goalsA solid social media strategy begins with goals and objectives.

Social media certainly can be used for ad-hoc campaigns with simple objectives but what’s important is to understand your social media goals and objectives and how they tie to the overall company goals.

Determine if your company is looking to increase leads, sales, acquire or retain customers, drive traffic, provide customer service or simply increase brand awareness.

Determine who has the ultimate responsibility for social media in your organization but remember that an effective strategy involves a collaborative approach from multiple areas; including Marketing, IT, PR, customer service, communications and yes, even management.

Your higher-level goals should be supported by SMART objectives so you can properly track progress in meeting your goals.

Specific: Describe objectives specific to the desired results. Go deeper than “increase brand awareness” to “increase brand awareness by 10% in the next six months by using a targeted social media campaign.”

Measurable: You want to use these metrics in the review process to see if you were effective. Having a specific objective will clearly show whether results were met.

Achievable: Often “100% customer satisfaction” isn’ realistic. Your goal of 90% costumer satisfaction may be more plausible so consider what’s feasible when setting your objectives.

Realistic: Ensure you have the resources, tools and staffing to meet your objectives or you’ll just frustrate yourself.

Timely: Get specific with your objectives and incorporate a time frame. This makes them real and tangible.

As you look to set your goals, take into consideration a couple major trends in social media that took place in 2012:

  • Facebook reaches 1 BILLION users
  • LinkedIn gained 175,000 users PER DAY
  • Pinterest sent more traffic to sites than any other social network
  • Google+ still frustrates their users with most companies trying, posting once and never coming back

Also, consider the trends in social media

  • Marketers are increasing social spending
  • Social brands will shift to social business
  • New social media sites will appear
  • Facebook will offer better tools for businesses
  • Visual marketing will become more popular
  • Content marketing will become the new social media marketing