far more important and will lead to more success.

Another reason follower count is not a good way to judge social media success is that it can be easily faked. There are many black hat methods out there that can have you grow by thousands of followers overnight if you wanted. Because of this, follower count just continues to be a metric that becomes empty without anything else.

Long story short – don’t focus too much on your follower count. While it can be a nice secondary goal, don’t make it your sole focus!

2. Reach/Impressions

Reach and Impressions are other common goals that many people focus on when it comes to their social media strategy.

Reach is defined as the number of people that see your content. For example, if you have a reach of 20, 20 individual people have seen your content.

Impressions is defined as the number of times that a piece of content is seen. Using the same example, if each of those 20 people saw your post twice each, you would have 40 impressions. It’s important to note that an individual person only accounts for one reach, but can account for multiple impressions. This explains why impressions are generally higher than reach.

While this might seem like a good metric to focus on, it’s really an example of another secondary goal for your strategy. The reason for this is that reach and impressions themselves might not mean anything. If you can get your message in front of a lot of people but that message really isn’t all that impactful, then it really doesn’t mean a lot. Sure, there is something to be said about just getting people used to seeing your content, logo, and message to gain a little bit of familiarity, but you are really leaving a lot of opportunity on the table if you make this your main focus.

3. Engagement

Let’s get into the good stuff!

Engagement should almost always be your #1 goal on social media. In 90% of cases, this is what our social media strategies focus on and how we measure success when working with our clients.

At the end of the day, engagement is really what social media is all about. Social media is supposed to be a place to connect with your community, learn about them, and have conversations with them. All of these are accomplished by focusing on engagement.

What’s nice about focusing on engagement is that it actually helps you accomplish the first 2 goals in this post: Page Likes and Reach/Impressions. By having highly engaging content, you are going to get more organic reach and impressions because your post is going to be favored more in Facebook’s algorithm. And because you are getting more reach and impressions, you are more likely to gain new followers that are going to be a bigger part of your community.

Engagement can come in many forms (the most common form of engagement is likes, comments, and shares) and some engagement is more important than others. For example, a comment is going to always be a more valued engagement than a like and a share is going to be more valued than a comment. However, it is important to know that all engagement is valuable and focusing on getting more of it, no matter what form is going to help your overall social media strategy.

So, how do you get more engagement?

You ask for it.

Yup, it’s that easy! Whether it is asking people to vote on their favorite ice cream flavor or tell you their biggest pet peeve while driving, asking people to engage with your content will always get more engagement. This is because people WANT to use social media in the way it was intended and be social.

4. Sales

The final goal that many people focus on is sales and leads. And we get it… You want your marketing to have some kind of measurable ROI to make sure it is worth the time and money that you might be putting into it. But is this a good way to measure social media success? Yes and No.

Let’s start with the yes.

Social media can still be a way to generate a lot of sales for your business. The use of organic social media can definitely influence relationships that can grow into long-term sales and infusing paid advertising into that strategy can make it much easier for eCommerce brands to make a lot of sales really quickly.

But here’s the no.

The reason why sales might not be the best goal for your social media strategy is the fact that it is nearly impossible to track. While there are ways for you to figure out if a lead came from social media (like Google Analytics, Google Voice Phone Number, and UTM codes) it is a very complex process and there are a lot of opportunities for a sale or lead to get lost in the shuffle.

Now, if you are using paid advertising, this tracking can be a lot easier using the Facebook Pixel, but a new iOS update might make that obsolete as well.

What it really comes down to, is having the right expectations. Trying to generate sales on social media certainly can be accomplished and can be a goal that you want to focus on, but you can’t expect sales to come overnight, especially if you are not going to use any paid advertising.

To wrap it up, there are a lot of things you can accomplish through social media marketing. While you might be tempted to focus on things like follower count and reach, those metrics can often leave you feeling disappointed with the actual impact they have on your business. By focusing on engagement, you can still accomplish growth in those other areas, while having a bigger impact on your overall business.

When it comes to sales, it can certainly be accomplished, but making sure you set the right expectations is key to accomplishing your goals!

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