Goals are important. They are what drive us and give direction. Goals help us lose weight, get fit, finish household chores, climb mountains, buy houses, ask that special someone out on a date, have kids, work harder so we can make more money to buy and do the things we want, etc.

In business, goals are what drive all levels and sizes of organizations. We have sales goals, marketing goals, awareness goals, advertising goals, recruiting goals, financial goals, career goals. You name it—if it’s worth doing, there’s probably some goal attached to it.

So why do so many business owners and managers NOT have specific goals when it comes to their social media? The medium is no longer too new (as it was for many 5 to 7 years ago), but it may be too misunderstood or undervalued by some to make it onto their goal-setting radar.

Books have been written about the merits of social media and whether it adds value to our lives or not. I’m not here to debate whether social media is right for you personally, but I am here to weigh in on whether it’s right for your business. Chances are it is, at least in some form. Why? Because your customers most likely expect you to have some level of social media presence and interaction.

After all, businesses must engage prospects and customers where they consume information for work and for pleasure. If you’re not there (on social media) but they are, you could be (and most likely are) missing out.

Social Media – a Valuable Part of Your Marketing Mix

In my experience, while business leaders realize social media can be a valuable part of their marketing, they don’t understand it well enough to know how to leverage it best. It’s something they see their kids or the youngsters in the office doing, or they know it only as it pertains to sharing vacation photos or pics from the company party.

Social media is more than just posting an update to Facebook or Instagram or sending out a daily Tweet (if it’s still called that now that we’ve moved on to “X”). To be successful, social media efforts need to be part of an overall marketing strategy for leveraging useful content about a company’s brand through blogs, articles, brochures, videos, web sites, etc. for maximum impact across multiple channels.

Companies with successful social media efforts know the place to start is by setting goals. After all, if they don’t know what they’re trying to accomplish with social media, they may not like where they end up or even realize when they’ve arrived.

Goals require benchmarking of where you are now, forward thinking around where you’d like to be and by when, a strategy for getting there, and measurements to ensure progress and the ability to refine and refocus efforts as needed along the way.

What Should My Goals Look Like?

So how many tweets is enough tweets? How many “likes” is enough. How many connections in your network represents success? What’s realistic . . . and how long does it take?

While there’s certainly something to be said for achieving a certain critical mass when it comes to raw audience and activity numbers (generally, the bigger the audience, the more activity, and the greater the likelihood of some kind of response), quantity isn’t the only measure of social media success. The quality of your audience is critical as well. In other words, you want social media connections who have a genuine interest in your brand/product, not just raw numbers that make you feel good.

That said, there is no hard and fast rule around numbers and activity levels and timeframes. That’s why we not only set social media goals, but we track them to see how our activities are (or aren’t) translating into business success.

Most rules of thumb say it takes 3 to 6 months to begin seeing real returns on social media efforts (my experience is that for some it can take less time, while for others, positive results can take longer). Some companies fare best with daily engagement, while others do well with weekly or intermittent activity. For all, however, it’s the quality of the engagement that’s most important.

Consumers are savvy these days. They want valuable content from the companies they buy from (or might buy from)—high quality content they can use in their everyday lives at home, at work, or on the go, to solve a particular challenge or fill a need.

You Must Articulate Your Goals

Your goals should articulate exactly what you hope to accomplish through social media.

  • Do you want to raise awareness for your brand?
  • Do you want to generate leads?
  • Do you want to grow specific social media communities (Facebook followers, “X” followers, LinkedIn connections, Instagram followers, etc.)
  • Are you looking to promote special events and offers?
  • Are you hoping to increase demand for your product or service?
  • Do you want to achieve all of the above . . . or something else?

Whatever goal (or goals) you choose, you will want to have baseline numbers in place to quantify your current activity levels so you can track trends moving forward.

Goals Give You Direction

Once your goals are set, you will be better able to take strategic action, rather than simply posting this or that as the mood strikes. Goals help you create a blueprint for success. Goals help your decision-making. With goals, you are better able to define who you’re targeting, why you want to engage them, and what specific social media channels are best to reach your audience.

For example, Barrel O’ Monkeyz was engaged a few years back to help a client build social media presence to drive traffic and increase sales within the digital space. With known goals, we were able to gauge the importance of various activities and strategies to the overall mission.

We developed content, graphics, monthly contests, giveaways, and outreach programs to support these goals—and the result qas the development of a robust, healthy social media community and increased web traffic. The client’s Facebook following grew by 80%; “X” (then Twitter) was up over 1000%; Instagram was up 3000%; and Pinterest grew by 8700%.

What might these kinds of results do for you and your business?

Everybody’s Talking

Through social media, customers and potential customers become part of the conversation about your brand story, part of a community that is attracted and loyal to your product or service. As brand devotees, they talk about your brand, tell others, and share your content, becoming brand ambassadors who help to spread the word more quickly and effectively than you might ever have thought possible.

To get there, you have to set a goal, and that starts with a choice: is this the year you’ll get serious about social media and start leveraging your blog, your subject matter experts, your content, and your brand to engage customers and customers-to-be? If so, you can start right now. Why wait?

Let’s Get Creative

Learn more about how you can leverage your social media efforts right now with the Barrel O’Monkeyz Social Media White Paper. It’s full of ideas and resources you can use right away.

You call also engage Barrel O’Monkeyz to serve as your seasoned, outsourced marketing team. Our barrel is full of talent and creative minds ready to prove we don’t just monkey around! Contact Barrel O’Monkeyz Today