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The Top Social Network Goals and Marketing Methods for Effective Teams


By 2018, an estimated 2.62 billion people will be using social media worldwide. Out of these 2.62 billion, each person who uses social media does so to fulfill their own unique needs. The same can be said for brands – depending on who your brand is and what you are trying to achieve, chances are you’re going to be using social media a little (or a lot!) differently than other companies that are connected.

Maybe you’re a small startup that uses social media marketing to try and raise brand awareness. Maybe you’re a different type of organization, like a music group that uses social media to connect with listeners and post new songs. Or maybe you’re a large enterprise, that wants to join the conversation and boost brand engagement.

Regardless of who you are or why you’re on the web, one thing is certain: For you to have an effective social media strategy, it is important to know what you’re trying to achieve. That means knowing what your social media goals are, and how you’re going to reach them. In this blog post, we have brought you a step-by-step guide to planning your social media goals, choosing social media strategies, and achieving your goals, so that you can ensure your company’s social media success, now and in the future.

Planning Your Social Media Goals

  1. Understand the Language of Planning

    When it comes to planning social media goals and strategies, there’s a lot of lingo thrown around on the internet. Sometimes it’s used correctly, other times not so much. That’s why the first step to planning your social media goals is to understand the language of planning.

    Here are some of the words that you need to know (don’t worry, we won’t quiz you!):

    • A goal is a broad primary outcome. Normally there is no measurement in the goal, and it only gives you the general direction of the company. Your social media goal, for example, might be: “Foster better connections with customers.” It’s simple, broad, and something that you can move towards in general.

    • A strategy is an approach you take to achieve the goal. It is how your goal is going to be achieved. For example, you might follow the above goal with: “Foster better connections with customers by initiating more online discussions, and being attentive to customer feedback.”

    • An objective is a measurable, specific step you take to achieve a strategy. In other words, it quantifies the goal and sets a target so that the strategy can be planned around it. An objective for this scenario might be: “Foster better connections with customers by responding to 90% of your Tweets in 2 hours or less. Actively ask your customers for help making a big corporate decision once per month.”

    • A tactic is a tool you use in pursuing the objective associated with your strategy. Tactics are the “what’s” of the equation, and represent action. An example tactic might be: “Use a social media tracker to keep better track of when your company is mentioned, so that you can have a faster response rate. Start a monthly campaign asking users to vote on which old product they think your company should bring back, which color option you should make available, etc.”

    Forbes contributor, Mikal E. Belicove, likes to call these four components G’SOT (an acronym for Goals, Strategies, Objectives, and Tactics). Here’s another real-life G’SOT example from Intel:

    • Goal: Make our Core PC microprocessors a category leader in sales revenue by year X.

    • Strategy: Persuade buyers that our Core processors are the best on the market by associating with large, well-established PC manufacturers.

    • Objective: Retain 70 percent or more of the active worldwide PC microprocessor market, according to Passmark’s CPU benchmark report.

    • Tactic: Through creativity that underlies our messaging, leverage hardware partner brand awareness to include key messages about the Intel Inside program.

    As Belicove says, “…organizations that understand the G’SOT and social media’s place on it will be the ones best positioned to evolve at the same pace as the appearance of new and compelling tactics.”

  2. Use the S.M.A.R.T. Goal Framework

    You can define your social media goals, strategies, objectives, and tactics individually, or you can use the S.M.A.R.T. Goal Framework. S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym that was first popularized in the 80’s, and is used to set goals that are clear and reachable, or as follows:

    • Specific (the more specific your goal, the more you will be able to hone in on it)

    • Measurable (use numbers to quantify goals)

    • Attainable (set goals that are within reach)

    • Relevant (your goals should be relevant to your business’ success)

    • Timely (goals should be time-sensitive)

    The result of using this framework is directed, actionable, quantifiable goals. Let’s take a look at an example. Imagine your starting goal is to boost social media engagement. Here’s what to consider for each part of this acronym:

    • Specific: Is your goal well-defined? If you need help with this, try asking yourself the “who, what, when, where, and how’s” of achieving your goal.

