Defining what social media success is as well as different ways for obtaining it will ultimately differ from company to company. However, the one thing that remains consistent, regardless of the company or project, is the need to have clear goals. Having a precise understanding of what you’d like to accomplish with your social media project before actually starting one will go a long way in helping you to stay on track.
Why it’s Important to Create Clear Social Media Goals
Participating on the social web is fun and exciting, and, as with most things that are fun and exciting, social media has the potential to be addicting. It certainly wouldn’t take much to get carried away on a fun project only to find that you’ve been sidetracked and had spent several hours working on things that don’t exactly correlate with your goals and budget. Believe me, it happens.
For this reason, it is important for companies and marketers to outline their core social marketing goals prior to the start of each project, and revisit them frequently throughout the process. In doing so, companies can ensure that their teams and campaigns remain on track and that both time and effort aren’t being wasted.
Furthermore, companies need to understand that their payroll will not be met based on the sheer number of followers or friends they have, but rather by setting and meeting goals closely tied to revenue. One’s goal should not be to gain 15k Twitter followers just because a competitor happens to have 10k. Instead, their goal should be to increase revenue by 15k.
Companies need to ask themselves, “What is it that we want to accomplish with our social marketing efforts, and do these objectives align with our revenue goals?” “How is it that we’ll know if we’re successful?”
Defining Social Media Success
As I’ve already mentioned, having an understanding of what you’d like to accomplish with your social media project beforehand is huge. However, it is only half of the battle. When defining social marketing goals it’s also important to select those objectives that directly (or even indirectly for that matter) drive revenue.
Social media success, for the most part, can be determined by one of the following goals:
A Direct Increase in Revenue
This is a no-brainer, right? More times than not, a company’s number one goal when using social marketing strategies will be to directly increase their sales. Traditionally, this is done through the sharing of new service announcements or special discounts and promotions. One example is to tweet about an upcoming 10% off promotion and include a coupon code. If the offer is relevant enough and the audience targeted enough, doing so will positively influence a company’s bottom line.
An Increase in Brand Awareness and Exposure
Increasing a company’s brand awareness through social media marketing can indirectly drive its sales and revenue streams. For example, if your company has a product that solves a particular problem, and yet your target audience is unaware of its existence, social media can help to create awareness. This increase in brand exposure can escalate the likelihood of generating more sales and revenue.
An Increase in Customer Appreciation
Using social media to increase the level of admiration that customers have for a company, brand, or product can greatly benefit its revenue stream. Traditionally, this can be accomplished by educating one’s target audience through the sharing of helpful tips, tricks, and information. One example is to create content highlighting the many different ways your multi-purpose product can be used. Generally speaking, the more a customer understands about a product, the more they’ll appreciate it, and the greater the chance that they’ll continue to purchase it.
Providing Better Customer Support
A company that uses social media as an extension of their customer service efforts has the potential to indirectly boost revenue. It’s no secret that today’s customers have a multitude of options for communicating with companies – through reps, phone, fax, email, texts, apps, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Companies need to be readily available to meet the needs of their customer in every way possible. The idea is simple; utilize social media and address customer questions and concerns in hopes they’ll remain happy, return, and purchase again.
Providing Better Online Reputation Management
Monitoring one’s online reputation has become a major element to the social media experience and for good reason too. Companies that monitor their reputation can protect their brands and avoid the loss of future sales. One example is discovering that misinformed customers, affiliates, or employees have tweeted negatively about your company. If you were monitoring these conversations using social media, you’d have a rare opportunity to address them (false or otherwise) before they became mainstream and created irreversible damage.
Setting clear social media marketing goals is important as it will ensure that companies remain focused and on track, and that their time and efforts aren’t being wasted. Once a company has a precise understanding of what it is they wish to accomplish through their social media campaigns, and knows how to go about doing so, they should have very little trouble finding success. That is, as long as “success” is in some way tied to revenue.