If you are using social media to promote your business, then you probably have already set some goals, such as reaching a certain number of followers in a set time period. But social media goals should go beyond the number of followers and sales.
One of the biggest challenges I see facing businesses using social media is that they want to approach social media like traditional marketing, resulting in traditional marketing style goals, like sales projections. You can achieve sales via social media but it is a secondary goal or a result of other more primary goals. If you’ve been pushing sales or doing giveaways to lure followers, you might have noticed diminishing results, especially on platforms like Facebook that frown on any type of promotion or unpaid solicitation. Sales promotions on social media or increasing your followers by 1000 might seem like logical goals but in the end, they are difficult to achieve and practically meaningless. To get sales, you need to first have people’s attention. To build followers, you need to be posting things people care about, find useful, or is relevant to them. Your social media goals should always focus on getting attention by posting something meaningful and relevant.
The real metrics you need to pay attention to are engagement and influence. And in order to build engagement and influence, you need more than sheer volume of posts or followers. Engagement is how much attention people are paying to your posts. You can “measure” engagement anecdotally by looking at how many people like or share a post. Some platforms, like Facebook, actually track engagement and compare it to the previous week so you can see the patterns in people’s attention to your posts. Influence is how much power your posts have in getting people to take action. Those actions might be getting someone to buy something but more often it is getting them to share or comment on a post and interact with it quickly.
Your social media goals should help you increase engagement and influence. Examples of attainable and realistic social media goals include building a community, building credibility for your brand and company, and creating a dialogue about a certain topic, all of which will help to increase engagement and influence. It is from success in reaching these goals that the goals of sales or follower growth are attained. Be very clear about what your brand stands for, what defines it, and then head into posting to social media with those values in mind.
A good example of this is Jenny Holiday – by looking at her Instagram account (http://instagram.com/jennyeveryday/) you get a feel for her brand and about what matters to her, namely pink and blue, sweets, vintage style, living as a working artist, being vegan, her dog, and her husband. She has built engagement and influence by sharing beautiful things people want to see (influential), being genuine (credibility), sharing about her love of animals and being vegan (community), talking about her work process (dialogue), and sharing works of other influencers (credibility).
Goal 1: Build Community
To build a community, you need to offer something of value to followers. In turn, you can allow the followers to share their own experiences or projects with you and with others in the group. You can build a community with a Facebook Group or around a certain hashtag. I run the Facebook “Social Marketing for Crafters” and the members are crafters with an interest in using social media for business. The group members can share articles, respond to articles I’ve shared, and ask advice from one another on all matters of social media marketing, craft business, and blogging.
Source: FatMumSlim on Instagram
Another type of community is one that evolves around a hashtag. You can develop your own hashtag or use a trending hashtag, such as #WaybackWednesday and more shared in a blog post by Hyperlinks Media. Fat Mum Slim developed a monthly photo prompt and her own hashtag, #fmsphotoaday, which is wildly popular on instagram. Now Fat Mum Slim works with other influencers to create the image for her monthly photos prompts. You and can create a schtick and your own hashtag to go along with it to start building your own community around a hashtag. Whether you use hashtags or groups or even your Facebook Page, building a community takes time and consistency.
Goal 2: Build Credibility
To build credibility, you need to show expertise, be helpful or solve a painful problem, and hang out with other credible influencers and tastemakers. Not so easy, right? You can build credibility by curating excellent, relevant content from influencers on your social media accounts. If you are a card maker, share blog posts and tips from other expert card makers in addition to your own. Ask relevant questions and respond quickly to replies to your questions, giving meaningful feedback and advice. Building credibility has a bit of overlap with building a community – people will flock to those who are influencers and build a community around them. Finally, engage in conversations with other influencers. As they interact with you, it gives you more credibility. These need to be meaningful interactions, not posts asking for a retweet or to be followed back – those kinds of posts will actually work against your goals.
Heather Mann of Dollar Store Crafts has amazing credibility. She started out just making crafts from the dollar store and sharing them online. Though she wasn’t an expert on dollar store crafts at the time, she solved a painful problem for people by helping them to create beautiful and affordable crafts with supplies from the dollar store. Now she has a thriving website and social media presence, including a facebook group with other dollar store fans share their creations and discuss dollar store crafting. You don’t have to already be an expert to build credibility but you have to have something of value to offer.
Goal 3: Create a Dialogue
Finally, creating a dialogue around a certain topic will help you become an influencer. If you are passionate about sharing art, create a dialogue around that. If you are passionate about sourcing rare stones for your jewelry, talk about that. Figure out what your core values are and share posts that allow others to discuss their views on the matter. Again, this goal overlaps building community and building credibility but it is different in that it is more about the discussion and your social media accounts being a resource and platform for that discussion to occur.
Crafty Chica does an excellent job creating dialogue on her Facebook Page. Mer brand is mexi-boho chic so her recent post about souvenirs from a trip to Mexico fits in with her brand. The discussion following this post ranges from travel to heritage to Christmas decorating and more. People want to comment because they love what Crafty Chica posts but also because they know she will reply and talk to them. They can have a discussion on topics she is passionate and influential about because she has done a good job of putting that message out there to people.
There are absolutely more than 3 goals you can attain via social media. The key is to be very aware of what can be achieved by social media and what really doesn’t matter (follower numbers, for example). In summary:
- Set goals that build influence and engagement
- Don’t get distracted by the number of followers – consider the quality of the follower and how much they interact with you
- Sales are at the root of your efforts but you need to set goals like building community, building credibility, and creating discussion in order to get people’s attention when you need them to buy. If you ask them to buy right out of the gate on social media, you will lose their attention.
By: Jennifer Priest from Hydrangea Hippo