      • EX: Where do I want to boost social media engagement? On Facebook? Twitter? LinkedIn?

      • How do I want to boost social media engagement? By posting more videos? More surveys? Relatable Memes or GIFS?

      • When (how often) do I want to produce engaging posts?

    • Measurable: What can you measure to know that you are reaching your goal? What are the key metrics that you can look to?

      • EX: By how much should I boost social media engagement? Do I want to reach 300 likes per post on Facebook? Or 3,000?

      • Do I want to boost engagement of any kind (including comments, retweets, mentions) by a certain percentage? How about 10%?

    • Attainable: Can this goal be achieved? Is it realistic? While aiming high may feel nice, a goal that is actually impossible to reach can be disastrous to morale. Look back and reference past goals that you have set to judge whether your present ones can be reached.

      • EX: Boosting engagement by 10% may be a stretch. What about boosting it by 5%?

    • Relevant: Is this goal relevant to what your company is trying to achieve? Will it actually help your business grow? Does it resonate with who you are as a brand?

      • EX: Boosting engagement is relevant to my company’s social media strategy because it will help us increase brand awareness and strengthen our roots within the community.

    • Timely: When can this goal be reached by? Don’t forget that this should also be realistic.

      • EX: Should I reach this goal by the end of the year? Or is it more of a 3-month goal?

    When you put this all together, here’s what you might get as your S.M.A.R.T. social media goal:

    “On Facebook, we will post relatable (tag-able and shareable) memes and GIFs 3 times per week that communicate our company culture. The target is to have an average post receive at least 300 likes and 10 shares, and to boost engagement by 5% in 3 months’ time.”

  3. Assess Where You’re At

    Before you establish your social media goals and marketing strategies, you need to perform an assessment of your current social media use. This will tell you what’s working and what isn’t, and will give you a starting point from which you can create effective goals and strategies.

    Start by auditing your existing social media accounts. Who runs them? Which ones are owned by your company? Which ones are fan pages? Are any of the accounts fake?

    Once you have all of your social media pages accounted for (and any imposter pages reported to Facebook, Twitter, etc.), see which pages need to be updated or deleted. If you have a social media page on every site, consider only keeping two or three, and deleting the rest.

    To know which pages you should keep, see where your customers are reaching you from. You can also use information about the demographics that your brand appeals to in order to decide what social media channels are right for you. For example, Instagram users are predominantly millennial females that live in urban areas. Twitter users are extremely global (Twitter performs highly in countries such as Brazil, Japan, Mexico, and India), and Snapchat is overwhelmingly popular with teenagers and college students.

    Not only do you have to be where your audience is, but for effective social media marketing and outreach you also need to know how they are using the platform. Make sure that every one of your social media accounts has a purpose, and write down that purpose so that you remember it. Don’t forget to keep in mind which platforms will help you best achieve your social media goals.

  4. Align Goals Through the Organization

    It’s no secret that it’s easy to lose yourself in social media. However, when planning your social media goals, it is important that you do the opposite. Remember the bigger picture, and make sure that what you are planning align with your company’s broader goals. For the best social media strategy, start by looking at your company’s most pressing goals, and seeing how your social media presence can help achieve them.

    Here’s an example of how this might work: Let’s say that you run an entertainment company that is launching a new video game. You can align your social media goals according to your company’s main upcoming goal: to raise awareness of this new product, and come up with a strategy to spread the word to consumers. From there, you can take actionable steps, such as running social media campaigns to promote the launching of your new video game (for example, you can create Snapchat filters that promote your game, or post engaging videos of the gameplay to Facebook). You can also use social media to further your company’s goal by stimulating consumer engagement and interest in future releases.

    In the event that you don’t have any easily applicable company goals that you can help reach through social media, you can adopt your marketing goals as your social media goals.

