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How to Set “SMART” Social Media Goals

June 20, 2017 Meredith Murray

“You just reached your step goal!” On most days, I look down at my fitness watch as it buzzes with this message on the screen, congratulating me on reaching my goal. But there are other days where my goal seems literally miles away.

Setting goals for anything can be a daunting task, but setting social media goals for your business doesn’t have to be! In fact, by asking just five “SMART” questions when setting your goals, you’ll be more likely to knock them out of the park. It's not rocket science, but social media for business can lead you down a rabbit hole if you aren't intentional and disciplined. Social media is also more difficult to scope in the B2B space, so we suggest coming up with a plan that utilizes the right social platforms to... 1) increase brand awareness 2) strengthen rapport with your current audience 3) grows your audience, and 4) engages your audience. Try and come up with "SMART" goals for each of these four strategies.

The acronym, “SMART” stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. SMART goals as a tool made its debut in the November 1981 issue of Management Review.


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So, whether you want to grow your audience on Facebook, improve engagement on Twitter, or increase your followers on Instagram, you have a better chance at success by keeping the following questions in mind (we'll use the audience growth strategy for our examples below):  

1. Is this goal Specific?

Your goal should be specific in defining the type of growth you expect to see from your social media efforts. Simply setting a goal for “massive growth across all social media channels” does not outline the direction your goal is aiming for. By setting a more specific goal such as, “Increase relevant Facebook follower growth,” you are creating a foundation for your goal to build upon.


2. Is this goal Measurable?

There wouldn’t be any reason to set a goal if you had no way of knowing whether you reached it or not. It is vital to guarantee there is a way to measure your goals. In social media’s case, measuring your goal by numbers is ideal. By tracking the increase of followers, likes, or posts, you can ensure that as the numbers go up, results follow. Ex: "Increase relevant Facebook follower growth by 7%."


3. Is this goal Attainable?

Ah, the real question. When asking yourself if your goal is attainable, it’s important to do some digging into your resources. By assessing whether you have the resources required to allocate towards the kind of social media growth you want to achieve, you avoid setting unrealistic expectations and, ultimately, experiencing failure. Using social media as a tool for business takes time, people and sometimes money. This question explores whether your business is in a position to dedicate those resources to that goal.


4. Is this goal Relevant?

Though this question might seem obvious, it cannot be overlooked. Evaluating the relevance of your goal is crucial to keeping your social media goals on track, prioritized, and heading in the direction you’re trying to go. It’s easy to get distracted by other seemingly “important” goals, such as getting a specific account to follow you back or retweet you. Distinguishing between those goals that are in line with the high level plan and a sub-objective can save you from wasting time in the weeds. Ex: "Increase relevant Facebook follower growth by 7% to support our digital lead gen KPI."


5. Is this goal Timely?

To truly experience the satisfaction of reaching your goal, there must be a deadline. The word “deadline” tends to carry a negative connotation, but it can be positive in the realm of goals! By putting extensive thought into how much time you believe your goal needs in order to be met, you are preparing to succeed. Ex: "Increase relevant Facebook follower growth by 7%, in 9 months, to support our digital lead gen KPI."

There’s always a chance you won’t reach your goal, but what’s important is how you respond. Next time you sit down to plan social media goals for your business, take a few minutes and ask yourself these 5 “SMART” questions. You won’t regret it. 

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