Developing Your Social Media Strategy: Why Do You Need Goals? (Part 2)

This is the second in a series of posts about how to develop your social media strategy. Here, we will discuss why you should use social media, by helping you figure out your goals.

Stand out from the crowd.

You have the potential to reach more of your audience if you can stand out from the crowd. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WHY Do You Need Goals?

Yes, it’s all about reaching your audience, which is something organizations have been doing for centuries whether it’s through traveling sales people — who tell you great stories about the miracle cure or cleaning products they hope to sell you — snail mail, or other advertising.

The only difference is that we’re now doing this in an online environment where the whole world could potentially be watching. So, in some ways it’s scarier, but you have the potential to reach more of your audience if you can effectively break through that barrage of information people see online every day.

But first, you need to figure out what what goals you want to accomplish. These goals should help you meet your organization’s goals. Here are a few examples, which should be further tailored to your organization.

  • Do you want more customers or supporters? Specifically, why? (Remember, a lot of research suggests that fundraising on social media directly does not work well. Check out the updated The Nonprofit Social Media Decision Guide by Idealware (page eight)). You should already have some thoughts from reading post one about who your audience is.

    Most likely if you’re a nonprofit, you want more supporters. At some point you will want them to take action or donate. If you own a business you may or may not want more customers now, but if for some reason you don’t, you can always book further down the road, or let people know that you’re not accepting new clients right now. At some point, you will be accepting new clients, and you will already have a good base on which to draw from if you start building relationships early.

  • Do you want to engage in a dialogue with your customers or supporters (in his article on Mashable, Riley Gibson summarizes this nicely in point one), or do you just want a presence so that someone else doesn’t start one for you? What kind of information do you want to convey to meet your goals? What kind of questions do you want to ask your customers or supporters? In the last post of the series, we will think through in more detail how you can plan and share this content.

  • Do you want to drive more traffic to your website, and what will people do once they get there? What’s the end goal?

  • Are you concerned about your reputation and responding to what people are saying (both positive and negative)?

  • Do you want to be considered a thought leader in the field?

In her post on Social Media Today, Sasha Wasley provides some examples of social media goals and objectives. These are just a few examples; again, you will know best why your organization is on social media. Think, how do these goals support your mission?

In some cases, you will need to plan a short-term versus long-term strategy. Depending on resources, organization goals, or what you may already see as parts of your social media plan changing, you may have to map out something for now, as well as what you already see changing down the road. Either way, you should map out goals for the next few months, and goals for the next six months to a year.

Stay tuned for part three, which will discuss how to assess your online presence.

What did I miss? If you’re out there reading, let me know I’m reaching you in the comments below.

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