Choosing Your Social Media Strategies

Not every social media goal is going to be for everyone. Depending on where your company’s social media progress is at, you are going to need to have different goals – and different strategies – to achieve what you want.

These manageable social media strategies have been adapted from David L. Rogers’ book, The Network is Your Customer. As you read them, keep in mind which strategy will best benefit your company’s current goals and objectives.

Network Strategy

To establish your social media goals, you must first make sure that you are appealing to and reaching the right customer network. This strategy is especially important for companies that are branching out into social media for the first time, or who want to start over from scratch.

  • Reach the right people. Make sure you are reaching who you need to be reaching. Know who your audience is – are they consumers? Investors? Business customers? Business partners? Donors? Volunteers? Music fans? Voters? Who else might they be? You can use tools like Facebook Ads manager to estimate the size of your audience, and see if and where there’s room for you to expand your audience.

  • Be on the right platform. There are lots of social media platforms out there. Are you where your people are? Based on the people who you are trying to appeal to, would your brand do better on Instagram or LinkedIn? If you need help with this or aren’t sure, send your customers a survey asking them what social media sites they most use, what websites they visit for information, what blogs or podcasts they enjoy, and what influencers they pay attention to online. Don’t forget that you can always research social media demographics.

  • Use the right people. Have you liberated your network strategy from the “social media interns” in your public relations department? Are you embracing customer networks in every division of your business: market research, product development, marketing, sales, customer support, human resources, and more? Are you using networks to collaborate across divisions? Make sure that your social media is owned by more than one department.

  • Watch the competition. Keep an eye on the competition to learn what works and what doesn’t. Pick 3-4 competitors and research them. What platforms are they on? What are their interactions with customers like? What can you do better?

Access Strategy

In order to meet your goals, your company has to be accessible. This social media strategy will help you make your company accessible to consumers, and works well for companies who are just warming up to social media marketing.

  • Make sure you’re findable. Customers need to be able to easily find you and incorporate you into their digital lives. Make sure your social media is easily findable via Google, social media search bars, and on your website.

  • Be flexible. Offer services and content on the customer’s schedule, not just when you feel like it. Make sure that customers can reach you via many channels (your social media approach needs to be part of an omni-channel or channel-less approach).

  • Be fast. Whether it’s your shipping time or your response time, consumers expect fast service!

  • Keep it simple. Keep your social media strategy simple and eliminate hoops your customers should jump through. Are your customers reaching you on Facebook? Then don’t ask them to create a Twitter account just so you can direct message them on Twitter instead (yes, this actually happens).

Connect Strategy

None of your goals would be possible without connection. These connection strategies will help you reach your customers and forge a real connection with them.

  • Listen to what your customers are saying. Use tools to track your buzz online, and know what is being said about your brand, competitors, and your business category. Follow and learn from the conversations that your current and potential customers are having.

  • Be where your customers are. Can customers find you to ask a question or report a problem? Can they “Like” you to express support for your brand?

  • Join the Conversation. Respond to issues, answer questions, and make friends by joining the give-and-take of online conversations.

  • Be productive and helpful. Respond quickly to concerns being voiced. Do your customers know they can turn to you for help? Are you creating positive buzz by showing you are helpful?

  • Provide a forum. Create new places for your customers to express their views and connect with each other around shared interests.

  • Let conversations add a layer of value. Make the conversations among your customers an added source of value for your business.

Collaborate Strategy

Social media was created to bridge gaps. It has brought people together from all distances, to exchange ideas and to collaborate (think, for example, about how GoFundMe has shown the power of collaboration on social media). Establishing a strategy for collaboration is necessary for even the most social media savvy businesses.

  • Invite customers to work together. Give them tools and tasks that they can accomplish by working together and with your company. For example, the company Threadless did this by asking their customer to submit T-Shirts designs to them as part of a contest. This saved Threadless design costs, while also giving customers an active interest in the product (and a reason to promote and buy the shirts they designed themselves!).

