Is it wise to start a business endeavor without a plan? Most people wouldn’t build an office before they determined what their business would actually do. Without a strategy there is simply no structure, no clear objectives and no real way of determining its success.
The same principles apply to social media. Establishing a roadmap with clear objectives can help you determine the success or failure of your program. For example, what is your business trying to achieve through social media? Is it to:
- Interact with customers and prospects
- Increase visibility and strengthen your brand
- Reach new audiences
- Create loyalty
- Deal with customer service and support issues
- Boost revenue
Regardless of what you decide, you should plan to create measurable metrics for your social media program. These types of statistics, if tracked properly, can help to measure and monetize the results of your social media campaigns. Let’s say, for example, you have a small business and your goal is to interact with customers and prospects. In this case, you’ll want to define what would constitute success. For instance, the number of:
- Completed customer satisfaction surveys per month
- New features suggested by users (that are implemented)
- People who post something about us
- Blogs that link to us
There are a variety of criteria which you can use to measure progress. The idea is to define relevant success metrics that translate into meaningful business context for you. For example quantitative metrics may include number of sales, new leads, new qualified subscribers, while qualitative could track satisfaction levels, loyalty, visibility, amount of interaction, feedback. For qualitative goals, don’t get too complex, use simple rules as metrics.
Set your social media campaign goals based on these metrics. Monitor often and course correct as necessary. Don’t expect to get it right the first time, but by establishing benchmarks you can filter out channels and strategies that don’t return good results. Trial and error can be your best ally in discovering where to focus the most energy.