Setting Goals, Measuring Results Is Key to Social Media Success

Kathy-Vass-croppedBy Kathy Vass, PR Director

With more than 50 million businesses now using Facebook Business Pages, I believe it’s safe to claim social media as a marketing tool.

Social media gives businesses a way to communicate with peers, customers and potential consumers. It personalizes your brand and allows you to speak directly with your target audiences in a relaxed and conversational way. It also has become an effective customer service tool with 59% of Americans with social media accounts believing that social media has made it easier to get questions answered and issues resolved, according to Pew Research Center.

Social media is a medium for sharing content that educates, informs or entertains, with opportunities to build brand awareness, credibility, trust, thought leadership and subject matter expertise. Just like public relations. We encourage our clients to use social media to establish themselves as an industry expert by offering tips or sharing third-party articles from industry sources on the latest technology or product innovations.

Also like PR, we believe that social media should be integrated into a brand’s overall marketing mix, establishing goals and strategies that most effectively engage with the target audience. Without goals, it’s hard to know exactly how well your social media is performing and where you may need to make adjustments to meet those goals.

We know that social media can help businesses in a number of ways, but how can you make sure you’re getting as much return as possible on the investment of time and resources you put into it? We believe the answer is setting goals and measuring results. That sounds like a given for anyone who’s ever developed a marketing plan, but it’s surprising how many brands—small and large—don’t incorporate social media into the brand marketing big picture.

reasons-3Goal setting drives content and posting strategy, as well as how you track results. For example, if your primary social media goal is to increase brand awareness, then “Followers” and “Reach” are the metrics you want to more closely track. If boosting brand engagement is a top goal, then tracking “Comments, Likes and Shares” and “Mentions” and “Replies” is more helpful. The image at right shows the main reasons brands are using social media. It comes from a great Buffer article by Alfred Lua entitled “9 Social Media Goals You Can Set for Your Business (and How to Track Them).”

At Jackson, we developed a simple survey for our clients to help us better understand their perceptions about social media, why they’re using it and how they believe it can benefit their brands. It’s a short survey that helps businesses think about their social media presence and get the ball rolling on establishing measurable goals and strategies.

Whether you’ve been using social media as a marketing tool for a while or you’re new to the party, answering these questions on an annual basis will be helpful:

1. On a scale of 1–10, with 10 being the best possible, what’s your knowledge of social media?

2. What are your social media expectations for 2018? (e.g., increase followers, increase month-over-month impressions, etc.)

3. Do you consider social media to be part of your marketing mix? Please explain why or why not.

4. What are your marketing goals for 2018? (e.g., increase brand awareness, drive traffic to your website, increase brand engagement)

5. Rank the following metrics in order from most important to least, with 1 being most important.
1) Impressions
2) Reach
3) Engaged Users
4) Page Views
5) Channel Followers/Likes

6. Rank the following social media platforms from most important to least, with 1 being most important.
1) Twitter
2) Facebook
3) Instagram
4) LinkedIn
5) YouTube

7. Who is your targeted social media audience and why?

8. What do you consider to be your brand voice?