  • Ask for help on questions you can’t answer yourself. Pose big business questions to your customers! Solicit ideas from customers to tap into the wisdom of the crowd and show that you care about what they think. Be open to ideas coming from outside the organization and willing to reward them. For example, Ben and Jerry’s did this by asking their customers to vote to bring back their favorite discontinued ice cream flavor.

  • Integrate their voice in yours. Bring customers’ stories into your own content and marketing. Customer stories highlight your company’s purpose – they’re free, always available, and are such a core part of our human DNA that they automatically make us feel good, especially when they’re true.

Achieving Your Social Media Goals

Once you have an idea of which strategies are right for your team, it’s time to apply them towards achieving your social media goals.

Here are some common social media goals, and how you can use strategies and metrics to accomplish them.

  1. Connect with Customers

    Let’s face it – you came to social media first and foremost to be where your customers are. But how specifically do you connect with your customers?

    Sometimes your customers will connect with your brand without you having to even do anything. Your dedicated fans might seek out your page, Tweet at you, or even create fan pages for your organization. Such as was the case for Coca Cola, when a fan-made page reached the number two spot on Facebook in 2008. Customers and fans of Coke from all over the world gathered on the page to connect via their love for the product.

    Rather than bank on your customers finding you, you can be the one to reach out and connect with them. One way that you can do this is by posting content that users that are already in your network can connect with and relate to. Every “Like” that you get on Facebook moves you closer algorithmically to appearing in a new customer’s feed. You can also reach out to customers who are contacting you for assistance, and connect with them directly online.

    Applicable Strategies: Network Strategy, Access Strategy, Connect Strategy.

    Useful Social Media Metrics:

    • Number of mentions/shares/retweets/customer posts on your page

    • Number of customer “Likes”

    • Frequency of your replies to customers

    S.M.A.R.T. Goal Example: Connect with customers on Twitter and Facebook by featuring a new customer of the week every Monday. Post a picture of the customer with a small blurb about them. The goal is to increase our mentions/shares/retweets/posts/likes by 5% in 3 months.

  2. Increase Brand Awareness

    Increasing brand awareness is an extremely common social media goal, and is all about expanding your circle of customers and potential buyers. Increasing brand awareness can also help your company recruit more qualified employees, connect with promising investors, donors, and more, by widening the range of people that know of and are drawn to your organization.

    A great way to increase brand awareness is by posting relevant, relatable, and useful content, that your followers can comment on and share. Another way is to pay for ads on social media. Over the years, paying for ads has become an increasingly necessary part of raising brand awareness on social media. This is due to the dramatic demise of organic reach. In other words, companies like Facebook, Instagram, and even Twitter have been curtailing the percentage of a Page’s followers that actually see a brand’s updates. In February of 2014, it was reported that for large brands, organic reach hit as little as 2% of their own followers. And that number has dwindled since.

    According to a report from Gartner, “Sustained success in social marketing now requires paid advertising.” The same report found that 80% of surveyed executives planned on enacting paid social media advertisements within the next twelve months. Luckily, paid ads on social media look like normal feed content, and only have a small disclaimer showing that they are sponsored. Social media ads also have the benefit of reaching customers whose search histories make them ideal leads for your product. If you want to increase brand awareness, be sure to add paid advertising to your social media strategy.

    Applicable Strategies: Network Strategy, Access Strategy, Connect Strategy.

    Useful Social Media Metrics:

    • Range of social media posts (how many people they are reaching per day/month/year)

    • Number of mentions/shares/retweets/customer posts on your page

    • Amount of customer “Likes”

    • Amount of link clicks per post

    • Website analytics for social media referrals

    S.M.A.R.T. Goal Example: Increase brand awareness of your Facebook by introducing paid advertising. Have new content reach 10,000 people per post by the end of the month.

  3. Drive Traffic to Your Website

    New website visitors often equal new customers. Driving traffic to your website is important for countless industries, such as e-commerce (once visitors click through to your website, they’ll find themselves browsing your product), health care (visitors can familiarize themselves with your full selection of care offerings and locations), the SaaS industry (by attracting users from your social media page and to your company blog, they can learn why they need your software), and many more.

    Make sure that your website is easy to navigate and visitor-ready, and use this important social media goal to get your web traffic up. You can do this by posting links to relevant product pages, blog posts, and other website content that is likely to attract your visitors.

    You can see using visitor tracking how your visitors reached you, and see how many have come from social media.

    Applicable Strategies: Network Strategy, Access Strategy, Connect Strategy.

    Useful Social Media Metrics:

    S.M.A.R.T. Goal Example: Increase website traffic to 2,000 visitors per day by posting and promoting relevant blog posts three times per week to Facebook and Twitter accounts.

  4. Generate Sales and Leads

    If your company is on social media, chances are you’re aiming to get some sales and leads out of it. You can generate sales and leads through paid advertising and by producing interesting content, and posts (after all, what good does it do to pay for advertising if you are advertising dull content or undesirable products?). It’s important to remember to know who you are marketing to, and to make sure that your social media brand image and presence is both interesting and relevant to your audience, so that they have a reason to click through and buy!

    Another great way to generate sales and leads is to provide exceptional customer support. Social media makes problem resolution a spectator sport. If your customers and potential customers see that you are on-point with your issue resolution, then they will know that they can purchase from you again in the future – or that they can buy from you for the first time – and your company will be there for them to meet their needs.

    Applicable Strategies: Engage Strategy, Connect Strategy.

    Useful Social Media Metrics:

    • Count of leads that you have gotten through Social Media (such as email addresses)

    • Amount of clicks that you have gotten on lead generating posts or links.

    • (Google Analytics has a good tool for mapping lead generation, just go to Acquisition>Social>Conversions).

    S.M.A.R.T. Goal Example: Increase Snapchat leads by 6% by December. Our target is 30,000 views per promotional video.

  5. Boost Brand Engagement

    Brand engagement is a huge part of social media. That’s because engaged customers are invested in you, and will come back to your page (and company for more!).

    There are a lot of great ways to boost engagement, such as calling upon customer creativity, having contests (many brands call upon social media to comment on a post and/or share it for a chance to win something), and starting a friendly, open discussion that you invite your customers to participate in. All of these are great ways to take customers from the passive “Like” to actually engaging with your brand.

    Applicable Strategies: Engage Strategy, Connect Strategy.

    Useful Social Media Metrics:

    • Amount or frequency of mentions/shares/retweets/comments/customer posts to your page (how many people are interacting with your posts?)

    • Number of mentions and replies

    • Track engagement on social media sites, or with a social media management tool.

    • See what is being shared the most (so that way you can see what energizing content works best!)

    S.M.A.R.T. Goal Example: Boost brand engagement on Instagram by 20% by the end of the month. We will do this by asking customers to comment on the post and tag a friend for a chance to win a $100 gift certificate to our store.

  6. Increase In-Person Sales

    Depending on what your business is, sometimes a great social media goal is to increase sales in person, or visits to your store. This is especially true for location-specific services such as restaurants, pet salons, human salons, and more.

    One great way social media strategy for increasing in-person purchases through social media is by giving people an incentive to check-in to your location, tag your place of business, or post user pictures from your place of business. After all, McKinsey research shows that social media recommendations are behind more than a quarter of all purchases made. Your business should bank on that, too!

    Applicable Strategies: Access Strategy, Collaborate Strategy.

    Useful Social Media Metrics:

    • Amount of people who have checked in to your location, tagged you in a post, etc.

    • How many advertising discounts were given

    • Amount of reviews posted on social media

    S.M.A.R.T. Goal Example: Increase in-person sales at our restaurant by providing a free California roll appetizer to customers who check in on Facebook, or tag us in a picture on Instagram. Increase in-store sales by 10% by the end of this quarter.

  7. Build a Community

    Building a community on social media is among the best ways to increase customer loyalty and retention. Having a community means having a place where customers can come together and share in their brand loyalty. It is very important for long term growth, and is how you cultivate life-long customers.

    To build a community, your customers need to feel connected to your brand, and to others who also enjoy your brand. One great way to build a community is to have customers contribute to your brand in some way. This could be with original artwork (such as the artwork that brought together anime fans in the Wendy’s community), a content, or a community vote – something that makes your customers feel like they are a part of something bigger.

    Applicable Strategies: Connect Strategy, Collaborate Strategy.

    Useful Social Media Metrics:

    • Number of photos tagged of your brand

    • Amount of brand hashtags being used

    • How many stories and posts tag your company

    • Number of engagements per post (posts/likes/comments – how engaged is your community?)

    • Number of engagements per follower

    S.M.A.R.T. Goal Example: Stimulate community growth and involvement by starting a new brand hashtag on Twitter. Get the new hashtag to have made as one of our country’s top trending hashtags by the end of the week.

  8. Effective Social Customer Service

    Social media isn’t only for marketing – it’s a great place for companies to answer their customers’ questions, receive customer feedback and provide support to customers. By making effective social customer service your social media goal, you are reinforcing your commitment to your customers, and ensuring that you keep a good reputation on this public support front.

    To reach this goal, be sure to have fast, reliable social media support. Don’t keep your customers waiting, or ask them to switch service channels so that you can attend them. If you do need to switch to phone customer care, reach out to those customers, don’t ask them to reach out to you.

    Applicable Strategies: Connect Strategy.

    Useful Social Media Metrics:

    • Number of support questions

    • Customer satisfaction (how many customers left unresolved? How many left satisfied? How about unsatisfied?)

    • First contact resolution rate (did customers have to switch channels to receive proper support, or did they get their problem solved over social media the first time?)

    S.M.A.R.T. Goal Example: Improve customer service quality over Twitter and Facebook by responding to customer comments and customers who have hashtagged our company in 2 hours or less. Have a 100% response rate in 6 months, and an 80% first contact resolution rate.

  9. Listen to Your Customers

    Listening to your customers is important to making them feel like part of the community. It is also important to document customer feedback to improve processes within your company that aren’t working as well as they should.

    Listen to customers by having them vote on important processes (for example, Ben and Jerry’s had customers vote on which retired flavor to bring back from the grave). Take note of customer feedback, and implement a strategy for turning that feedback into actionable change.

    Applicable Strategies: Connect Strategy, Collaborate Strategy.

    Useful Social Media Metrics:

    • How many conversations you have had with customers on social media

    • How many suggestions you are getting from your customers on social media

    • Out of those suggestions, note how many you have put into a plan for improvement

    • (Use social listening tools to map this out)

    S.M.A.R.T. Goal Example: Take note of customer suggestions and turn at least one quality suggestion per month into action from now until the end of the year.

  10. Join the Conversation

    You have to be a part of the conversation, or customers will have it without you! Chiming in on customer conversations will help your customers know that you are listening, and that you are willing and ready to engage with them.

    Join in the conversation by responding to customers who are tweeting at you, posting on your wall, commenting on your content, etc.

    Applicable Strategies: Connect Strategy, Collaborate Strategy.

    Useful Social Media Metrics:

    • Frequency of your replies and network engagement

    • Out of the posts, comments, etc. that you are mentioned in, how many do you chime in for?

    S.M.A.R.T. Goal Example: Become more involved in the conversation by responding to at least 80% of customer posts and comments on Facebook by the end of the year.


When setting your social media goals, it’s important not to overwhelm yourself. Set 1-2 goals that you can start out with, and run one social media strategy at a time. This will give you a greater chance of boosting the social media metrics that you have identified as important. Remember that if you try to improve everything at once, you may (A.) not be able to make the quality improvements that you desire, or (B.) not be able to pin the improvements that you have made down to one factor.

What are your company’s top social media goals and strategies?

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